Some years are better than others for snowfall in Oregon; many are stoked at this winter’s forecast, which calls for decent conditions. Even if skiing and snowboarding aren’t accessible, however, sledding and tubing are guaranteed ways to have a blast in the snow. Here are a few of the sweetest spots:
Mt. Hood Skibowl — What makes sliding down the slopes in a giant tube even more thrilling? How about 600,000 LED lights, laser light shows and rocking music? “The World’s Only Cosmic Tubing™” is a newish offering at the Snow Tube and Adventure Park at Mt. Hood’s Skibowl East, bringing an adrenaline rush and party-like atmosphere to tubers of all ages. During the day, the more daring can try the Extreme Tube Hill when conditions allow, and little ones will enjoy the Kiddie Tube Hill as well as the indoor two-story Super Play Zone, Kids Tubing Carousel, Frosty’s Playland and mini z snowmobiles, open weekends and during the holidays.
Mt. Bachelor Snowblast Tubing Park — Grab your tickets soon because the ride here is epic — 800 feet of downhill slope — and tubing times sell out fast during weekends and the holiday break. Just outside of Bend, Bachelor is poised for an exciting season, with their new Cloudchaser lift opening in December, opening 635 acres of new terrain on the east side of the mountain. Tubing is an easy entry to the park activities; chances are, you’ll be back for more.
About an hour northwest of Mt. Bachelor, the 5-acre Autobahn Tubing Park at Hoodoo Ski Area — on the 5,700-foot summit of Santiam Pass — has been a family favorite since opening in 2004. Riders can catch a thrill on any of the six 800-foot long tracks which are built on a variety of terrain, making one smoother, speedier and more thrilling than the next. Tiny tots can zoom down the nearby Snow Bunny Sled Hill with their own sleds or a rental tube from the lodge.
The sno-parks east of Eugene, in the Willamette National Forest, are ripe for off-the-beaten-path adventure. One of the best is Salt Creek Sno-Park, on Highway 58, 21 miles east of Oakridge, with facilities to keep everyone comfortable for the day. There are restrooms, a plowed parking lot and a small maintained sledding hill. There’s so much raw, pristine beauty that it’s like being swallowed up by a Thomas Kinkade painting.
In Southern Oregon, Diamond Lake Resort, not far from Crater Lake, is a dreamy setting for family tubing fun (ages 3 and up) with a dedicated hill and up-hill tow that runs on weekends. Cosmic tubing is available on certain nights, with music, laser lights and even s’mores packages to keep warm. Be sure to check conditions and detailed directions (not relying on GPS) before heading out here and to any of the dozens of sno-parks throughout all of Oregon’s regions. Also carry water and other emergency supplies, prepare your vehicle and purchase a sno-park permit. The Oregon Department of Transportation sno-park guide has all pertinent info.