North Carolina: Boone, Winter Family Vacations - Snow Tubing, Ice Skating, and Skiing Lessons.
The High Country area of North Carolina offers families many ways to enjoy time in the snow including tubing, sledding, skiing, boarding, and skating. Perhaps the best is snow tubing – family fun with no prior skills needed. Here's the scoop:
Boone located in a sleepy mountain valley nestled in North Carolina's High Country. While it has almost instant name recognition because of well-known American folktales about Daniel Boone, except for the Horn in the West summer outdoor play, Daniel Boone had little to do with Boone, NC. Undeterred by this information, we turned our focus to snow tubing which was one of our reasons for venturing into the mountains.
There are four ski areas Sugar Mountain, Hawksnest, Beech Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mountain within a twenty-minute drive of Boone making access to snow tubing as well as skiing, boarding, skating or sledding is easy. Our original plan was to find a cozy cabin in the woods but we learned that without a four-wheel drive vehicle, that our options were limited. Our fall back plan, stay in the Boone area. Our choice was Hawksnest Ski Area on Seven Devils Mountain. W
e knew that they provided exceptional tubing on the mountain and tubing was what we were planning to do.
Snow tubing the first time.
I know everyone has a first time experience and I seemed to be the only memeber of our family of four who had concerns (a mom thing, I think.). Once at the top of the run, surrounded by the sounds of happy children, I let go and what fun it turned out to be. There is truly no training is required - just hang on and shove off. Picture a large inner tube, like the ones often pulled behind a ski boats. Imagine the same soft round tube on lovely white snow; just flop down on it and zoom.
Hawksnest limits the number of participants on the runs during any given time frame and rope pull takes each tuber up to the top of the hill. This is a perfect way to introduce a young child to the fun in the snow. Ages three and older are allowed at Hawksnest with parental supervision. Bonus points:
In addition to tubing,
Hawksnest offers a free lesson on each Thursday in January and February so anyone renting skis or snowboards from Hawksnest gets a free beginner lesson. Ice skating made simple.
Tubing out of the way our next adventure was ice skating at Beech Mountain. The rink is at the base of the ski runs and is surrou
nded by bleachers on one side and shops on the other. It is the perfect place to play pretend. Pretend to be an Olympic skater or pretend to be a hockey athlete. Bonus points:
It was fun to ice skate while music is playing and there is a rink side place to get hot chocolate. Skiing lessons together.
Our original intent was to take ski lessons as a family and the plan was to learn together at Appalachian Mountain. A combination of weather and weariness made us all want to sleep late. And then, after our first high-energy day Élan (our youngest) came down with the cold and that was our signal to slow down. We returned to the rink and did a little more tubing but our getaway was off the plan. We still have the plan to experience skiing together it will have to be another time and in another place. Boone Convention & Visitors Bureau
208 Howard Street Boone, North Carolina 28607. (828) 262-3516, toll-free 1-800-852-9506 or ExploreBooneArea.com
Family Winter Vacation Planning Details Sugar Mountain Tubing.
Located on the Sugar Mountain Golf Course the 700-ft tubing run has its own lifts, snowmaking, machine, and night lighting. The tubing area is serviced by a Magic Carpet installed to transport riders smoothly to the top of the runs. Vacation tip:
Waivers are required for all children 11 and younger. To speed up time in line, download the waiver, fill it out and take it when buy ing the tickets. Sugar Mountain 100 Sugar Ski Drive Banner Elk, NC 28604. (828) 898-4521 or www.skisugar.com Hawksnest Tubing Area.
This is the largest snow tubing park in North Carolina with 20 lanes each 1000 feet long providing an unbelievable slide. Next to the runs is a moving sidewalk used to make the trip back to the top of the runs easier.
Located just off of Highway 105 South between Boone and Banner Elk, North Carolina. (828) 963-6561 or toll-free 1-800-822-4295 or www.hawksnestresort.com Beech Mountain Ice Skating.
Beech mountain features a 7000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink ideal for family fun. The rink is located in the middle of the Beech Tree Village. NC 105 to NC 184. Follow NC 184 to Ski Beech. Toll-free 1-800-438-2093, (828) 387-2011 or www.skibeech.com Appalachian Ski Mountain Ice Skating.
This outdoor skating arena has North Carolina’s only Zamboni maintained ice skating rink with a refrigerated ice base and light for skating at night everyday of the week. It is possible to rent both figure and hockey skates onsite. Bonus points:
The atmosphere is improved by the rink side bonfire. Appalachian Ski Mountain, 940 Ski Mountain Rd. Blowing Rock, NC 28605. (828) 295-7828 or www.appskimtn.com