The ingredients — a slope, snowmaking and grooming equipment — already are in place, so it makes all the sense that many local ski areas also should have a hand in the snow tubing business.
The attraction is simple: Tubers get to experience the speed and thrill of hurtling down a mountain without the need to strap on a pair of skis. It’s less expensive than buying a lift ticket for skiing or snowboarding and has no other restrictions other than height and age. It’s an easy way to plan a winter activity for a wide range of guests, without dropping a fortune.
But Gunstock general manager Tom Day told New England Ski Journal last year that he sees tubing almost as a gateway activity. Maybe the “high-thrill, low-skill” attraction will show participants that it’s fun to slide on snow. Maybe then, Day figures, they will want to try it on their feet instead of on their rear ends. “Ski school people will go up and talk, but not like a furniture store where people come out of the walls,” he said. “We try not to overemphasize it, but we make sure they’re aware of it.”
Last year in New Hampshire, snow tubing was up 1 percent at ski areas compared to 2019-20 and up 9 percent compared to the 10-year average. It’s become the norm to see lines at the snow tube lift just as long as they are for the traditional chairlift.