If your looking for an exhilarating winter activity and skiing or snowboarding just isn’t your thing, check out tubing at Soldier Hollow.
What is tubing? Essentially its riding a giant inner tube down a snow covered hill. Its faster and more comfortable than a rickety old radio flyer sled. While you can go tubing just about anywhere with an elevation drop, Soldier Hollow does offer some benefits to make your tubing experience more fun.
Is Tubing a Lazy Man’s Sport?
Not having to pull your tube up the hill is a definitely a nice benefit. At Soldier Hollow you are actually pulled up the hill by a contraption that resembles a retrofitted ski lift. At first I had mixed feelings about being pulled up the hill. I thought to myself that it seemed wrong recreating in the outdoors without atleast a little bit of physical exertion. After all don’t we need to combat heart disease, childhood obesity and other ailments resulting from a sedentary lifestyle?
After my first trip down and the quick trip back up, however, I changed my mind as I realized just how many more rides down I could get by taking the lazy man’s way up. If you really want a little exercise you can run from the bottom of the hill to the lift-it is also a good way to keep warm.
The Art of Tubing
Some might say that tubing is just sitting down in a tube and sliding down a hill. Every true tuber however, knows that technique and style is what makes any good tubing outing a real scream. You can tube classic style by sitting in the tube, or freestyle it by going down on your belly.
Taking off is key to a good ride. If you are a little intimidated by the size of the hill you might try sitting down on the tube at the crest of the hill and then gently nudging yourself down the hill with your hands. This is acceptable to about age 5, at which point you need to learn to embrace life a little more.
My favorite take off is what I call the running belly flop. This involves running down the hill to get some speed throwing the tube down in front of you and then diving, or belly flopping, on too the tube to achieve maximum speed. Many take off styles exist and I invite you to try all of them or make up your own to further contribute to the art of tubing.
Like life, tubing is not met to be a solo sport. Simple physics tells us that heavier things tend to fall faster. So to get more speed you can either try to gorge yourself before tubing, or you can hook up with some friends and go down the hill as a group.
The more people the better, but I’ve found that after about 10 people you stop gaining as much speed per person. Also it is best to be in the front of the group as you tend to get the best ride while everyone behind you gets blasted with flying bits of snow and ice in your wake.
A Need for Speed
As mentioned above weight can affect your speed when tubing along with a lot of other things. If you are a bit of an adrenaline junky like myself and your looking for ways to maximize your speed, here are a few keys that I’ve discovered in my short career in amateur tubing:
Weight – as mentioned above putting on an extra 500 lbs or connecting 5-6 tubes together will really increase your speed.
Snow conditions – for the best tubing snow just think of the worst skiing snow. When the snow is compact and icy you will scream down the hills. On a snow or powder day you’ll go much slower as the fresh powder will slow you down.
Air Pressure – to a certain degree it is all about the tube. A well inflated tube flies down the hill much faster than one in the need of a little air.
Take Off – as mentioned above the more speed you can get going at the beginning of your run, the more you’ll have at the bottom.
Weight Distribution – the more you can evenly distribute your weight on the tube the better your tube will ride on the snow.
As you see there are many ways to increase your speed, and you thought tubing had no technique.
What to Wear
One thing that can ruin any tubing activity is not being properly outfitted. Being cold and/ or wet makes tubing no fun, so make sure to dress in layers, wear boots along with waterproof snow pants and a waterproof shell. A beanie is good to keep your melon warm and eye wear is always nice as you pick up speed going down the hill. A good pair of heavy gloves is also recommended to keep your hands nice and warm.
Where is Soldier Hollow
Soldier Hollow is just outside of Midway Utah next to Wasatch Mountain State Park. Unfortunately there is a charge to go tubing at Soldier Hollow, sometimes the best things in life aren’t free. Typically it runs $20 a person for 2 hours, which seems a little steep, but it does make for a great time. There is also a lodge just below the base of the hill you can go to warm up, chill out or meet up with your friends after an epic ride. For more information about Soldier Hollow go to: http://www.soldierhollow.com/tubing.php
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