tubingBy Alicia Yeager

Where can you get taken up a hill while riding in a tube, slide down an icy and snowy trail at a fun and speedy pace, warm up by a bonfire and drink amazing hot chocolate? Snow tubing or skating at Holiday Valley Tubing Company on Route 242, just 4 miles from Holiday Valley Resort!

The beautiful space that serves as the snow tubing park has a line of 20 perfect-sized, individual tubing lanes, a large bonfire pit to keep warm between trips down the tubing slope, and a cozy little hut at the base of the hill with a snack bar, restrooms and fireplace — the perfect place to get rich-tasting hot chocolate and rest in front of a fire after a day of fun!

New this year, the Tubing Company has built an outdoor skating rink. It only costs $5. Just bring your own skates. The rink will be open as weather permits.

You can tube for 2 hours for only $17 or 3 hours for only $19. The park also offers an all-day pass for only $25, so that you can spend a whole day going back and forth from tubing adventure to cabin relaxation. There is also a special pass to tube for just the last hour and a half of the day $14, which is perfect for those who get a little too chilly in the winter weather.

A season pass is also available to tube whenever you want during the whole winter season for just $75. There is also Tube for $10 Thursdays every Thursday that isn’t a holiday.

Snow tubing is great for families, friends, couples and even birthday party groups. Groups can get in line together so they can then slide down the hill together if they like. For larger groups, you can call (716) 699-2345, ext. 4406, to make arrangements.

In order to snow tube, you must be at least 7 years old and 42 inches tall. However, there is also a Little Tubers area for younger children that is just as exciting as the larger tubing hill. Families are guaranteed to have a wonderful day of winter fun. Just remember to dress for the weather with plenty of warm layers. Hats, gloves, neck warmers, hand warmers and helmets are also available at the Tubing Company.

Madison Downs, a 10-year-old girl from Lewisburg, Pa., came with her family, including her 7-year-old brother Tyler, to visit her grandparents in Bradford and took a trip to Ellicottville to go snow tubing last Saturday. She had never been snow tubing before and was very excited about the experience.

“We decided to have some fun at Holiday Valley,” she said of her family’s trip to Ellicottville. “I have to say I am very much enjoying it [and] it looks like my brother is having a really good time.”

Everyone on the hill is smiling, laughing and having a good time — even the workers seem to be enjoying themselves.

“I like not having to walk up the hill,” Madison said. “There is a machine that does it for you.”

And there are different ways to ride the tube down the hill — sitting with your feet out in front of you or lying on your stomach and going down head first. Whichever way you chose to tube, you’ll have a blast. It just depends on how brave you are!

After riding the tow lift up the hill in your tube, you bring your tube to one of the paths marked with different colored flags. Once it is your turn to go, you get into your tube and plant your feet on the ground to keep in place until the worker says you can go. Then release your feet and your tube will fly down the hill. Don’t forget to hold on as you laugh and scream on your amazing snow-covered adventure!

Snow tubing hours are from 4-9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and noon–9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You can spend a great evening tubing after a hard day at work or just spend a weekend day or night having a really nice time full of laughter and high energy. Whether you’re 10 or 50 or any age at all, you’ll have a blast getting out of the house during these beautiful winter months.