Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Belated Weekend Recap - Snow Tubing

I know it seems a bit silly to recap a weekend that happened a few weeks ago, but I really want to have all my "adventures" documented on my blog so I can do a cool year in review like all the other kids in December. I thought about combining this with last weekend's recap, but I decided to leave them separate, for that same reason.

The day started out with me getting up early-ish to run. This is always something I want to do, but it's so nice, especially in the winter, to doze back off in my blanket nest on Saturday mornings instead of getting up. But I made it out the door before 10 AM. Baby steps.

It was even nicer than I expected being out in the morning. Lots of other runners were out (who knew!), so it was nice to feel like I was communing with them. Even if I didn't actually make any eye contact because that's awkward.

It also beautiful out, with sunny skies and no wind. It was almost 40 degrees by the time I finished! I meant to take a picture of my run, but I was too lazy to dig my phone out. Suffice it to say, it was a very refreshing final long run.

As soon as I got back, I shoveled some food into my face and headed over to my coworker's to meet up for tubing. We had invited a larger group, but it ended up being me, L (same one I ran the Scrumpy Skedaddle with), L's brother, and T, another coworker.

The closest place to us to snow tube is Snow Snake, just north of Clare. For any non-Michiganders reading this, we consider this the beginnings of "Up North." I sort of live on the border, so it's easy for me to cross over. It was an easy 35 minute or so drive up to Snow Snake. (Easy because L drove and I could continue, ahem, refueling along the way.)

An aside here, but it was so funny when I told people I was tubing the upcoming weekend. Almost every person asks me if I meant snow tubing. There is a place to go river tubing nearby as well, but I hardly think that's likely in January!

When we arrived, we were initially a little unsure about the tubing runs. From the parking lot, it looked like grass was poking through at the bottom of the runs. We watched some people go down though, and they didn't seem bothered by it, so we went for it, all except for L's brother. I think the only thing he won't complain about is drinking, so we sent him off to the lodge, and the three of us got our tags.

It was a funny role reversal, after helping L get into running, I flailed around with my jacket tag completely clueless. She was on her high school's ski team, and still skis regularly, so she very helpfully showed me the ropes.

Snow Snake's tow rope was very nice, in that attendants hooked and unhooked your tube. I went tubing once as a kid, and you were responsible for unclipping yourself. That's way too much pressure for me! Up we went to check out our options.

Awkward tow rope selfie.
Snow Snake had four different runs, and we ended up trying them all. A few we did multiple times, based on how short the lines were. We had only paid for one hour of tubing (a bummer that they don't give a discount for two hours!), so we wanted to maximize our time.

The three of us were allowed to go down as a group every time, which was a lot of fun. I almost lost my privileges though after accidentally dropping L's feet one time, and she almost sailed over the snow barrier from the momentum.

That run sounded so gentle. Lies, all lies.
There was a worker manning the top of each run, so the crowd was controlled. It was so nice not worrying if someone would come smash into you from behind! Much better than sledding as a kid. They would also spin you if you wanted. We were too chicken the first time, but the guy spun us anyway (gently), and after that we got over our fear.

Another tow rope picture, but you can see how steep the runs were!
We also discovered on our first run that what we thought was grass was actually hay. Because of refreezing happening that week prior, the bottom of the runs had turned to ice. Without the grass, our combined weight would have easily sent us flying when we got to the bottom. We tried to convince L's brother to join us again, but he was happy with his beers, I guess.

Gosh, winter boots are hideous!

The nice weather persisted for us in the afternoon. I usually run quite cold, but other than the very tips of my toes at the end, I was perfectly comfortable. Dunham's had actually run out of snow pants when I shopped the night before, so the only water repellent pants I had were my rain pants. I felt like a super dork, but they sealed around my boots well, and I stayed warm and dry! Now there's a life hack if I've ever heard one.

When our hour was up, we headed in to join L's brother at the lodge. It was pretty cramped, but we managed to snag a table in the bar area. I stuck to hot cocoa (which ended up being disappointing), but it was nice to warm up a bit and chat.

I'm so glad we found time that worked to go. L and T are hilarious, and it was awesome to go tubing with them. I think the runs I did when I was younger were more intense (I seem to remember us going over barricades and falling out of tubes), but this was a blast. I have a tendency to fall off sleds, so tubing is the perfect activity for me.

Maybe if the snow sticks around I will go again!

Have you ever been snow tubing?
What's your favorite winter activity?


  1. I love sledding! I'm so jealous. :)

    1. I think tubing is even more fun than sledding, because it takes all the work out of it!