Monday, 18 March 2013

Tubing with Kids at Lake Louise: Spin Yourself Silly at the New Lake Louise Tube Park (with video)

There's something very basic about sliding and spinning down a hill on an inflated rubber tube. It taps into the fun center of your brain regardless of your age. No skill is necessary, the required gear is minimal and anyone with a sense of adventure can do it.

We'd been to the tube park at the Norquay ski hill in Banff and had a blast, so when my 8- and 13-year-old boys had a day off school last week we decided to give the tube park at the Lake Louise ski hill a try.
Walking up was faster than taking the magic carpet
A much larger resort than Norquay, the boys were immediately impressed by Lake Louise's relatively sprawling lodge. The last time I was at Louise I parked at the ski out and snowshoed through the resort to Boulder Pass behind it. Before that, I'd skied the same trail to the historic Skoki Lodge, a backcountry destination that dates back to the 1931. But I haven't been skiing there for years. So I was probably just as impressed by the newer, much larger log complex that now serves as the main lodge. The boys and I all agree that our next ski trip should be to Louise.

After a bit of exploring, we found the ticket office, bought our passes and were off. Upon getting our tubes from the attendant at the base of the tube runs, the first thing we noticed was that the tube run was shorter and not quite as steep as Norquay's. This was confirmed on the run down, which was somewhat slower than what we'd experienced at Norquay. But what the Louise tube park lacked in speed it more than made up for with the noticeable absence of lines. For the first hour we were the only people on tubes. Determined to pack in as many runs as possible, 8-year-old Michael quickly figured out that it was faster to walk up the hill than to take the magic carpet.

What the hill lacked in speed was also made up for by the spins. At Norquay, the attendants only let us go down in ones and twos. At Louise, we went down in chains of three, experimenting with new combinations to see which produced the best spin. By the time the next group of tubers joined us, we'd settled on Michael (the lightest) on one end, me (the heaviest) on the other, and Mack in the middle. This was definitely the optimum configuration, sending us down the track in wide, swooping arcs that bounced us off the sides and accelerated when I was on the outside of the spin.

How many runs we tubed I have no idea, but by the time we left I'd gotten my exercise for the day. Pulling a tube up a hill over and over again is a great workout. I also filled my spin quota. You know you're getting old when the even the thought of one more twirling run makes you queasy. But for the boys, the extreme spinning was at least as good as the higher speeds at Norquay. Walking back to the lodge at the end of the day, Michael announced, "I'll probably get a job here when I'm older. It looks like those guys were having a lot fun spinning us."

For more information on tubing in Banff, check out this post:

Tubing with Kids at Mt. Norquay: You don't have to ski to have fun at this ski hill

Two satisfied tubers

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