The Mountain Times

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Tubing, great fun for all ages

KILLINGTON-It was a new experience for this grandmother as well as for her grandson.

And I have to admit it was a lot more fun that we expected!

My son and grandson arrived from New Hampshire on a cold and windy Feb. 20 and met me in Killington to go tubing.

Although there was a lot of sliding in our years of raising three boys, this was different and much more thrilling. The groomed lanes with snow walls meant I didn't end up in a ditch like I usually do when sliding on our driveway with my grandson.

At first I felt a little trepidation at seeing my four-year-old grandson in his own tube. With a steepish drop-off, you get going fairly fast, and then there are three good size bumps to sail over.

But Grandson Julius was totally unafraid, and when his dad said to hold on to the handles, he knew what to do. So with his dad, Jonathan, in the lane next to him, I sent him off at the same time and lo and behold, he loved it!

Then it was my turn. The take-off was a thrill but the ride turned out to be a piece of cake although faster than I expected. The bumps were fun and on some of them I caught air, which was extra thrilling.

Sometimes the tube spins around quite a bit. I think that happened when I touch the snow walls, but other times it felt uncontrollable. Jonathan mentioned being dizzy one time from spinning for half the course. I managed a backward sail over a jump or two from the spinning motion - a hoot really!

I lost count on the number of runs, but with Julius enjoying it so much, we just had to keep taking another "four runs." (You know kids, you ask one more time, and they say "four more.")

A few times we walked up the hill instead of riding on the tubes - it's a short walk and only uphill at the top so doable when there is a line for the tow and it's good exercise to boot.

When you choose to ride up, an attendant clips the tube's tow-rope handle on to a handle tow and you sit on the tube for a "pull" up the hill.

At the top there are eight to 11 lanes so groups can line up and go at the same time. The rule is that you must wait for the person who went in your lane to be up and off the lane before you go.

If you try different lanes, I think you get a different ride - I know one time I passed my son who has 40 pounds on me and should technically have been faster.

They groom the lanes nightly and the walls make for smooth and safe sailing. At the end, rubber mats slow you down so you come to a safe stop.

I enjoyed going down at the same time as my grandson.

6---Tubing --Julius -Lorentz -rides -the -tubing -handle -tow -at -the -Killington -Tubing -Park -with -Dad -Jonathan -below -him .-KL-photo -IMG_3505

When we arrived, Jonathan had seen lots of teenagers (the "British invasion" had two large groups tubing when we were there during President's Week) wearing their helmets so he and Julius wore theirs also. That is a wise move if you have a helmet, as they are far warmer than a wool hat if windy and/or cold.

The lights were coming on when we left, and I can imagine it would be lots of fun at night for an adult party. There's also the Parkside Pizza Pub inside the clubhouse where you can enjoy pasta, hand-tossed pizzas, and other hearty warm snacks and drinks to make a social evening out of a fun time. Food is served from 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 12-noon on weekends until one hour after the tubing closes on all nights.

School groups, clubs, friends, families, and even corporate groups are known to make reservations together and receive special group rates.

The Killington Tubing Park is located on East Mountain Road across from the Killington Grand Resort Hotel. Take a left at the Mountain Inn where the signs are for the Grand Hotel and Tubing Park. The clubhouse and tubing park are on your left and you get tickets inside the clubhouse. There is a warm up area inside and restrooms as well.

Children are not allowed to ride with adults. They must be 42 inches tall and capable of holding on to the handles of their own pint-sized tube (and be accompanied by an adult).

There is a tubing carousel for tiny tots who are shorter. They sit on tubes and get pulled around like on a merry-go-round.

It's a good idea to make reservations in advance if possible as they only have tubes for 100 people, and it does get busy at times.

For a scheduled session or more info, call 800-621-6867.

Regular tubing hours are Thursdays and Fridays 4 - 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through March 24, 2013, conditions permitting. Tickets are sold for 1.5-hour sessions.

Vermont residents (with I.D.) can tube on Thursday nights under the lights for $12 per person.

Regular rates are $17 for adults 18 and up and $15 for 17 and under. Kids under 42 inches are $5 for the carousel.