Snow tubing is one of the best family-friendly winter activities to exist. Kids love it, teens love it, and even adults love it! Also, no expensive equipment is required, unlike skiing and snowboarding.
There are some tips to keep in mind when you take the kiddos out for snow tubing this winter to ensure everyone stays safe and warm. Packing extra clothes and making advance reservations are both pro tips. If you’re visiting a tubing park — you’ll want to do some research beforehand to ensure they offer accommodations for young children.
1. Make Sure Everyone Is Bundled Up
One of the most important things to remember is to pack extra layers in case the little ones get colder than expected. Hats, gloves, jackets, and boots are all necessary to have a fun time at the tubing park.
Long underwear and waterproof outer layers go a long way in keeping everyone cozy and dry. Younger children may even want to wear a pair of goggles to avoid getting snow sprayed up into their eyes.
Unlike when you’re skiing, you won’t have to wear any uncomfortable ski boots. Any waterproof snow boots will do perfectly fine. Adding a pair of wool socks will help keep toes warm throughout the day.
2. Opt to Go During the Daytime
Some snow tubing parks stay open well into the night and this tends to be when the older crowd gets a bit rowdier. The morning and afternoon hours are typically when the park is most suitable for children as that’s when many other kids will be there as well.
Before you head out to the park, check their hours the night before so that you know how early they open and how late they close. This will help you gauge the best time to bring your children.
If you choose to go to the park in the evening hours, it may be harder to keep a watchful eye on your kids. If you have young ones, this can make the experience stressful and a bit scary.
3. Designate a Family Meeting Area
Once your family arrives at the park, it can be smart to designate a meeting area if anyone gets separated. Make sure all of the children know to head to this spot if they get lost and scared and that you’ll head over there to meet them.
This can help calm anxieties for both parent and child once there has been a designated safety spot chosen at the park. Tubing parks are often popular locations and they can draw a large local crowd — so it can be easy to lose sight of someone, even if only for a moment.
4. Pack a Change of Clothes
After a few hours of tubing, it’s likely that everyone will be a bit damp from all of the snow. Packing a change of clothes can be a lifesaver at the end of the day and can help your children get warm once they’re done tubing.
Dry socks can be the difference between a meltdown on the car ride home and a child who can’t stop smiling at the fun they had that day. It’s never enjoyable to sit in sweaty and damp clothing on the trip home.
5. Make Those Reservations Early
As many people know, snow tubing is a popular activity and it may be at risk of being sold out on the weekends and on school holidays. Make sure you book your tickets well in advance to ensure you and your child have a spot at the park.
Many tubing parks have websites that make it easy to look at schedules and book tickets. Use this to your advantage and don’t scramble at the last minute trying to snag a tubing slot at a less than ideal time for you and your family.
6. Find a Conveyor Belt Lift
If at all possible, locate a tubing park that has an automatic lift for those who can’t walk up the hill with their tubes. Many young children will get tired quickly after attempting to carry their tube back up the hill in order to slide down it.
Some parks offer the convenience of a “magic carpet lift” that brings them back to the top. This can help avoid a tired and grouchy toddler at the end of the tubing session.
The automatic lifts can also help parents conserve their energy because it’s likely they’ll be the ones lugging up all of the tubes. Oftentimes, trekking back up the hill can take longer than it does to actually slide down to the bottom.
7. Manage Your Expectations for the Day
Parents often have expectations anytime they purchase activities for their children to enjoy. However, kids are spontaneous and it’s important to be able to go with the flow of the day.
Tubing parks often sell 2-hour tubing slots and you may expect your kiddos to enjoy their time to the max. However, younger kids may get tired 30 minutes in and that’s okay! You can always hang out at the park and have a snack before asking your child if they want to go again.
If your child has never gone tubing before, they may be a bit anxious or scared of going down the hill. Allow them time to watch others do it before them and see if they gain the confidence to try it themselves. There’s no need to rush the process.
Safety First When Snow Tubing
While tubing isn’t nearly the most dangerous winter activity — it can still lead to some injuries if the proper protective equipment isn’t worn. Not all tubing parks require helmets but some do.
Most parks have helmets available for rent if you didn’t bring your own from home. On smaller children especially, a helmet can protect against accidental head trauma and can save you a trip to the hospital if something goes awry.
Snow tubing parks may also require that children don’t sit with their legs inside of the tube, as this can increase the likelihood of an injury or sprain of some type. Proper tubing form is sitting in the tube with hands on the handles and legs out front.
Always avoid sleds that are made from metal or wood and instead stick to the inflatable tubes. There is a lower risk of a tailbone injury on the inflatable variety and luckily, that’s what most parks provide anyway.
While you may not think of covering your child’s face in sunscreen since it’ll likely be cold outside — there are still harmful UV rays from the sun that can burn their delicate skin. Make sure to reapply every few hours to avoid a painful sunburn the next day.
Stay Warm and Have Fun!
A day spent snow tubing can be a great memory for children and one that they’re likely to remember until next winter when they beg you to take them again. It’s a great activity for all ages and abilities that helps put a smile on any child’s face and won’t break a parent’s budget.
It doesn’t matter if you have toddlers or teenagers or any age in-between — tubing can be a great time for any age and it’s a fun activity to bring the whole family together this winter.
If you’re planning on tubing this winter season, follow the tips above to ensure that you and your child make the most of it. With the right attitude, a day spent tubing can be as much fun as a day skiing the slopes.