Snow Mountain Ranch summer tubing hill offers family fun
IF YOU GO
As session times may vary, contact the Program Department on the day you plan to attend to check open times. Their number is 970-887-2152 ext. 4135.
No flip-flops! Try not to wear loose clothing or hats.
YMCA Members: $15 per person and complimentary day pass
13 and up: $35 per person
6 to 12 years old: $25 per person
3-5 years old: $15 per person
*These prices give access to mini golf, tennis courts, indoor pool and sauna, hiking and bikin trails, free fammily programs and more.
There was a storm rippling across the mountains from the west when I strapped on my helmet and stepped up to the precipice.
From the chasm I could hear the screams of children and adults as they plummeted through the mist.
The attendant smiled while I flopped down into my tube.
“Normal, backwards or spinning?” she asked.
“Spinning,” I said enthusiastically, trying to be brave.
With that she gave my tube a violent jerk that sent me hurtling down the hill.
For a moment the world was a blur. My heart seemed to levitate to my throat as I bombed down the hill. The mist blooming up from the hillside covered my face.
It was pure exaltation.
The summer tubing hill at YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch is truly a state-of-the-art, well, hill.
To be honest, my imagination wasn’t entirely captured by the idea of a tubing hill, especially one that isn’t covered in snow. But my imagination didn’t account for SnowFlex. It’s a synthetic snow surface, the same material used on the Olympic training jumps in Salt Lake City and at the training facility at Copper Mountain.
The entire tubing hill is covered in the material.
An irrigation system releases mist onto the surface, which makes it slick. And fast.
“It’s fast enough to where I as an adult think it’s fun, but not enough to be dangerous or scary,” said Mary Ann Degginger, program director at Snow Mountain Ranch.
Deginger oversees the summer tubing hill, which is only one of three in the country.
Her confidence was reassuring, as the hill looks a bit daunting from the top.
But one by one, children only a fraction of my age marched bravely before me to tackle the drop, and I had no choice but to follow.
Deginger estimated that around 10,500 people have taken the plunge since the hill first opened on July 15.
The hill was built as part of Snow Mountain Ranch’s Family Adventure Park, which will be adding new features in the coming years, including Spruce Saddle Adventure Zone, a play area with a faux natural climbing wall and other features. They’re even planning a dog park.
Snow Mountain Ranch runs a daily session on the hill, which typically includes two hour-long periods spliced by a thirty-minute rest.
About 360 people ride the hill daily.
“It’s extremely popular,” Degginger said.
On Aug. 11, billed as “locals day,” 80 people were waiting in line for the hill when it opened at 10:30 a.m.
The hill is open to ages 3 and up, though children ages 3 to 6 need a parent to ride with them. For this, the hill stocks tandem tubes.
And if the hike back up seems too great a cost for the ride down, fear not.
The hill has a magic carpet ski lift to take you and your tube back to the summit.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.
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