Hot Tubing: Amesbury Sports Park offers extreme outdoor fun.
“We have had big, manly guys get up to the top of the hill, look down, and say, ‘No way!'” says Meredith Robinson of Amesbury Sports Park. “We always say, ‘Take one ride, and see what you think.’ They come back for more every time!”
Of course, they go down screaming all the way. Everyone does. After all, you’re flying down a steep, snowy hill on a rubber donut, at speeds up to 45 mph. It takes the length of an entire soccer field to slow down, and in case you don’t, there’s a 15-foot snow berm to keep you from sliding into the parking lot. “We call it ‘extreme snow tubing,'” Robinson says. It’s easy to see why.
Amesbury Sports Park is the largest snow-tubing hill in New England, and it definitely isn’t your childhood sledding hill. For one thing, they’ve got snow guns, so it doesn’t matter if Mother Nature forgets to supply the white stuff. For another, you don’t have to slog up the hill after you slide down; you and your tube ride up on a magic carpet-type lift. From there, you go down one of several lanes (there’s a maximum of 11) on two hills, and you can go down in groups if you like; the tubes have handles, so you can flop on your belly, hang on to your buddy, and careen down the hill together. “Two years ago, we broke our all-time record, with 45 people linked up together,” Robinson says. “That was pretty cool.”
Those record-breaking daredevils just so happened to be a group of adults. It’s surprisingly common to see grownups on the tubing hill, especially after dark. Some make it a date night, and then hit the on-site pub afterwards to warm up. They even offer monthly wine dinners, hosted by chef Kevin Jacques, formerly of Wentworth by the Sea Country Club.
By day, kids rule. Tubing is a fun family outing that doesn’t involve computer or TV screens. All you need are boots, gloves, a helmet (they’re provided for kids aged 4-6), and a sense of adventure. “Everybody can do it, and have a blast together,” Robinson says. “You’re going pretty fast, so it’s always a rush!” Open mid-December-mid-March (weather permitting); 12 South Hunt Rd.; 978-388-5788. Ages 4 and up. Three-hour pass, $24; amesburysportspark.net.