Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Rocky Mountain High - Adventures in Winter Tubing

Last weekend we headed north with the minions, some family, and friends to enjoy some of the best winter has to offer, snow!  While we have had a colder winter than last year, there hasn't been much snow, and as Molly reminds me, we still have a lot of work to do on our winter bucket list before the end of March.

This was the first year that we took Molly and Jack tubing at Horseshoe Valley, and I'm happy to say it was a big success. I attribute a lot of this positive experience with how we prepared for it, the rest I'll chalk up to luck. Thankfully both kids are happy to add winter tubing to our agenda for next year.

Jack laying in a snowbank pre-tubing (this is how mittens got wet!)

11 Tips for Winter Tubing with Little Kids

  1. After you determine you think tall enough or big enough for said activity, wait a little while longer
    Technically the minions were tall enough and old enough to go tubing last year, but based on their responses to big slides and other activities last winter we determined it was best to wait another year, and I'm glad that we did.  After an earlier trip sledding this winter there was absolutely no hesitation to tackle the big hill and zero talk about being scared.
  2. Bring along veteran tubers or bigger kids
    The appeal of an activity with their older cousins made any fear melt away.  Both kids wanted to ride down the hill with their cousins and be "big kids" too.  As always, I'd recommend bringing more adults than kids so you can take shifts down the hill, and for trips to the washroom, so you're not hitting pause for everyone if one kid needs a break.
  3. Just carry their tubes for them
    After a couple of runs down the hill and back up the escalator we all determined that kids under seven or so generally do best when they can stand on the escalator and step off without creating a bottleneck when a grown-up stacks their mini tube on top of theirs and takes it up the hill for them. By teaching the kids to "surf" on the ramp up the hill it prevented falls when the ramp stopped suddenly.

    Dad and Jack at the top of the hill getting ready to go down the hill
  4. Bring extra hats and mittensHalf way through our two hour adventure whirring down the hill on giant donuts Molly began to complain her hands were cold, and her mittens were soaked from playing in the snow.  We were able to swap out for fresh dry ones in a pinch.
  5.  Warm up by the fire
    Horseshoe valley has a fire near the bottom of the hill where you can warm up for a bit of a break 
  6. Wear two pairs of socks
    I didn't have both kids in two pairs of socks and I quickly regretted this decision.  The snow is cold on the feet and an extra pair of socks each would have likely been able to get us another trip or two down the hill.
  7. Mitten warmers can double as boot warmers
    My sister (thankfully) had packed a set of hand warmers to place in mittens of cold hands.  These will also work when placed in a boot between a sock and the boot itself.  I'm totally bringing some of these next year.

    On the ramp heading up the hill
  8. Don't obsess about "getting your money's worth"
    I calculated it out and we needed to go down the hill at least six times to make our two hour pass more cost effective than purchasing individual trips down the hill, even with a 20% discount card. We went down seven times total, but at the end of the day if we'd only gone down five it would have been okay, they had a blast and want to go back again - so win win.  If you think your kid is going to freak out about this hill you can purchase a one run and done pass to test it out to negate the risk of them bailing quickly.
  9. Know when to call it
    We bargained for one extra run down the hill when the kids were complaining about really being cold and wanting to go home.Remember this is supposed to be fun! On our way to the car I saw a pair of girl/boy twins about a year or two younger than Molly and Jack crying because they were wet and cold.  By calling it a day before it was too late things ended on a high note.  I'm not going to say there wasn't any whining, but it was manageable.
  10. Bring Separate Cars
    Older kids were able to stay a little while longer, and we didn't feel bad for pulling the plug on the festivities when the minions got cold, because we weren't stopping anyone else from getting the most out of their pass.
  11. Warm Baths and Hot Cocoa
    What could be better than having a hot bath (but not too hot on cold skin) while your parents make you hot chocolate to warm out after a winter outdoor adventure?

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