Snow Tubing the Appalachians

Published on January 30, 2015
Written by Ray Access

Sitting back in a big rubber inner tube, you push off gently onto a snow-covered slope, quickly attaining speed. The tube glides and careens down the hill as a fresh mist of powder envelops you, and a beautiful view unfolds before your eyes.

Snow tubing is rapidly gaining popularity as a great way for the whole family to have some wintry fun together. It can be exhilarating for all ages, and it doesn’t require much training or any expertise. But it’s not just for families; solo thrill seekers and couples who love other winter sports also enjoy snow tubing.

Many ski lodges and winter resorts are beginning to offer special accommodations for snow tubing. What you find depends on where you choose to go, so do your homework before you take off for the day. Here are some options in the Appalachian Mountains near you:

West Virginia Snow Tubing

Snowshoe Mountain is a massive winter resort in West Virginia located near the Washington, DC metro area. The resort’s Coca-Cola Tube Park is open every day starting on December 19, 2015. Winterplace Ski Resort offers the biggest snow tubing park in West Virginia, with 16 lanes and five ski lifts. It’s located in the southern part of the state, right off I-77.

Virginia Snow Tubing

Virginia’s very first snow tubing park, Massanutten Resort, houses the Family Adventure Park, which opened in 1998. The resort is located 10 minutes outside of Harrisonburg — two hours from Richmond, DC, and Roanoke. Nearby Wintergreen Resort boasts Virginia’s largest snow tubing park, known as “The Plunge.”

Tennessee Snow Tubing

In Tennessee, the most obvious place to snow tube is Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, located at the peak of Mt. Harrison in the Great Smoky Mountains. The resort has a brand new 10-lane snow tubing park, where activities such as racing and other competitions are encouraged. The resort is about an hour drive from Knoxville, and is right on the cusp of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Georgia Snow Tubing

A mere 10 miles outside of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is the primary place to snow tube in Georgia. Snow tubing here is built into the price of admission, making it a great place to try something new or round out a vacation full of winter fun.

North Carolina Snow Tubing

Wolf Ridge, off I-26 near Mars Hill, has a specialized Tube Run, which features a “magic carpet lift” and machinery that can generate extra snow. Tube World in Maggie Valley, part of the Chataloochee Ski Area, offers tubing for families and individuals. Tube World is only open from mid-December until March 1.

Happy Tubing

You can find snow tubing runs throughout the Southern Appalachians, but sometimes you have to make the trek to a neighboring state for the best opportunities. For example, many Kentuckians regularly cross the border into Indiana to go snow tubing, while Georgians and South Carolinians visit North Carolina for the same reason. Be sure to check out the website of the snow tubing park near you to determine the best place for you, since different features create different experiences. Happy tubing!