By Kellen M. Quigley
Looking for something that’s fun for everyone and all you have to do is sit down, hang on and experience the exhilaration of pure winter fun?
Holiday Valley Tubing Company, a tubing park just a five-minute drive from downtown Ellicottville located on Route 242, is expected to open this weekend, weather dependent, just in time for the Christmas holiday break.
“If all goes according to plan, the opening day will be Thursday the 19th,” said Jane Eshbaugh, director of marketing at Holiday Valley, last week.
The snow tubing park will once again offer 22 lanes that are a 100-foot drop down tracks 900 feet long. Along with single-width lanes are three group lanes for linking up with friends and experiencing the thrill together.
“We’ve been making snow out there and it looks like there will be 10 to 12 lanes open to start the season,” Eshbaugh said. “We put in a new water pump for the snowmaking, which makes our snowmaking system more efficient.”
The biggest renovations in recent history came last year when the old main handle tow was replaced with a brand new conveyor lift. So again this year, just grab your tube, step on and away you go up to the top. This will allow for more capacity, which means more rides for everyone.
“It helps make the flow go a lot better and you can get people up there and fill all the lanes before we say go so there’s more people all going down at the same time,” Eshbaugh added.
Additionally last year, three state-of-the-art HKD fan guns and six new HKD tower guns were installed for making more snow in a shorter time frame, using less energy.
For children under 7, a special Little Tubers area is available, weather permitting, at a cost of $5. The minimum height requirement for the “big hill” is 42 inches or taller.
A cozy warming hut is at the base of the hill with a snack bar, fireplace and restrooms. Or you can warm up and rest outside at the giant bonfire pit.
“The thing about the tubing park is anybody can go tubing,” Eshbaugh said. “Once you’re the right height, it can be any age. We try to encourage people to bring the whole family.”
Since the park opened in 2003, Eshbaugh said it has been great for everyone whether they do other winter snowsports or not. She said the original idea was as a fun after-skiing activity, but it’s also attracted a lot of people to Ellicottville who may never go skiing.
“Plus, we make our own snow, so when you might not be able to go sliding on your back hill, we’ll have snow out there,” she added.
The Holiday Valley Tubing Company is located on the corner of Route 242 and Bryant Hill Road, just 4 miles from Holiday Valley. A free shuttle service to and from Holiday Valley is available every two hours during operating hours. Pickup is at the Resort Services Center.
Tubing season runs through March 22, 2020, weather permitting. Hours of operation are Thursdays and Fridays from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is also open during Christmas and New Years holiday breaks as well as Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day week and Spring Break week.
For more information, visit holidayvalley.com or call 716-699-TUBE.