Snow tubing is a great activity for winter family vacation fun, especially if you’re taking toddlers and teens. If you’ve never gone, there’s info you need to know. For example, tubing is generally sold as a timed session. If you show up without a reservation, you might find that the morning is entirely sold out. Read on for more essential tips for snow tubing with kids.
I learned to ski when I was old. Forty, to be exact. So my kids ski and snowboard with significantly more skill than I will ever have. This means we don’t spend too much time together on winter family vacations. Unless…we go snow tubing! It’s a super way to have winter fun outdoors and it’s the perfect activity for all abilities and ages, especially if you’re taking toddlers AND teens.
However, there are definitely things you need to know before you go. Most important of all is to check the tube park information carefully. For example, if you’re going with little ones (under 42″), you’ll want a park with designated lanes for them or one that permits lap riders.
Essential Tips for Snow Tubing with Kids
- Dress for Skiing
- Choose Day Tubing
- Keep Expectations Reasonable
- Find a Tube Park with a Magic Carpet
- Designate a Meeting Area
- Bring a Change of Clothes
- Make Advance Reservations
Dress for Skiing
The secret to all outdoor winter sports, whether you’re skiing, tubing or ice skating, is wearing the right clothing. Remember…there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. For snow tubing, that means wearing long underwear, warm socks and waterproof outerwear and boots. Don’t forget a hat, gloves and sunglasses or goggles.
Although this may sound like you’ll have trouble moving, like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story,” you should be fine if you wear several thin layers rather than one bulky, comforter-like coat.
Choose Day Tubing
For families with young children, it’s advisable to go during the day rather than trying to tube at night. Let’s face it. All kids in snowsuits look alike. It’s much easier to keep track of yours in the light of day. The crowds also get older and rowdier after dark.
Keep Your Expectations Reasonable
Tubing sessions are usually sold in 2-hour blocks. You’ll be tempted to get your money’s worth. But your little ones might get pooped after only 2 or 3 runs. Tears are no fun. Especially in the cold. You’re also more likely to have an accident if you get tired. My suggestion? Book a late morning tubing session. Take a few runs with the little ones and, if you have older kids, turn them loose. If your little guy/gal loves it, go up and down again and again. But if he or she starts whining, head inside for a hot chocolate and mini marshmallows.
Mini marshmallows are the best.
Find a Tube Park with a Magic Carpet
One way to make a day tubing more fun for everyone is to choose the right tube park for your family. And the right one, according to Indulgent TravelingMom Andrea Traynor has an essential piece of equipment. “My only tip is that if your kids are too little to carry their own tubes up the hill over and over (and over and over), then look for places that have a magic carpet to take you, your kid and your tube(s) back up the hill” Andrea is Canadian; she knows snow.
Designate a Meeting Area
If you’re taking toddlers and teens snow tubing, the older kids will try to run away from you the minute you park the car. Before anyone sets off, pick a prominent meeting place and set a time. Don’t rely on calling the kids when you want to leave. I find that cell service is spotty at ski resorts. But clocks (remember those?) are usually mounted in a number of locations. Give your older kids a 15-minute grace window before panicking if they’re late. Sometimes they’ll feel the need to squeeze in just one more run before quitting for the day.
Bring a Change of Clothes
There’s nothing better than flushed cheeks and the feeling of happy exhaustion after a day on the mountain. What’s not so fun is riding home in sweat-soaked clothes. A dry tuber is a happy tuber, and I’m not talking about potatoes! Bring a fresh change of clothes for the kiddos – especially clean socks. Riding home in a mini van that smells like Eau de Gym Locker is not pleasant. I speak from experience.
Make Advance Reservations
It’s essential to make advance reservations for your tubing adventure or your winter family vacation fun might end before it even begins. Snow tubing is really popular and sessions sell out, especially on weekends and school holidays. And, even with a reservation, you’ll want to check in for your tubing session early, says Traveling Grandmom Diana Rowe. During a visit to Colorado’s Keystone Resort, she and her multigenerational tubing group arrived for their session on the dot, but did not realize there was an orientation required. They lost 15 minutes of precious tubing time.
Helmets: Yes or No?
Protecting your kids from head trauma is a serious subject for parents. And the question will come up when you go snow tubing. At most parks, the helmet decision will be yours to make, although they are mandatory at some parks for riders. They are generally available to rent if you don’t own them. Information about snowsport safety for kids is available at Lids on Kids. I did not make my kids wear helmets when they were little, but the dangers of head trauma were not well publicized then. So I’m curious to know what you do – leave your comments below!
Do You Make Your Kids Wear a Helmet When You Go Snow Tubing?