Sunday, December 29, 2013

Canaan’s Magic Carpet

Last winter, Canaan Valley State Park opened a new snow tubing park near their ski slopes. I’m not a skier, thus I haven’t frequented Canaan Valley or any of our ski resorts during the winter, but I thought it would be fun to try snow tubing at one of our prettiest state parks. This new snow tubing park is located on a hill on the left side of the entrance road between where you turn off Route 32 and the ski lodge. They built a small lodge there, complete with a nice fireplace. You stop in there first to pay for your two hour session, and then head out where you are provided with an innertube.

Perhaps the best part of this new attraction is the “magic carpet” conveyor belt to transport you to the top of their hill. At the top, besides the beautiful view of the valley, they have about eight groomed parallel paths down the hill, about a quarter of a mile long, each with a small wall of snow to separate these lanes. You get on top of your tube and ride down the slope. Once you have come to a stop at the bottom, simply walk over to the conveyor belt for an effortless trip back to the top. The magic carpet ride makes tubing easy and convenient, and allows you to look around and enjoy the winter wonderland while being transported.

By the way, I didn’t invest in any special clothing—I just dressed in plenty of layers and then wore a waterproof rain suit on top to prevent getting wet from any melting snow. It may not look as good as those fancy snow suits or ski outfits, but it worked for me.

I fondly remember sledding down our neighbor’s steep hill during my childhood days. As I recall (perhaps exaggerated over time), their yard seemed like a 60 degree slope for the main part of the hill. Unless you bailed out, you then entered a rough former pasture field with small saplings and broom sage. If you had a really good run (as in not hitting anything), then you could make it to the forest where the deep brown leaves and lack of snow due to the tall trees would finally stop you. It was quite an exhilarating ride—followed by the long trudge back up the steep hill for the next run (there was no such thing as a “magic carpet” back in the old days!). We were probably lucky we never got injured given the speed and all the obstacles.

I had a great time snow tubing at Canaan, but I must admit it wasn’t quite the adrenaline rush I had expected (in other words, not a bit like hurtling down my neighbor’s hill). It is perfect for young families—and for keeping the state from getting sued—but I guess that even with my fifty-some-year-old body, I’d like to have a bit more of a challenge. Perhaps I need to try it again at night, since they have spotlights for tubing after dark. All in all, I still had a good time and I encourage others to give it a try.

Riding the magic carpet to the top.

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