Tubing is much more than a kid's precursor to skiing. For a start, you're already in a seated position – as opposed to falling over into one – and while the speeds can get pretty high, tubers of all ages are smiling when they reach the bottom of the hill.
Check out the tubing at Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah – a fun way to spend an afternoon this winter. There are different runs for different thrills, and the two-hour sessions are just the right amount of time.
There is little to learn in the way of finesse: sit in the tube, start sliding, hold on tight. There is no way to steer, which of course is part of the fun!
• Young children will get tired, wet and, depending on the weather, cold very quickly. Luckily, the facilities are excellent, and there is time between runs to go and get a hot chocolate or use the bathrooms and still have plenty of time for tubing.
• There is minimal waiting time thanks to the ropes that drag you and your tube back to the top of the hill once you get to the bottom.
• There are snacks available, but many people bring their own food. Don't be surprised to see people celebrating birthday parties and large groups eating in between runs.
• There is every chance you will catch some air if you hit a bump, and you could well end up spinning backward. Younger kids might not appreciate that É at first, at least.
• While the attendants do a good job making sure people are safe getting in and out of the lanes at the end of the run, if you are in the middle lanes you are going to be crossing in front of people who are coming down fast. Look out!
• Campgaw Mountain is at 200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah.
• Rates are for unlimited runs and tubing rental: Monday through Thursday/non-holiday $16; Friday/non-holiday $18; weekend/holiday $22. No riders under 42 inches tall are permitted.
• Online reservations are strongly recommended, and tubers are advised to download the tubing release form from the Campgaw website (www.skicampgaw.com) to expedite the process.
• Only 140 tickets are sold for each session, and they sell out quickly. Large groups can take up a lot of the allocation on certain days. On Wednesdays, tickets go on sale for Friday, Saturday and Sunday tubing sessions. On Saturdays, tickets go on sale for Monday–Thursday tubing sessions. Weekend/holiday rates apply: Jan. 16, for MLK Day; Feb. 20-24 for President's week.
Want to try another tubing track? Head to Mountain Creek in Sussex County, at 200 Route 94, Vernon. The new DropZone Tube Park opens this winter.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Same-day reservations are not accepted over the phone. To place reservations or check operating hours, call (973) 827-2000.
Open 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, $16 per person, per hour; 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. weekends and holidays (including Jan. 14-16 and Feb. 18-26), $20 per person, per hour.
Family tubing on select Fridays, 5-8 p.m.; $49 per hour. A maximum of six people per family. Call for more information.
Tubers must be BOTH at least 42 inches tall AND 5 years old. No lap riding permitted.
A downloadable waiver can be printed at: www.mountaincreek.com/tickets/snowtubing-tickets