We were piling back into our car after an afternoon of tubing at Keystone. Yes, you read that right: tubing. Not skiing, tubing. And that was me talking. My husband and our two sons were in complete agreement. Tubing was a blast.
Now, you’d think it would be pretty obvious that we’d enjoy tubing. We love skiing, we love snow, we love winter. We like going downhill, fast. What’s not to like about tubing at a ski resort?
But It’s Not Skiing
For years, I’ve looked at resort tubing hills with a jaundiced eye. In my opinion, when one is at a ski resort, one is there to ski. Period. We’re the type of family that goes on a weeklong ski vacation and skis wire-to-wire, every day. We might take a little longer at lunch some days or maybe quit at 3:00, but the idea of taking time out from skiing for another activity never really registered. Until we went to Keystone.
Last week, I posted about our fabulous Keystone weekend (Surprising Keystone: Bigger, Better, and Fun for Everyone).
Keystone is an incredible destination for families. If you haven’t already heard, kids 12 and under can ski free at Keystone and the resort caters to this age group with an amazing array of programs from ski and ride school to special après ski activities and more. They call all of these programs and activities, Kidtopia, and let me tell you it’s true. For kids and their parents, it is close to Utopia.
Back to Tubing
When I first brought up tubing, the reaction was predictable.
“We have to stop skiing?” one boy asked.
“Can’t we do it after we ski?” The other one responded.
Technically, we could have gone tubing well into the evening and Keystone even runs a special night tubing session complete with disco lights and music. But we were at 10,000 feet in frigid weather. When I called to reserve our time on the hill, the reservationist told me the night sessions were off, it was just too cold.
We reserved a time for the next day, just after lunch. At Keystone, as at many hills, tubing sessions are timed, usually in either one or two-hour increments, Keystone uses one hour increments and we were scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
So what did we do that morning? Did we wake up early and go get our turns in? Nope. We decided to sleep in, eat a late breakfast and then, without having to jam everything in, go tubing. Because it was so out-of-character for us, it ended up being a really memorable and relaxing day.
Funny to say, but it felt like a holiday.
When You Go…
Keystone’s tubing hill is found at Adventure Point, at the top of the River Run Gondola. You can’t tube in ski boots, so if you’re planning to ski and tube in one day, you need to stash your snowboots in the tubing yurts or at the Summit House Lodge. If you are taking a vacation day, like we did, you will check in for tubing about 30-40 minutes early near the River Run Gondola. Once you’re checked in, look for the gondola line just for tubing guests.
When you get to Adventure Point, you’ll check in and watch a short orientation video which explains how you ride, single, double, triple or as a quad. Don’t worry if you can’t remember. The tubing lane attendants are super helpful. Ask them to spin you!
There are four lanes and we couldn’t decide which was our favorite. When we were there, lanes one and two were catching some air, but three and four were longer and faster. They’re all good!
When you finish your run, a short little walk through some trees takes you to the base of a covered magic carpet that, in turn, takes you back up to the top.
In one hour, I think we made about 10 runs. We were having so much fun, I lost count. While we all started off single, soon, we were pairing up, quad-ing up and thoroughly enjoying some fun family time.
For Kids, Big and Little
Tubing is fun for all ages, but you must be taller than 42” to ride. Having experienced it firsthand, I think it’s a great way to spend a “day off” during a ski week or just to mix it up for an afternoon. Our family (obviously) can be a little too serious about skiing. Tubing got us to lighten up and slow down (ironically, while sliding really fast downhill!).
Keystone’s website promises that you’ll laugh “until it hurts” when you’re tubing. Nothing about tubing really hurt (although I do recommend that you keep your backside up), but we laughed plenty.
Tubing is one of those activities that just takes you back (if you’re a parent), to when you were a kid. It evens out the family playing field and is not dependent on skill or age. You can’t control tubing, you just have to let go, and laugh and scream and laugh some more!
It is, truly, a blast!
Surprising Keystone: Bigger, Better and Fun for Everyone, February 4, 2013.
Many thanks to Keystone Resort for convincing us to try tubing and facilitating our visit to Adventure Point. We’ll be back! As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell me family and friends.
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