It’s not often I use exclamation points in my blog-post titles, but tubing at Keystone absolutely deserves one. This well-run, adrenaline-charged-yet-safe winter activity was a highlight of my family’s weekend stay in Keystone, a ski resort about 90 minutes from Denver in the Colorado mountains. Okay, so maybe just three of our four family members really embraced tubing — cautious ColoradoKid #2 took just one run (with trepidation) down the steep hill that’s at least 900 feet long. He announced it was “fun,” and then chose to warm up in the mountain-top yurt with our buddy Travel Savvy Mom and her son. But my husband, 9-year-old daughter and I took quite a few laps as the sun went down — despite the wet snow and chilly temperatures!
Keystone tubing costs $31 an hour (updated 2013 pricing) for as many runs as you can fit in (ColoradoKid #1 said she made eight). The fee includes the ride up the gondola from Keystone’s River Run Village to the top of Dercum Mountain. If you only want to watch the tubing, it still costs $26 (updated price) for the gondola “foot pass” to reach Adventure Point from the village. For skiers and snowboarders who just want to take a break from the slopes for an hour can absolutely take a few tube runs, but they’ll still pay the $31 (even though they have a lift ticket or pass — no price break for them). The tubing hill discourages pregnant women from tubing (understandable); there’s no age limit — you just have to be at least 42 inches tall.
Before you head out to the tubing hill for your designated hour (reservations are highly recommended), you get a brief safety talk inside the yurt. Then you head outside to choose your tube and decide which of six runs you’ll head down — some are for single riders, on others you can “link up” with friends — up to four tubes at a time. A friendly staffer tells you exactly how to sit and hang on, and he’ll ask if you want to be flung quickly or slowly, spinning or no-spin, down the hill. (Though they don’t always listen to the right person when you say “slow” and your husband says “fast.”)
It’s a roller-coaster-like ride down a wide chute — each lane has half walls so there’s no chance you’ll veer off into someone else’s space. The run is a straight shot and over a big bump toward the end, and the total ride down lasts no more than 20 seconds. You ride back up the hill with your tube on a covered conveyor belt. The people- and tube-mover is also staffed at the bottom and the top — perfectly safe.
Here’s a peek at the fun we had at Keystone’s tubing hill at Adventure Point — an adventure this Vacation Gal heartily recommends! Those disco tunes you hear in the background are not my music overlay; fun, upbeat music and a disco ball at the top of the mountain are the norm. Enjoy this two-minute clip!