Tubing takes a lot of effort, even if you let the conveyor belt pull you up.
TUBING NATURALLY takes effort, especially if you walk up a sledding hill hauling a tube, potentially with a kid along for the ride.
But even if you choose the conveyor belt that carries you and your tube up the hill at The Summit at Snoqualmie, you likely will be exhausted by the end of your two-hour tubing session. Why? Tubing is full of effort: walking in the snow, launching yourself onto your tube, laughing hysterically and/or screaming while sailing downhill, and running at the end to avoid a crash with an incoming tube. You don’t need to be a kid to have the best time.
I went twice in a span of two weeks, and both times left me exhausted. For my first round, my friend Natalie was game to head out during the limited opening weekend. It was raining, and only a few runs were open.
We tested all the lanes, noting which ones were the fastest. For my first run, I sat in a tube and screamed my way down the 60-foot drop, which is surprisingly fast. I forgot how fun tubing is. For the next round, I decided to try flying down on my belly. It felt faster. It was a little more nerve-wracking, and it was definitely my favorite approach.
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I stayed with the belly-down method until I saw someone get a spinning start from an employee, spiraling down the hill.
I asked an employee to spin me, too. It felt like a roller coaster, slightly terrifying and awesome all at once. But my tolerance for dizziness isn’t what it once was, and I went back to the stomach approach.
The line for the conveyor belt was short. Natalie and I decided to walk up a couple times. Walking uphill in snow gets your heart rate up fast. Soon we decided tubing is enough work, so we stuck with the covered conveyor belt.
It was raining, but we were dressed warmly, and it didn’t bother us. Unlike most winter sports, we decided tubing is the one snow activity we can handle in the rain.
On my second trip, more snow had fallen and more lanes were open; the place was packed. Walking up was often faster than waiting in line for the conveyor belt. I was there with my husband and stepkids, and I sometimes found myself hauling up two tubes. It was a good way to stay warm, though when the kids wanted to go on the conveyor belt, I gladly lined up.
Even with a full, sold-out session, we got in nearly as many runs as Natalie and I did. The teenage boys liked Lane 1, with a small bump where you could get air. I preferred my old standby, Lane 3, which was fast enough to ride to the end of the run. We figured out the lanes farther away from the conveyor belt weren’t as steep, and stuck with the faster, more-crowded ones.
This time, I had a wipeout. I was on my stomach, and at the steepest part of the run, I felt the tube start to tip. I leaned the wrong way and flipped. I scrambled back onto my tube to ride out the rest of the run. I became more tentative about being on my belly, then realized I just had to lean uphill when I felt my tube veering.
With the kids, we tubed to the very last run, though there were plenty of families who ended their sessions early. We didn’t mind the shorter lines, and at the end, the kids clamored for more. I’m sure we will be back.