By Zach Laks for ShermansTravel
Let the adrenaline kick in as you zoom at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, just inches from the ground, and down the mountainside. Tubing has become a winter phenomenon in its own right, with resorts dedicating ample mountainside real estate to the pastime. From 1,000-foot-long runs to a custom-built snow tube jump, air time is practically guaranteed at these five thrilling snow tubing spots.
Mt. Hood Skibowl: Snow Tube & Adventure Park (Mount Hood, OR)
About two and a half hours east of Portland, Mount Hood offers an extensive snow tubing experience. Hop on the conveyor lift to ascend the mountainside before your glide down the track. What sets Mount Hood apart is its unique cosmic tubing, a nighttime weekly event that allows tubers to coast as late as 11 p.m., to the glow of festive laser lights and pumping music. For those seeking an even more spine-tingling thrill, Mount Hood's Extreme Tube Hill offers steep runs that test the limits of speed. Day pass: $25; cosmic tubing: $29.
Mountain Creek Drop Zone (Vernon, NJ)
Mountain Creek's Drop Zone is New Jersey's premiere tubing center, with an impressive 30 lanes dedicated to tubing. The classic red tubes zoom down the mountainside at impressive speeds, coasting over hills and garnering thrilling pockets of air time. The more daring seek out the tube ramp that sends riders down a jump hill into an airbag. The friendly staff are there to help send you on your way from the top of the hill, accepting requests for speed and spin. $20 for 2 hours.
Camelback Snowtubing (Tannersville, PA)
Camelback Mountain Snowtubing, located in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, is the country's biggest snow tubing park. A remarkable 42 sliding lanes with both single- and dual-passenger tubes allow you either to zoom down solo or coast with a friend. Two lifts bring you to the top of the runs where spontaneous races break out, providing some welcome wintertime competition. When the need for speed subsides, head over to the lodge's lounge, complete with a fireplace and an onsite café, for a mug of hot chocolate. $30 for 3 hours on the weekends.
The Beach Mountain (Mason, OH)
Just outside of Cincinnati, the supercharged tubing hill at Beach Mountain is a thrillseeker's haven. Ranging up to 400 feet, Beach Mountain has a variety of runs that span from beginner level to the more advanced. You'll hear screams of thrill and laughter pervade the air as the inner tubes soar down the steep inclines and bounce off the side walls of the run. There's no need for competition at Beach Mountain, so kick back with your feet up and let gravity take over. $24 for a day pass on weekends.
Hawksnest Snow Tubing (Seven Devils, NC)
One of America's premiere tubing-only resorts, Hawksnest treats snow tubing as the deserving sport it is with four expansive tubing areas. Twenty lanes ranging from 400 to 1,000 feet long with two conveyors bring riders to the top of the winter thrills. No matter the snowfall for the season, the thrills are guaranteed at Hawksnest, as their 100 percent snowmaking machines keep the tubing lanes open throughout the winter. After working up an appetite from the slopes, stop into the lodge where Carolina BBQ and fresh pizzas are served. $31 for two hours on a weekend.
photo: Beach Mountain