Tubing fun at Tahoe Donner Snowplay

Anikin Allen is always up for playing in the snow. | Michelle Allen

Playing in the snow is fun for everyone in the family, but many families with young kids seek a safe place to play. The gentle slope and well-maintained terrain at Tahoe Donner Snowplay in Truckee is designed for safe, carefree family fun.

From a young age, my son Anikin has loved to play in the snow. Often this means he is rolling around, making snow angels or burying himself in the snow like it is beach sand. Naturally, he is up for going anywhere he can go sledding or tubing and he was eager to go to Tahoe Donner Snowplay.

Anikin chooses straight and the attendant gives him a good push and down the hill he goes. He disappears out of sight as the tube follows a sharp right-hand turn.

On a warm, sunny day, Anikin, my husband Luke and I visit Tahoe Donner Snowplay. We park a few steps from the Snowplay entrance. The sweet smell of doughnuts coming from Ta-Hot Hot Donuts food truck parked onsite greet us as we walk over to get tickets. Our friends Laurie and Kayl Climenhage join us soon after we arrive and once we enter, the boys head directly to the tubing lane.

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The attendant instructs them to grab a tube and slide it over to the top of the tubing area. Anikin sits down and the attendant asks if he wants to go straight or spin. Anikin chooses straight and the attendant gives him a good push and down the hill he goes. He disappears out of sight as the tube follows a sharp right-hand turn. Kayl is next and Laurie and I decide to try it out.

When it is my turn, I hop on and I tell the attendant I want to go straight, and he sends me on my way. The walls of the tubing lane are high on both sides to keep the tubes in the lane and from traveling outside the course. There are a few fun twists and turns as the tube zips downhill before the lane ends and the tube comes to a gentle stop. I grab the tube and walk the short distance back to the top. I take another slide.

Tahoe Donner Snowplay is a fun, safe place to play for the whole family. | Michelle Allen

Eventually, the boys take a break from tubing and head to the open snowfield to the left of the tubing lane — a perfect spot for silly, carefree snow play. Kayl has a snowball fight with some other kids and Anikin and Luke build a mini snowman, which Anikin smashes as soon as it is done. There are several families playing, as well, and everyone has big smiles and seem to be having a great time.

We spend the last hour in the sledding area to the right of the tubing lane. Anikin grabs one of the provided sledding toys and asks Luke to push him down the hill. Anikin slides to the bottom and then finds the steepest part of the slope and lines himself up at the top telling Luke to give him a bigger push this time. Lap after lap, Anikin tries to go faster and longer down the hill. After several hours of playing in the sun and snow, we end our day with a dozen delicious, fresh baked doughnuts.

Tahoe Donner Snowplay is open on Fridays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will also be open from Feb. 17 to 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | (530) 587-9437, tahoedonner.com