We haven’t had a ton of snow yet this year, but now that it’s December, it’s time to start thinking about what to do for fun in the snow. Starting off with the slightly less aggressive snow-goers, this list is for the family. If you’re part of a family that has no or very few skiiers or snowboarders, these are the places to go!
- Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods isn’t the cheapest, but it’s far from being the most expensive. At $5/hour the tubing rates rank in the lower third of the list. On top of it’s great value, Bretton Woods offers tubing every day of the season during the day, and night tubing on weekend evenings. This mountain allows tandem and solo tubing on each run, and has some of the best-kept tubing snow in New Hampshire. That’s why it’s #1. For more info, visit Bretton Woods Tubing
Gunstock sells it’s tickets in 2-hour blocks. This mountain would have easily ranked #1 if not for Bretton Woods’ unbeatable pricing for the value. Gunstock’s pricing is at $18/2-hour block. There is no tandem riding, and there are small size “recommendations” that the mountain prefers to see. Gunstock also offers bulk packages for returning visitors and groups. For more info, visit Gunstock Tubing.
As a mountain, Cranmore has been ranked #3 in the East by Ski Magazine for it’s off-hill activities. Purely for tubing purposes, Cranmore falls to #3 on this list because of pricing. At $25/2-hour block this is the 2nd most expensive place to snow tube on this list. The tubing hill has some limited hours, mostly only open on weekends and school vacations. However, if you’re looking for a place that offers tubing AND other off-hill activities, Cranmore should be at the top of your list. More info at Cranmore Tubing.
- Great Glen Trails
Great Glen may be a surprising top-5 pick, even for me. But the pricing is what boosts this one from the bottom half. This place only charges $15 for a full day of access to their hill. Given their stance on fitness however, this hill requires walking up to slide back down. It is well-maintained, and cheap if you’re looking for something to do while in the North Country. More info at Great Glen Trails Tubing.
- Pat’s Peak
Located in Henniker, Pat’s Peak is the best option for the Southern NH locals, and the best of 2 tubing locations south of Concord. With average pricing ($16/2-hours, $18/4-hours), limited hours, and a fairly short set of tubing chutes, Pat’s Peak doesn’t quite have everything to offer that the top 4 bring. For the value, location, and quality of snow, Pat’s Peak rounds out the top 5. Info at Pat’s Peak Tubing.
- King Pine
King Pine offers 2-hour tickets only ($16/2-hours), and no guarantees for a spot on the hill if it’s full. The mountain does require release forms to be signed, and has limited hours. On the up-side, King Pine is running a Friday Night promo deal in 2012 knocking the price down to $10/2-hours. For more info visit King Pine Snow Tubing.
- McIntyre Ski Area
Located in the heart of Manchester, McIntyre tubing is priced as a luxury, which is a big reason it fell all the way to 7. McIntyre is priced at $19/2-hours with no guarantee for a spot on the hill if it’s busy. McIntyre has age and size restrictions. On the up-side the trails are well-groomed, the hill offers group deals, and the lines are typically short. For more info, visit McIntyre Tubing.
- Waterville Valley
Waterville has a very small tubing operation. At $10/hour this could be the worst value on the list. Tubing at Waterville opens at the very end of December, and has very limited hours. There are size restrictions as well. For limited info on Waterville Tubing, visit their mountain services website.
- Loon Mountain
Loon is the most expensive option on the list, and with little more to offer than the first 8. The quality of snow is the redeeming quality for the price. Loon is priced at $17/hour and has extremely limited hours. Strictly based on opinion, Loon should only be a tubing destination for those living in the surrounding communities. For info visit Loon Snow Tubing.
- Tenney Mountain
Tenney Mountain makes the list based on consumer reviews. Skiers and boarders seem to love this place as an escape from the crowded big hills of the North Country, and the same can be said for tubers. Located just west of Plymouth, this is another “local community only” tubing location. Pricing and restrictions for tubing in 2012 have not been made available.
Snow tubing is a great family alternative to boarding and skiing, so no one will have to miss out on the fun. Don’t limit yourself to these 10 locations, if you know a great hill that you won’t mind walking back up after sliding down, hit the hill with the family and have a great time!
image courtesy of cranmore.com