Our guide to the best New England snow tubing parks. All you need to do is bundle up, and let gravity do its job.
By Kim Knox Beckius
Dec 01 2016
Family fun at Nashoba Valley Tubing Park in Littleton, Massachusetts.Photo Credit : Courtesy of Nashoba Valley
It’s a downhill thrill that requires no skill. An express ticket to childhood exhilaration, no matter how many years it’s been since you rooted for snow days. No wonder snow tubing is surging in popularity. New England’s top tubing destinations manufacture snow, groom lanes, and provide the cushy rubber donuts. All you need to do is bundle up, and let gravity do its job. Here are five picks for the best snow tubing parks in New England.
From the top of the tubing hill, the view of the stark, snow-sprinkled Presidential and Moat Mountain Ranges will wow you even before your first run. Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park has a giant swing, zip line, and mountain coaster, too, but 10 snow tubing lanes attract the most winter riders. Even tiny tots can tube: Kids less than 42 inches tall ride for free, but must be paired with a paying adult. The trip back uphill via either a handle-tow lift or magic carpet gives you time to decide whether to ask a staffer to set your tube spinning for a dizzying descent. A bigger dilemma: Warm up inside Artist Falls Lodge at Sliders Café & Bar? Or join the night owls and last-blast bargain seekers swooshing under the lights until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays?
As soon as it snaps cold, the team at this scenic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing center in Grafton, Vermont, gives Mother Nature an assist with blanketing the tubing hill. Two long, curving chutes are open seven days, and the rates (which include a $40 pass option for a family of four) are considerably less than what you’d pay at a major ski resort. On select dates when horse-drawn sleigh rides are on offer, too, the ambiance is so yesteryear, it feels natural to have to trudge uphill pulling your tube. Other days, breathe in the evergreen aroma and know the exertion is healthy for all ages. Steamy cocoa by a roaring fire in the rustic lodge tastes sweetest when earned.
The new owners of southern Vermont’s most challenging ski mountain are not mere investors: They’re passionate fans of its throwback appeal. That means they’re committed to family-friendly policies like affordable all-day tubing rates for a trio of 400-foot lanes served by a tow-handle lift. For the first time, weekenders and locals can tube under the lights on Fridays: not just weekends. Ask parents, and they’ll tell you the biggest magic is the tube park’s location directly uphill from the base lodge. Enjoy après-ski music and drinks at a window-side table in the Black Line Tavern, while keeping an eye on still-energetic kids.
New England’s largest snow tubing complex (and maybe the best spot for snow tubing in MA) is a 15-acre site separate from the neighboring ski area with its own entrance, parking, and lodge. Four lifts maximize play-time on up to 18 lanes. Groomers have mastered the art and science of sculpting terrain, so no two descents are the same. Off-limits to kids under 6, and with late-night hours until 10 p.m.—even midweek—it’s ideal for heart-racing winter date nights that wind down inside the Outlook Restaurant with signature coffee drinks. Learn more of our favorite Massachusetts snow tubing parks.
With a sound system that pumps out upbeat pop, country, and oldies tunes and light towers that extend hours until 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, the atmosphere is electric at Maine’s largest snow tubing facility. As many as a dozen lanes are meticulously groomed to ensure peak conditions, and the carpet lift makes getting to the top as effortless as stepping on an escalator. Two-hour sessions sometimes sell out, so buy tickets online in advance. Student Nights on select Thursdays—just $10 for kindergarten- through college-aged fun-seekers—are the best tubing deal in the region. The fire pit’s always crackling, there’s hot chocolate to warm your innards, and pub fare at the Deck House comforts after you reluctantly surrender your tube.
Did we forget any of your favorite New England snow tubing parks? Let us know!