'Snake' and night runs add to inner tube thrills
Family snow play takes on a whole new meaning at Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain, where guests ride the Magic Carpet uphill lift and save their energy for thrill downhill inner tube rides. Traditional groomed runs for inner tubing are accompanied by the famous twisting, turning "Snake" that whips riders back and forth while they slide down. Plus after dark on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays the lights come on for tubing under the stars--faster, spookier and just as fun as its daytime counterpart. Powerful snowmaking ensures tubing from Thanksgiving (sometimes Halloween!) through Easter. 800 Wildrose Lane, Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-4626.
A different kind of Magic Carpet ride
Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain is a worldclass inner tubing experience, with the Plexiglass-encased Magic Carpet transporting families to the top of the mountain where they get all the snow play fun they can handle.
And there's always snow in winter at Alpine Slide, whether Mother Nature cooperates or not. Powderful Lenko snowmaking fan guns blanket the slopes with white stuff that's groomed to perfect corduroy, just like the ski areas do. As the season progresses snow is piled an incredible 30 feet high or more to ensure tubing through Easter and beyond.
Traditional downhill sliding joins with runs on the famous "Snake," a thrilling, twisting series of high-banked turns kind of like a boardcross track that whip sliders back and forth. It's a completely different experience from the usual straight shot downhill as sliders shoot to and fro in the snow.
Also unique are Alpine Slide’s night sessions, held Fridays, Saturdays and holiday periods from 5-9 p.m. First the snow is groomed after the day session to ensure it’s flat and smooth, then tubers begin sliding through the shadows under the lights on corduroy snow that gets faster as the evening progresses. Illuminated by lights and the stars above, night tubing has proven to be a favorite with families who have other activities during the day but still want to play in the snow. Night tubing is inexpensive too; just $15 buys four hours of winter fun.
The highlight of course is the Magic Carpet, a moving conveyor belt-like lift that takes families and their tubes back to the top of the mountain. No need to struggle through snow piles with kids in tow; just step on and step off and save your energy for having fun, not climbing. Magic Carpet is enclosed to keep falling snow off guests.
For a different type of ride head to the Alpine Slide bobsleds, which take riders for Olympic-size thrills as they navigate two quarter-mile cement tracks aboard sleds with ball-bearing wheels they control. Experience many of the same gravitational forces Olympic athletes do as you lean into each banked turn and go into a tuck for the long straightaways. Use the brake to go as fast or slow as you choose in an interactive experience much different from amusement park rides.
When it's chilly head inside the heated base lodge for hot coffee and cocoal plus family-priced snack bar. There's also video games and clean rest rooms too. Don't miss the Putt `N Around Go-Karts as Can Am racers with Honda motors and safety features like roll bars and professional restraint systems zip around tire-lined track with banked turns and straightaways. Then take a turn on the 18-hole miniature golf course with water hazards and "sand traps."
All-day passes at Big Bear Snow Play and Alpine Slide, which include tube rental and use of the Magic Carpet lifts, are just $25 and guests are free to come and go as they want. Alpine Slide is open daily for inner tubing during the winter season, usually November through April, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.