So, we spent the weekend at Wintergreen Resort, which is three hours from Washington, DC. We went snow tubing on-site at The Plunge, which is Virginia’s largest tubing park. There are probably ten tubing lanes that span the length of three football fields, and you go really, really fast. This was my first time ever tubing and I definitely screamed the entire way down my first run.
Tubing passes are $28 per person for a two-hour window starting at 10 am. At first I thought that wasn’t very long, but tubing will definitely tire you out, particularly getting back up the hill with your tube, even with the magic carpet (moving walkway) up the hill. Depending on how crowded it is the day you go, you’ll probably get in at least eight to ten runs, which is plenty.
I loved that you could hook your tube to another person’s tube so you didn’t need to go down the run alone each time. They had special lanes for “doubles” so I was able to ride down with each of my daughters many, many times. This was especially good for my youngest, Molly, who is just five and is a little peanut.
We went over a holiday weekend and tubing was sold out, but I never felt like I had to wait an exorbitant amount of time for a tubing lane. It was busy, but organized, and everyone was definitely having fun.
If you plan to go tubing and have kids who are between two and five, you’ll love Ridgely’s Fun Park. It’s an area about half the size of a football field that has lots of outdoor winter activities for children who are too small for tubing. There was sledding, a merry-go-round with tubes, a soft blocks play area and plastic tools to make snow balls and blocks.
They also had a big teepee with a fire pit inside (a metal grate covered the fire). The kids loved making snowballs, then going inside and throwing them at the fire. Be sure to go inside with your child due to the fire, but there’s plenty of bench seating in the teepee. Buy your tickets in advance for Ridgely’s Fun Park, too. It’s $15 per hour, per child (extra kids are $10 each). Adults are $5 per hour. Tickets do sell out.
Here are a few quick tips to help you make the most of your family tubing experience at Wintergreen Resort:
Buy Your Tubing Passes Online. Tubing often sells out, even on non-holiday weekends, so it’s highly recommended that you buy your tickets online. Passes are released for sale every Sunday for the upcoming week.
Arrive One Hour in Advance. You won’t have to walk very far from the parking lot to The Plunge, but you will need time to get everyone geared up in their snow pants and boots, pick up your pre-ordered passes at the ticket window just above The Plunge, and add the tags to everyone’s coats. Tubers line up early for the next session, so try to be in that line at least 30 minutes before the start time.
Try a Learn-to-Ski Class. If you purchase a tubing pass, you can pay an extra $20 for a 75-minute ski lesson plus equipment rental the same day, or even the day after, you go tubing. You’ll need to take a short shuttle bus ride from The Plunge to the Learn-to-Ski area.
The equipment rental process takes 20 minutes with no crowds, so plan on arriving 60-90 minutes ahead of the lesson on busy weekends. You don’t need to sign up ahead of time for the lesson, but do pre-register for ski rentals to speed the process.
Eat at Off-Times. If your tubing session ends at noon, for example, try to leave The Plunge about 15 minutes early. Or, hang out and watch other tubers until around 12:30, then eat. There are a couple of fast food-style food spots at the top of The Plunge that sell the basics, like chili, chicken tenders and hot dogs, but the lines get very long right at session end times. There are also several other restaurants on-property.
Also, a couple of items that fall into the “good to know” category:
-The hot chocolates they sell are huge, so you can easily split one between two kids. I actually split one hot chocolate with my two youngest (ages 3 & 5) and that was perfect.
-There is a gas station right at Wintergreen, and the prices are very reasonable. Naturally, as we were heading up to Wintergreen the gas light came on, so the station was a welcome sight.
-As you drive up to Wintergreen and reach the top of the hill, don’t turn right when you see a sign for “The Plunge.” The sign is next to the gas station. We did that and got all turned around. Turn left for tubing. It’s probably obvious, but we were kind of bumbling.
Have you been to Wintergreen or taken your kids tubing? I’d love to hear your feedback or get some tips from you in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: My family received complimentary snow tubing and Ridgely’s Fun Park passes. However, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.