Boogie down at Disco Tubing

Courtesy Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

The word disco makes us think of bell bottoms, platform shoes, colorful lights and catchy dance music. We don’t usually associate it with snow tubing, but Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has put them together to create a funky, yet thrilling, experience.

The concept is simple: sliding on an inflatable tube down a groomed mountain slope decorated with bright lights while listening to disco music. The disco music is played by a DJ and complemented by a laser light show projected on the mountainside. Sounds like a groovy idea to me.

You don’t need bell bottoms or platform shoes to enjoy the scene at Disco Tubing.

Fans of just about any snow activity, Disco Tubing sparked my family’s interest. On one recent Sunday, me, my husband, Luke, and my son, Anikin, took a drive to beautiful Squaw Valley to check it out.

Anikin Allen enjoys the tubing at Squaw Valley. | Luke Allen

Steady snowfall and brisk temperatures greet us as we arrive. We head into the SnoVentures Activity Zone located next to the Far East chairlift on the east side of the parking lot. We pick up our tickets from the registration desk and step out the door to the tubing hill.

A short walk brings us to a large, groomed hill draped in LED lights. The sounds of iconic disco music fill the air. We meet the supervisor, Michael, and Luke asks if Anikin can ride with one of us and Michael says no; only one person allowed per tube. Anikin is fine with it and grabs a small inflatable tube from the stack as Luke and I grab larger ones.

To get to the top, we load a covered conveyor lift called a magic carpet. Illuminated on the inside by color changing lights. the tunnel over the magic carpet provides a nice reprieve from the stormy weather.

At the top, we choose one of the three lanes and wait for our turn. I find myself dancing to the beats of the music as we wait. Soon it’s Luke’s turn. He sits down in his tube and the operator grabs the strap and slings him down the hill. His tube is low on air, which keeps him from making it all the way to the bottom. He quickly hops up and moves out the way.

Next, it’s Anikin’s turn. He plops down on his tube and the operator asks if he wants to go straight, get a little spin or a big spin. He chooses straight and the operator whips him down the hill.

He accelerates pretty fast and makes it further than Luke did. Smiling, he jumps up and runs to the side to wait for me.

Then it’s my turn. I tell the operator I want to go straight and before I know it, I am speeding down the hill. Spinning a little as I drop, I enjoy the feeling of having no control. Protected by large snow banks on either side of the tubing lane, this is a low-risk activity suitable for almost anyone 40 inches or taller.

I meet Luke and Anikin at the elevated fire pit at the bottom of the hill, Luke grabs a more inflated tube and we head back up to take another run.

We keep taking laps, making the most of the hour time limit. Luke is much happier with the more inflated tube, making it much farther down the hill. We test out each of the lanes and ultimately decide the middle lane is the fastest.

On one of our laps, I take a look out over the valley and notice the storm clouds are starting to break apart. Small glimpses of the crystal-clear night sky peek through, giving me pause and appreciation for the moment.

At the end of each lap, we stop at the fire pit, lingering longer each time. By the end of the hour, we start to get cold and hungry. We say goodbye to Michael and his staff and thank them.

As we walk back to our truck, the moon is starting to show through the diminishing clouds. I take a final look back at the tubing hill and I marvel at the juxtaposition between the spectacular laser lights shining on the trees and the the light of the moon.

You don’t need bell bottoms or platform shoes to enjoy the scene at Disco Tubing. But you will need warm clothes and a strong desire to go fast and boogie down. Can you dig it? | squawalpine.com