Last month I wrote about snow tubing in the lower Midwest, but this time I wanted to cover some of the best places to go snow tubing in the upper Midwest. Snow tubing has been a tradition since the early 1900s. We can thank the Norwegians for sharing their love for winter recreation with us back in the late 1800s and early 1900s as they migrated to the Midwest en masse. We flocked to areas like Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota to watch the daring young Nordmenn jump and slide down local snow-laden hills. As popularity took over and spread throughout the Midwest, tubing, sledding and skiing became much more than a spectator sport. Today there are hundreds of resorts and parks throughout the Midwest that dedicate their efforts to the winter months, attracting thousands of snow sports fans every year.
Now, I'm not Norwegian and I'm certainly not a huge fan of the cold, but give me an inner tube or some skis and I'm one happy camper. What I love about snow tubing in the upper Midwest is that anyone can do it. From pure beginner to avid tuber, from young'uns to the young-at-heart - the sport can be enjoyed by all. So bundle up and explore some of the best snow tubing the Midwest has to offer!
Locations for Snow tubing in the Upper Midwest
Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain
Located in Harbor Springs and Boyne Falls, Michigan
Boyne has two resorts that offer some of the best snow tubing in Michigan as well as a great place to experience a pure Michigan family vacation. Some resort packages include FREE tubing as well. Choose from two, 800' long lanes at Boyne Highlands or six, 750' long snow tubing lanes at Boyne Mountain. Tubes and tow-rope lift are provided. Minimum age requirement is 5. Rates range from $12-24 per person and are available in 1-hour, 2-hour or all-day passes.
Boyne Highlands Resort: http://www.boyne.com/BoyneHighlands/index.html
Boyne Mountain Resort: http://www.boyne.com/BoyneMountain/index.html
Timberlee Hills Snow Tubing
10484 S. Timberlee Drive in Traverse City, Michigan
No lessons and no separate rental fees required at Michigan's largest snow tubing hill. Just bundle up and they'll provide the single or tandem tube to enjoy. Easily hitch a ride back up to the top with a handled tow-rope. Need to warm up in-between? Their 2-hour pass comes with 1 hour of tubing, a break time for food or snacks, followed by another hour of tubing! Open Thursday-Sunday, prices range from $12-22 per person and are available as 1- or 2-hour passes.
Buck Hill Snow Tubing
15400 Buck Hill Rd. in Burnsville, Minnesota
Located just south of Minneapolis, Buck Hill offers a dozen chutes for snow tubing fun. Jump on a provided tube ride a lift to the top and choose your chute to slide your way to the bottom and do it all over again. Minimum age is 5 years old and riders must be at least 42" tall. Open Thursday and Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday. Prices range from $10 - $16 per person.
Wild Chutes Snow Tubing at Wild Mountain
37200 Wild Mountain Rd. inTaylors Falls, Minnesota
Wild Chutes Snow Tubing offers several lanes of snow sliding fun including a lane dedicated to double-wide chains. Ride their conveyor back up to the top and slide on down again. Price is $15 for a 2 hour pass with additional hours available at just $3. Do you have a winter Birthday? Head on over to Wild Chutes on your Birthday and enjoy FREE Snow Tubing. They also offer a $3 Military Discount for Military Personnel and their immediate family. Tubing is open Friday – Sunday and various holidays.
Sunburst Winter Sports Park
8355 Prospect Drive in Kewaskum, Wisconsin
You'll be laughing as you fly down one of Sunburst's 42 ft – 1000 ft long snow tubing chutes, each with a 10 story drop. You can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour! They offer a Magic Carpet lift back to the top and a separate parking area. Reasonably priced at just $15-16 per ticket, this family-friendly snow tubing destination is conveniently located just north of Milwaukee and is open for snow tubing Tuesday-Sunday as well as some Monday's for various winter holidays. Follow them on Twitter (@SunburstDeals) for last minute savings each week. There is no minimum age required, but they do recommend that kids be at least 42" tall.
Tube Town at Cascade Mountain
W10441 Cascade Mountain Rd. in Portage, Wisconsin
Tube town offers a number of 1000 ft long snow tubing chutes with a surface lift to bring you back up to the top. If you need a break, enjoy their brand new Tube Town Chalet (built in the summer of 2013). The Tube Town Chalet offers seating, food, bathroom, retail area and a nice fire pit with additional seating out on the patio. Ticket prices range from $10 to $22 depending on age and type of pass (5 hour or unlimited). Tube Town is open 7 days a week with daytime and/or nighttime hours.
Christie Mountain Tubing Park
W13755 County Rd. O in Bruce, Wisconsin
Enjoy 6 snow tubing chutes of varying difficulty from an easy glide to the bottom to a white knuckle cruise over bumps and jumps in the fast lane. Ride back up to the top in the provided lift to do it again. Tubes are available in adult and child sizes and prices range from $12 - $22 per per person depending on the length of the pass. Plus, if you bring a friend on Friday or Saturday night from 5-10pm they offer a buy-one-get-one offer.
More Snow-Sliding Adventures
Looking for something new to try? If speeding down an icy track sounds like fun, you need to try the sport of luge. While it's becoming more and more popular, there are a limited number of places that offer luge equipment and tracks to the public. Those with ice-covered courses are often MUCH faster than natural snow chutes so keep that in mind when selecting your destination.
Muskegon Winter Sports Complex in Muskegon, Michigan
The 850' Muskegon Luge Track was designed by an Olympian and is open to the public starting at a ¾ start position. Speed down the icy track Kunstbahn style (artificial track) at 30 mph and you might even pick up a tip or two from some of the local youth luge program athletes while you're there.
Lucy Hill Naturbahn Luge Track in Negaunee, Michigan
Experience the thrill of a Naturbahn (or natural) track and luge sled when you visit Lucy Hill. Instead of following a man-made, artificial track like the Olympians use, you wind your way down a natural, unrefrigerated, but still icy, hill. The Naturbahn luge sled is similar to an old-fashioned wooden sled with metal runners that you steer with your feet, hands and body.
There are many other places to go snow tubing in the upper Midwest and the ones I've covered here are just a select few.
For more locations check out: http://www.snowplaces.com/snowtubing
Do you have a favorite destination for snow tubing in the lower Midwest? I'd love to hear about it!
About the Author: J.M. Stickney is a powersports enthusiast working as the Digital Marketing Manager at GearUp2Go. She loves to ride her Suzuki GSX-R600 on the street or at the track. While not on her bike she spends a lot of time outdoors, writing, reading, running or spending time with her family.