Sliding Down the Slopes
Need one good reason to get outside and embrace the cold? Snow tubing. The slick rides are like sledding—on steroids. No special skills are required. And the colder it gets, the faster you’ll fly down the slopes: at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. “As the snow freezes more, it gets a little icier,” says Alex Cole, a manager at Nashoba Valley Tubing Park, in Littleton, Massachusetts. There, 18 tubing lanes, each nearly a quarter of a mile long, are packed with man-made (and some natural) snow and extend along two sides of the hill, at a 100-foot vertical drop.
The park—the largest snow-tubing venue in New England—is part of the family-run Nashoba Valley Ski Area, founded in 1964. Tubing lanes opened on an adjacent hill in 2001, and quickly became a popular intergenerational winter activity. Families and kids come in droves, especially during school-vacation weeks, but so do groups of young adults and “the occasional older couple,” Cole adds. “We have thousands of people every week for tubing; in a season, we could see 50,000.” Tips: go early or late in the day to avoid crowds; two-hour individual tickets are $35; group-rate discounts are available; and night-time tubing, until 10 p.m., ups the thrill factor.
Other snow-tubing sites close to Boston include Ski Ward, in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and McIntyre Ski Area, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Those are smaller and perhaps tamer, but nonetheless offer fresh air and exercise, human contact, and a fun day out: all helpful combatants against winter doldrums.