Maybe, like me, you're not a fan of high-speed sledding. (All that jolting and bruising!) And maybe, like me, you're not fond of the cold, either. (I legitimately worry about losing toes.) But tubing in Frisco, just a little more than an hour west of Denver, was seriously some of the most fun I've had in a long time.
Tips for Tubing at Frisco Adventure Park
Granted, there were a few game-changers. Colorado pairs low humidity with high elevation, so a sunny winter day in the mountains can feel warmer than Florida on spring break. (We went to Florida last spring break. Trust me.) There was no wind and no precipitation the day we went tubing, so that fierce Rocky Mountain sun made the slopes feel fresh, not frigid.
And we were all geared up, with snow pants, ski gloves and hats. We followed the rules for layering, with a thin, wicking synthetic next to the skin, a water-repellent shell on the outside, and something warm and cozy in between. We wore thin sports socks under wool socks under heavy duty snow boots. It was practically toasty.
Dressed and well-hydrated for the altitude, we set out for Colorado winter fun. Here's what we learned along the way:
You need to make a tubing reservation at Frisco Adventure Park online. Granted, we were there over the holidays, but the place is often busy. Book your time online before you go.
Get there *at least* a half-hour in advance. It'll take some time to find a parking spot, find the right building, sign your waiver and watch the short safety video. They will give away your space if you don't show up on time!
Go to the lodge. If you find yourself in a building where people are renting cross-country skis, you're in the wrong spot. And you'll likely have to stand in a long line to discover this. Go to the building on the south side of the drive that connects the parking areas within the adventure park. Check in there and sign your waiver. (Go potty while you're at it, so you can maximize your time on the tubing hill.)
Grab a tube with both handles intact. This will be useful the first time you go down, when you may feel like gripping them for dear life. After you get more comfortable, you may want to tie up to fellow tubers, for which you'll need those handles.
Follow the staffers' instructions on the magic carpet lift. One of the best parts of tubing in Frisco is the fact that you don't have to haul yourself back uphill. But if you mess up the getting-on and getting-off parts, you hold up the line for everyone.
The tubing lanes on the left are longer and faster. But the lanes on the right drop you off closer to the lift, which is a time saver. Also, when choosing which lane to wait in, look for families who are tying up together vs. people going down as singles. A group cuts the wait time dramatically.
Go down alone at least once. Wind in your hair, fear in your heart...it's the best way to experience all the senses. Plus, the staffers can give you a straight push down the hill, which means you'll really pick up speed. My first ride was a solo one, and it was equal parts terror and exhilaration, especially when I realized that it didn't hurt.
Go down with a friend at least once. You can connect as many as four tubes together at a time. A staffer can help you hook up, then give you a giant spin before you plummet down the mountain. Getting to watch your loved ones' faces while they soar through the snow is priceless entertainment.
Go down as often as you can. I booked us for an hour, thinking I'd be sore, frozen and exhausted 45 minutes in. But it came and went way too fast, and I was sprinting from the run to the lift to squeeze in one more trip before we were done. It was smooth sailing, and the only bumps and bruises I suffered were a result of tripping over my tube because I'm a klutz. It was the most fun I've had in ages. If you go, let me know--I'll join you!
616 Recreation Way
Frisco, CO 80443