Snow Tubing!


Published:

Winter’s chill brings the snow bug, and our family loves to hit the slopes. So recently, we made the two-hour drive to the mountains to find some snow. With only 24 hours to spare and a tight budget, the full weekend of family skiing and snowboarding was out of the question on this trip.

We found the perfect alternative: snow tubing at Hawksnest. For less than the cost of half-day lift tickets — and no rental equipment hassles — we hit the slopes for an hour and 45 minutes of snow-filled, family fun.

You may recognize the name Hawksnest as the ski resort located in the tiny N.C. town of Seven Devils. Lenny Cottom, the owner and manager of the property, converted it this season to exclusively offer snow tubing — making it the biggest snow-tubing operation on the East Coast. With more than 600 tubes and 100 percent snow-making, families are guaranteed good conditions, as long as the weather cooperates.

We arrived during a light snowfall, with two excited 8-year-old boys in tow and got our tickets for the 2 p.m. session. Because there’s no special equipment to rent and no lessons required, we were able to jump right into the action. We picked our tubes and started on a moderate slide, but within two runs, the boys were boldly jumping on their tubes headfirst down the steeper hills.

As a parent wanting to avoid an emergency-room visit, the headfirst idea was a little scary, but I reasoned, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” So I gave it a try. Going headfirst on a giant inner tube was crazy. I made it down without any need for medical attention, though I did take out a small iceberg with my right knee on the third run and decided feet-first was a better option for a 40-something mom.

Tubing is great for families because it’s easy to participate together. Preschoolers can ride doubled up with Mom or Dad on a tube, and older kids can slide along beside them. Even grandparents get in on the fun. Falling down is minimal, thus reducing the “Mommy, I’m cold!” complaints, but rough-and-tumble boys will find ways to wipe out anyway, and so waterproof snow gear is a must. A moving carpet serves the two main slopes, and a manageable hike is needed to reach the other tube runs. The littlest members might not make it through a full session, but older kids (7 and older) will enjoy every last minute.

We brought our own camera, but could not beat the close-up, professional shots from the resort photographer. After your session, get a hot chocolate for the kids and a latte from the coffee bar while you find your photos. There’s a cozy fireplace and snack bar serving more substantial fare on the second floor, and a bar (beer only) on the upper level where several families were relaxing, watching football and observing the snowy fun below.

After our Saturday session, we retreated to Chetola Lodge in nearby Blowing Rock — a real treat and one of our family favorites.

Hawksnest can be a great destination for a day trip, an overnight in the mountains, or a fun diversion from skiing on a long weekend. Take the whole family and enjoy.

If You Go
Hawksnest
2058 Skyland Drive, Seven Devils
800-822-4295
www.hawksnest-resort.com

Admission and Hours
$22/session; Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
$30/session weekends/holidays
Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (and holidays)
Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sessions every two hours.
Signed liability waivers required.
Helmets and snow bibs are available for purchase.
Must be at least 3 years old.

Chetola Resort
North Main Street, Blowing Rock
800-243-8652
www.chetola.com
Fees
Guestrooms $142-$270
One- to four-bedroom condos $159-$495

Eve White is the editor of Charlotte Parent, a sister publication to Piedmont Parent.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Kid-Friendly Music Festivals in the Carolinas

Regional music festivals offer fun for the whole family.

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina

’Tis the season for dazzling light displays. Here are our top picks of holiday light show extravaganzas across the state.

Applying to NC Colleges? Take an Inside Look at 16 NC Public Schools

These profiles detail everything from student-to-faculty ratios to acceptance rates and the percentage of students who successfully graduate in four years.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triad by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The all-new 2015-2016 Education Guide is packed with everything parents need to know to navigate more than 500 education options and resources in the Triad, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

GPS [Go. Play. See]

It's your complete family guide to Triad living. Parents are busy and on the go. Use this guide to help you explore all this great area offers for families in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and surrounding communities.

Exceptional Child

For parents of kids with special needs, finding help and support can be challenging. We've compiled valuable resources for Triad parents in our latest annual publication, Exceptional Child, which is also available as a digital guide.