Dashing Downhill - Wonderful West Virginia Magazine

Cold wind in your face never felt so good.
Winterplace Ski
Resort (left) and
the Silver Creek
area at Snowshoe
Mountain are
snow tubing musts
in West Virginia.
ubing is a great way to have fun in the
snow at a ski resort without spending a
lot of money,” says Brenda Maupin of
Snowshoe. “What we like best is that all
ages can enjoy the same activity without
having to have lessons or special equipment. We have a grandson turning 4 in
February, so this Presidents’ Day we will
take him tubing for the first time. The tubes
go really fast, and everyone loves the speed,
but mothers and grandmothers like me are
delighted that it’s also a very safe sport.”
Back in the day, kids who didn’t have
sleds would get their hands on an inner
tube from a truck or tractor and head for
the steepest hill in the neighborhood. The
rubber surface of the tube creates little friction on the snow, so riders could really fly.
was exciting—but also problematic. Unlike
a sled, tubes had no steering mechanism. Dragging a foot would likely send you spinning like a
top. The only way to stop was to fall off or run into something. And then there was the climb back
up the snowy hill, dragging your heavy tube.
Having originated in the Alps in the 1820s, tubing didn’t change much until the modern
era, when ski areas began to revolutionize the sport. Carving the snow into set lanes with safe
run-out areas at the bottom has eliminated the danger of crashing into trees. It’s easier to get back
to the top of the hill via mechanized tows or “magic carpet” conveyors. Tubes have changed a bit,
Winterplace Ski
Resort has 14 to 16
lanes and countless
adventures. Make
new friends at
Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Davis
Canaan Valley Resort’s eight-lane Tube Park has the
longest runs in the Mid-Atlantic—a whopping 1,200
feet—with a magic carpet back to the top. In a two-hour
tubing session riders can get in about 24 runs, according to
Marketing Director Cary Sponaugle.
Sponaugle points out that the facility was relocated to
the ski area last season in order to provide more parking
and longer tubing runs. During the 2013–14 season (95
42 inches tall,
4 years old
Season: December
25 through March,
weather permitting
Hours: Sunday to
Thursday 9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.; Friday,
Saturday, and holidays
9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Prime evening
sessions: Friday,
Saturday, and holidays
4:30 to 9 p.m.
Rates for two-hour
sessions: Monday to
Friday, $18; weekends
and holidays, $25
days), it drew 12,700 participants. The new location features
a warming hut with a fireplace and viewing area, along
with ticketing, snacks, and restrooms. Outside is a large
fire pit with seating.
“Tubing is a very popular attraction here at the resort,”
says David Herscher, the resort’s general manager.
“Without fail, whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder
or just a casual winter adventurer, our tube park brings
out the kid in everyone. Even those who choose to simply
observe can enjoy the beautiful timber frame warming
facility and inviting outdoor fire pit. It’s truly a great family
activity.” 800.622.4121, canaanresort.com
Snowshoe Mountain, Snowshoe
Located at the Ruckus Ridge Adventure Park in
the Silver Creek area of the resort, the Coca-Cola
too. The “doughnut hole” is enclosed so you don’t drag your
clothing on the snow, and there are handles to hold onto.
All you have to do these days is dress warmly, wear sturdy
shoes, and let gravity do the work.
Snow tubing has increased in popularity in the past
decade, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
“Resorts see it as a good, entry-level snow sports
experience, with no equipment or training needed,” says
NSAA spokesperson Laura Lewis. “Eighty-three percent
of the ski areas in the Southeast offer tubing—the
highest percentage of any of the regions.”
Three West Virginia ski resorts have embraced tubing
in a big way. Here’s what they have to offer:
Ruckus Ridge
Adventure Park in
the Silver Creek
area of Snowshoe
Mountain (bottom).
Snowtubing Park has five lanes dropping more than
six stories to the bottom, where a handle tow lift scoots
riders back to the top. Tubers average 12 to 18 runs during
a two-hour session.
“Tubing is very popular for
families and groups who want
easy, outdoor playtime in the
snow,” says Resort General
Manager Frank DeBerry. “As
opposed to the ski experience,
Requirement: 36
where very often families or
inches tall or 4
groups split up for the terrain
years old, no ski
that appeals to them, the tube
boots permitted
park is a ‘play together’ experiSeason: Midence. The Coca-Cola Tube Park
is just steps away from slopes at
through midSilver Creek, but feels like it’s on
March, weather
its own friendly little mountain.
No skills or experience required,
Hours: Sunday
just bundle up, grab a tube,
to Thursday 1 to
and go. It’s especially fun when
7 p.m.; Friday to
Saturday 1 to 9 p.m.
the lights come on for sunset
tube rides or with festive music
Rates for twoand tubing after dark, with hot
hour sessions:
Monday to
chocolate waiting just steps away
Thursday, all ages
inside the Silver Creek lodge.”
$15, family four304.572.1000, snowshoemtn.com
pack $50; Friday
to Sunday and
holidays, adult (over
13) $20, child $17,
family four-pack $65
Winterplace Ski Resort, Ghent
Whoop-de-doo! Home to the largest tubing park in
the Mountain State, Winterplace Ski Resort in Raleigh
County offers tubers 14 to 16 lanes and two “Super
Carpet” lifts to get back to the top.
Buy a ticket for a two-hour session
and you’ll get in about 10 to 15 runs,
depending on the crowd. On a busy
weekend, you can expect to see 500 to
1,000 people enjoying the tubing park Height
at any given time, according to Resort
44 inches (the
Marketing Director Lauren Snyder.
Kiddie Park is
The park is located behind the
available for
MountainHouse, convenient for
smaller children
tubers who are looking to take a
for $5)
much-deserved break and warm up
Season: Late
with a cup of delicious hot chocolate.
The mid-mountain facility includes a
through March
food court, ski shop, and large deck
Hours: Monday
with a stellar mountain view. It’s also
to Friday 1 to 10
a great place to curl up by the natural
p.m.; weekends
stone fireplace for a quick rest after
and holidays 10
many hours of outdoor adventure.
a.m. to 10 p.m.
Call about sleepover packages for
Rates for a
groups of 15 or more. 800.607.7669,
session: $28.50
to $40; $14 as a
ski pass add-on
Rental insulated
ski bibs: $9
Canaan Valley
Resort State
Park has eight
lanes, offering
hours of fun.