Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Tubing - Easy & Fun In The NC Mountains !!

Joe Tennis from The Bristol News recently tried out Snow Tubing - here's his story. 

Insanely popular’

These days, Hawksnest’s snow business focuses on a zipline and more than 20 lanes of tubing at Seven Devils, N.C., said owner Lenny Cottom.

“Tubing really started in the mid-’90s in this area,” Cottom said. “And it’s gone very well here. The thing about tubing is it allows you to do something without a whole lot of knowledge. You don’t have to take the lessons. If you can sit down, you can ride a tube.”

Not far from Seven Devils, Ski Beech boasts a tube run atop Beech Mountain, N.C., that can be braved in the darkness – with floodlights shining on the powder-packed surface during weekend nights.

“A lot of people want to enjoy the snow,” said Ski Beech’s marketing manager, Talia Freeman. “But they don’t want to try snowboarding or skiing.”

That’s where tubing slides in.

“Tubing is insanely popular,” Freeman said. “Tubing is something, obviously, that everyone can do.”

And, this year, Ski Beech features three tubing lanes, including a new J-shaped curve.

‘Anybody can do this’

Near Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain Resort operates a set of medium-length tubing lanes at Banner Elk, N.C.

“Tubing is a real business,” resort owner Gunther Jochl said. “We’re doing real well in tubing.”

Stopping at Sugar, I tested a tube on a Tuesday.

And it proved just as sweet as sliding down Beech Mountain in the dark.

Still, Sugar’s tube supervisor advised me to put my feet down and apply brakes as I passed the tubing run’s orange-and-black “SLOW” signs; not slowing down could cause you to fly onto a hill and spill into a patch of pine trees.

Braking certainly sounded like a good idea after my slam-bam-I’m-sorry-ma’am with Rhonda Johnson the day before.

Only, applying brakes soaked my legs with snow.

But, hey you can count me luckier than a sidelined Sunny Garcia, a Raleigh, N.C., artist who split apart a shoe on her fourth run down Sugar Mountain’s tube slope. “I was trying to stop myself as I was going down,” said Garcia, 37. “And I guess the shoe – the sole – just separated.”

Busted shoe or not, Garcia stood anxious to try it all again with her 7-year-old daughter, Bianca.

And so did Julie Alkire, a florist from Hilton Head Island, S.C.

“We love it,” said Alkire, who went tubing at Sugar Mountain with her six-year-old daughter, Gracie. “And anybody can do this, which is great."

Check out all the snow fun at Beech Mountain Ski Resort.

or Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zipline

or Sugar Mountain Skiing and Tubing