Lori WIlliams screams as she slides backward down one of the lanes at Homer's Extreme Tubing park earlier this month. A powered rope tow pulls participants back up the hill when the downhill ride is finished.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Skiing, snowmachining and dog mushing are all fun winter activities, but sometimes you’ve gotta do something different. Flying down an 800-foot hill in less than 10 seconds on an inflatable tire tube should fit the bill.
“It’ll take your breath away,” said Lori Williams of Kenai, who recently experienced Extreme Tubing, Homer’s first lift-operated tubing park, at Mile 3 on Ohlson Mountain Road
Williams said Extreme Tubing is a great way to combat cabin fever and it offers white-knuckle excitement for young and old alike.
“There’s not a lot you can do in winter, but this is fun and a whole bunch of people can enjoy it together. It’s not just for kids, either. There were a lot of adults there and we were having more fun than the kids,” she said.
There are four lanes of downhill tubing, as well as a groomed cross-country ski loop near the bottom of the hill for those faint of heart. Of the four lanes, lane four is said to be the quickest ride down.
“Lane four was really fast. I didn’t go down it because I’m a chicken. We were going easily 20 miles per hour down the other lanes. That was extreme enough,” Williams said.
The ride down covers about 800 feet of groomed snow.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
For those who find speeds of 20-25 miles per hour in lanes one through three too fast, there also are special skins that can be attached to the tubes to slow them down.
Williams said the overall tubing experience was exhilarating.
“It scared me the first time I went down, but it was so exciting too. You’re spinning out of control and bouncing over the edges and off the bumps. It’s wild,” she said.
As Williams’ comfort level increased, she said she also started to attempt more options.
“We started going down backwards and doing doubles where two people go down one lane at the same time, or we would race with each person in their own lane,” she said.
Williams said one of the best parts of the tubing experience is once tubers hit the bottom of the hill, they don’t have to hike back up. Instead tubers ride a lift back to the top.
“They tow you back up the hill so you can just jump on the tube and go down again. You can’t beat that,” she said.
Extreme Tubing costs $12 for adults for a two-hour session, $10 for children ages 6-13, and group rates are available.
“The price isn’t bad. You can go down several times in those two hours. I hope to go back again, at least one more time this winter,” she said.
Extreme Tubing is open on weekends from noon to 2 p.m. and from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Children must be taller than 42 inches to participate. Kids under 18 also must have a parent’s signature to ride. For more information, call (907) 235-5119 or visit the Internet site: www.extremetubing.com.
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