Nutin Like Tubin at Massanutten

by William Lindner

The lift slowly pulled me to the top of the snow covered hill. I moved to the edge of the slope, and pushed off straight down. I accelerated quickly and found I couldn't stop or even slow down if I had wanted to. Suddenly I spun around and found myself sliding backwards, but couldn't do anything about it. I turned my head around and could see the bottom of the run rushing towards me but I was still gaining speed. Suddenly the slope flattened out and I crashed into a wall of cushions strung across the bottom of the hill, preventing me from landing in the parking lot. I lay in the snow and my wife hit the cushions next to me, followed by my sons.

Everyone was laughing and before I could get up my sons grabbed their tubes and sprinted to the lift, ready to take their next run. That's right, they had tubes. Many ski resorts are now offering tubing as a cheap alternative to skiing and snow boarding. We tried it at Massanutten Resort in Virginia. The tubing park had it's own snack bar and shop, located about 100 yards from the main ski lodge. It had eight tracks running down the 900-foot hill. Massanutten even provides snowmaking. The tracks, which looked like narrow half-pipes, had two dips built in and if you hit them just right you could catch some air. At the bottom, the cushions provided a soft, safe stop.

The tubes were big enough for an adult and a small child riding on his or her lap. Some of them had covered bottoms and some were open doughnuts. (One of the attendants told me the tubes with open bottoms were faster.) A strap with a large rubber ring on the end was attached to each tube. At the lift you sit on your tube and hand the ring to the attendant. The lift is a cable that runs about a foot off the ground. Plastic rods are attached to the cable every 5-10 feet . The attendant loops your rubber ring over one of rods passing by and you are dragged up the hill.

At the top the cable rises and the rubber ring falls off the plastic rod freeing your tube. The cost was $10 for two hours for all ages. Other resorts offer similar rates for tubing but Massanutten had the lowest prices that I found. It's not the same as skiing or snow boarding, but you still get to go fast in the snow. It doesn't take lessons or loads of equipment either. I'd definitely recommend it for people on a budget or for skiers or snow boarders with tired legs. One time as I was being pulled up the hill I saw my son Matthew flying down past me. He was smiling and waved as he sped by. I realized this was the first time we were having fun together on a mountain in the snow. It was a good beginning for us.

(Seven Days a Week)
(Seven Days a Week) Two Hours 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m - 3:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Two Hours $12/person, any age

The Snow Tubing Park is very popular, so Massanutten sells Tubing Park tickets one day in advance in person after 2:00 P.M.. Therefore, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays could be sold out by 8:00 P.M. the night before, so call for information on available tickets for the following day. Group reservations for groups of 25 or more are available by phone Monday through Thursday for all sessions and on Fridays for sessions from 9:00 am - 5:00 P.M., and Sunday 5:00 P.M.- 9:00 P.M. NON HOLIDAY ONLY. All other sessions are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, in person.

Snow Tubing Park Restrictions
No Discounts. Group Reservations! Mon-Thurs 9 am-9 P.M. & Fri 9 am-5 P.M. only, Sun 5P.M.-9P.M., NON-HOLIDAY ONLY! No Age Limit, but under 44" should ride with an adult. Maximum Tickets Sold to Individual - 8.