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Let's Go Tubing!

Tubing is a great Spring activity when there is often insufficient snow in the city for regular sledding. There are four different tube parks to visit between Calgary and Lake Louise, all located at family-friendly ski resorts. Each one is fun in a unique way with slight differences or advantages, depending on your family’s desired thrill factor!

What to expect at a tube park

Tubing is a fun, safe activity for the whole family and is relatively gentle on the body. Unlike regular sledding, you won’t have to worry about hitting a tree or launching over a bump and injuring yourself.

Resorts test their parks regularly to make sure the tubing lanes are safe and that you won’t slide beyond safety measures put in place at the bottom of each lane. The walls between each lane are also high enough to ensure you have a smooth ride down without crashing into anyone.

Another great thing about tubing is you don’t have to climb back up at the end of each ride. There’s always a conveyor belt lift called a Magic Carpet to get you (and your tube) to the top of the hill.

Required clothing for tubing

Wear warm winter clothing: ski pants and a warm coat, winter boots, waterproof mittens or gloves, and a hat or toque. You’ll also want something to cover your face if it’s cold and ski goggles are often recommended, if you have them.

A helmet is required for children at all resorts and is recommended for adults, as well. It’s best to bring ski helmets with you or you can usually rent them at the resort, if you don’t have your own.

Basic rules and guidelines

1. Ski boots are not permitted in tube parks, so make sure you bring normal winter boots, if you are planning a combo ski/tubing day.
2. All participants have to ride in their own tube (including young children). You can usually slide down together with friends or family members by holding on to each other’s tube.
3. Children under 12 must be under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian at all times.
4. Tubing is not recommended for pregnant women or for people with neck or back conditions. Other red flags could include a recent surgery, high blood pressure, or problems with vertigo/dizziness. Overall, if you are healthy and can handle light jarring to your body, tubing is a lot of fun for the whole family.
5. Every tube park has individual height and age restrictions so check this information before visiting a resort.

Four tube parks located within easy driving distance from Calgary

1. 
WinSport Tube Park at Canada Olympic Park, Calgary.

Height and age requirements - The minimum height requirement is 36 inches tall. Children between 36 and 42 inches may slide with an accompanying adult holding on to the child’s tube during descent. Children over 42 inches tall may slide on their own.

Hours of operation - The tube park is open on Fridays from 4 to 7:30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm. The tube park is scheduled to stay open until the end of March 2020.

Cost - Tube park tickets are offered in three-hour blocks and can be purchased as single tickets, family tickets, or group bookings (40+ people and pre-booked). A single ticket ranges in price from $17.99 (Friday nights) to $19.99 (weekends). Family packages are $85.98 (for two adults and two children).

Note: Pricing is more expensive during holiday times for all tickets, which includes the period from March 19 to 29, 2020.

What makes this tube park unique from the others?

The WinSport Tube Park is one of the fastest of its kind in Western Canada! It’s also one of the largest with over 10 sliding lanes. The park also has washrooms and a food truck on-site, so you don’t have to go all the way back down to the day lodge for a hot chocolate or snack.

2. Wanidu Tube Park at Nakiska Ski Area, Kananaskis.

Height and age requirements - Children must be 42 inches tall or at least three years old with an adult (riding in their own tube).

Hours of operation - The tube park is open on weekends from 10:30am to 4pm. Nakiska is scheduled to stay open until April 19, 2020, but tube park hours could be affected in April, if there is insufficient snow at the base.

Cost - $29.95 for adults, $25.95 for youth (13 to 17) and seniors, $22.95 for children (five to 12), and free for children under five with a paying adult. Tube park passes are valid for a two-hour period from your first scan. There are also group prices (minimum of 15 people).

What makes this tube park unique from the others?

If you have already purchased a ski lift ticket or you have a season’s pass, you can purchase a tube park ticket for an additional $15 for adults, seniors, and youth or an additional $5 for children.

This is an excellent tube park for young children and ‘tube park newbies.’ There are only three lanes (and they aren’t very long), so it’s a good beginner experience. (I’d bring my three-year-old child here before taking them to a larger park, like WinSport.)

I also like that the tube park is located right beside the beginner ski area and it’s free to ski (with a special beginner pass from the day lodge). Tubing would make for a great add-on with young children who tire of skiing after an hour or two (and could be a good treat or reward for good effort on the bunny hill).

Other activities to enjoy in the area (aside from the obvious downhill skiing) - There is a normal sledding hill and a small skating pond at Kananaskis Village (assuming it stays cold enough for snow and ice to be in good condition). My family also enjoys walking around the resort on the Village Rim Pathway or going inside the Pomeroy Lodge for drinks and snacks at the café.

3. Mt Norquay Tube Park, Banff.

Height and age requirements - Children must be 42 inches tall and four+ years old to use the tube park, which is a higher age and height requirement than the other three resorts.

Hours of operation - The tube park is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm. It is also open Friday and Saturday nights from 5 to 9pm. The resort is open through Easter, but you’ll want to verify the park is still open in April before making the drive out.

Cost - $37 for adults, $32 for youth (13 to 17) and seniors, and $26 for children (four to 12). Children under four can’t use the tube park. Tube park passes are valid for the day.

You can also purchase a family pass for $112 (for two adults and two children) with additional children added on for $25. $28 for additional youth.

There is also a $10 discount if you visit the park for the last hour of opening.

What makes this tube park unique from the others?

Visitors can add a sightseeing ride on the North American Chair on to their tubing pass for a small additional cost. At the top, you’ll find the Cliffhouse Bistro (additional charges apply if ordering food or drinks).

Tubing + Sightseeing packages are $59 per adult, $49 for youth and seniors, and $39 for children. A family combo package is $176.

The park also has a small sliding area and a kids’ play area for younger family members who can’t participate in tubing.

This tube park has the longest sliding lanes in Alberta and is a great 'intermediate/advanced' park after you've tried some of the more 'mellow' ones such as Lake Louise or Nakiska. Head to Mt Norquay when you're ready for some serious speed and a decent thrill!

Other activities to enjoy in the Banff area - You’ll be conveniently located near the town of Banff if you want to add on a visit to the hot springs, a ride up the Banff Gondola, or a walk on one of the town trails. The gondola is also free to ride down if you hike up in the Spring months.

4. Sunny Tube Park, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff.

Height and age requirements - Children must be at least three years old to ride in the tube park.

Hours of operation - This park is open daily from 10am to 4pm until May 3, 2020 (when there definitely won’t be snow for sliding anywhere else).

Cost - $31 for adults, $26 for youth (13 to 17) and seniors, $20 for children (six to 12), and free for children ages three to five. Tube park passes are valid for the day.

A family pass for up to four people is $87 ($15 add-on price for additional children).

What makes this tube park unique from the others?

This is definitely a tube park for skiers and snowboarders looking to add a little bit of extra fun to their resort day. Purchase a lift ticket for the day and you can add tubing on for an additional $10 ($5 for children).

Season pass holders get free tubing and Lake Louise Plus Card holders pay only $5 for a tubing day pass. There are other discounts available for Costco tickets and SkiBig3 passes.

This is not really a ‘stand-alone’ park where you’d drive to Lake Louise just for the small tube park. It is, however, an excellent park for young children and for families already in the Lake Louise area. There are only two lanes (and they aren’t very long), so it’s a good beginner experience.

Other activities to enjoy in the Lake Louise area - I highly recommend a guided snowshoe tour while at the resort, if you are not a skier. You can also purchase a sightseeing gondola/tubing combo package, if you want to get up the mountain for some awesome views but don’t want to go skiing or snowshoeing.

Over at the lake, you can enjoy skating on the rink in front of the Château and if you bring sleds, there’s a fun sliding hill beside the hotel, as well. Day trips to Lake Louise are a lot of fun over Spring Break when there’s often not much snow remaining in Calgary.

Happy sliding and playing!

Tanya is a freelance writer and mom to a spunky boy. She loves hiking, camping, skiing, and all things mountain-related. She is the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, rockiesfamilyadventures.com.

 

 

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