Looking for an exciting family adventure?
Utah's Heber Valley is home to a long list of fun winter activities for families, but snow tubing at Soldier Hollow was one of our favorites. This was my family's first experience on a commercial tubing hill, and it was even more fun than I expected.
Soldier Hollow was an Olympic venue when the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City in 2002, which ups the “cool” factor of this activity even more. It was home to the cross-country skiing and biathlon events. Soldier Hollow is a year-round destination, where you can enjoy cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and golf, in addition to winter snow tubing.
Here are our tips for a fantastic day at Soldier Hollow.
Before you go
Reservations are strongly recommended for Soldier Hollow's tubing hill. Soldier Hollow limits the number of people on the hill – which makes it more fun for everyone – and the 2-hour sessions regularly sell out. You can purchase tickets at www.soldierhollow.com/tubing.
It's a good idea to complete the liability release forms before you arrive, so you can start tubing as quickly as possible. Snow tubing is relatively safe, but the speeds can be thrilling and accidents can happen.
On our first ride down the hill, I let my 7-year-old son go ahead of me and then I started down the same lane when he reached the bottom. My tube went a lot faster than his, and he was slow to get out of the lane, so my tube hit his tube hard enough to knock off his boot and send me flying. Neither of us was hurt, but we were careful not to let it happen again. It was scary.
Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sunscreen. Winter coats, gloves, boots, hats and snow goggles or sunglasses are a must for everyone. Snow pants and warm wicking layers are also a good idea, though my husband was fine in jeans on the warm day we were there.
Helmets are not provided, so if you own ski helmets, it's a good idea to bring them for warmth and safety – especially if it's cold and the packed snow is frozen. We did not bring water bottles, but wished we had because we felt pretty parched when we were done.
On the hill
The restrooms are a bit of a walk from the hill, so have everyone go before you begin. Other than that, just grab a tube and have a great time!
Soldier Hollow has the longest commercial tubing lanes in Utah. They don't look very steep from the bottom, but I found them pretty intimidating from the top. I have no “need for speed,” and I was terrified on my first couple of runs. Once I got used to it, I loved it! My husband and I even outlasted our kids by a ride.
My husband and 10-year-old daughter had none of my anxiety. They cheered through run after run, while my son and I took things a little more slowly. This is an activity that is truly fun for everyone in the family, and where adults can act and feel like kids.
You can slide down the hill solo, or your group can hold each others' tubes and ride down together. We found that group rides were the most fun, and went in groups of 2 or more every time after the first couple of rides. My skinny 7-year-old had a hard time getting enough momentum to get down the hill on his own, so going as a group helped him have more fun.
Soldier Hollow makes its own snow for the tubing hill and cross country ski trails, but when Utah winters are unusually warm, the hill may open late or close early in the season.
Our day at Soldier Hollow was a warm one, and you can see in the photos that there was no snow anywhere except the tubing hill. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time! Sledding without a coat and gloves was a novelty for me, and since I'm a coward, I liked that the warmer temperatures made the snow soft and slowed my tube down a bit.
Varying weather conditions mean that the Soldier Hollow snow tubing experience could be different every time you go.
Good to Know
Where: Soldier Hollow Cross Country Skiing Resort, just outside of Midway, Utah.
When: Open daily, mid-December through mid-March, weather permitting. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- $20-24 for adults, with discounts for teens and children
- Weekdays are less expensive than weekends.
- Children under age 3 are not allowed on the hill
- Discount passes may be available on Groupon or other deals sites.
- Group discounts are available.
How Long: Your pass is good for two hours. That was plenty of time for us.
Amenities: Tubes included. Snow boot rental available. Restrooms and a restaurant on-site.