Following a season of masks, spaced-out lift lines, and other restrictions, several of the area’s ski resorts are heading into the final weekend of the year.
Many ski and snowboard resorts in the West rely upon a nearby town that is base for food, lodging and off-slope fun, so SnoCountry took a look at three well-known towns that act as hubs for the mountains that surround them.
Speeding down the track in a tube at Keystone. (Keystone/Facebook)
Ski and snowboard resorts across the country continue to up the ante for activities beyond hitting the slopes – and tubing is a growing staple at many of them.
Tubing centers typically sprout up near the base area and utilizing beginner lifts like conveyors – though there’s a few up on the hill.
Most have height and age minimums, charge per session (two hours typical), offer group rates, and sometimes require viewing ticket. Often there’s a warming hut with food and drink nearby; lighted, after-dark tubing common.
Keystone puts tubing hill at top of gondola with top-of-the-continent views. Park has six lanes, conveyor lift, and is open after dark during evening ski-snowboard hours.
Tubing at Soda Springs Mountain Resort ramps up to 20 lanes and a 400-ft surface lift. The curious but not brave can buy a pedestrian ticket to watch.
Highlight at Mount Hood SkiBowl’s tubing park is Cosmic Tubing with lane lighting, laser shows and music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 5 p.m. on lift-served kiddie and hike-up extreme hills.
At Summit at Snoqualmie, tubers’ best option is to buy two-hour tickets in advance online and show up early. Eight-lane tubing hill is 550 feet long with 40-foot drop, located across from Summit Central.
Upstate New York’s Hunter Mountain boasts biggest park – 20 chutes 1,000 feet long served by conveyor. Overlapping two-hour sessions up capacity on weekends.
Another with after-dark tubing is Killington, which runs Fridays and Saturdays (plus holidays) until 7 p.m.
Night owls will love Boston Mills-Brandywine in northeast Ohio. The Polar Blast goes till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
For Wisconsin’s largest, head to Sunburst Ski Area in Wisconsin, with its 40 lanes and two conveyors.
Yes, it’s finally a bonanza snow season in the Sierra with double-digit storms all over, but the managers of Soda Springs Mountain Resort don’t regret their decision to become the first California resort to use recycled water for snowmaking.
After a snow-challenged 2012-13 season that came on the heels of an industry slowdown, the 14 resorts that ring Lake Tahoe kept upgrades modest this summer. Still, there are a number of improvements.
A report just released by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) details more progress on implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2011-12 season.