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Seven Springs 
Expands Snow Tubing Park

So you donít ski or snowboard, but youíve got to find a way to get into the snow this year in order to battle the winter doldrums. Not to mention that waist line bulge. The kids clamor for you to take them sledding, and you know you should, but the prospect of trudging minutes up that long hill for

such a short exhilarating downhill run, only to trudge again, sends you scurrying for the oxygen mask, while your smiling wide-eyed brood screams, "Again! Again!" Oh, whatís a parent to do? In a word, hereís your saving grace: snow tubing.

Snow tubing is the sledding of the 90ís. This year, Seven Springs has a thrill for you, your spouse, the kids, friends, neighbors and anyone who can master sitting in a rubber tube: zipping you down the resortís newly expanded 700-foot run. Before you go gasping for air, hereís the good part: no more hill climbing. Instead, snow tubers also get to ride up the hill via a handle bar-type lift that takes you to the top of this new hill of thrills.

"Snow tubing has been around for about 10 years in Canada," explains Chris Marso, the man in charge of adding 300 feet to the snow tubing park at the Champion, Pa., resort. "In fact, one ski area in Quebec converted all its hills into tubing chutesóitís become that popular."

Marso notes the new Seven Springs snow tubing park will have four chutes for the single-rider tubes. Thatís not to say you have to tube alone. "We can send groups of single tubes down the chute. Tubers hold hands to stay together, and that way they can scream their heads off, laugh and have a ball looking at each other going down the chutes. Thatís what weíre providingóa feeling, a thrill."

The thrills will come in two hour tubing sessions, limited as such to control demand and traffic so tubers can get the most out of their sessions. Veteran tubers by now know the language, including head wall, whoopdeedoo and the runoff.

The head wall is akin to the first dip in a roller coaster, and in Seven Springsí case, the head wall at the top of the run has been elevated 35 feet at a 40-degree angle. Run down the head wall, gain speed and the tuber is ready for the whoopdeedoo (similar to a large speed bump). Marso says with a devilish grin, "If we can get you airborne over the whoopdeedoo, even for just a few inches, itíll add to the excitement and produce a few more thrills." After that, itís all downhill until the chute levels then runs uphill to the 200-foot runoff plane where the ride ends.

At this point, tubers must take responsibility for getting up and off to the side to make way for trailing tubers heading into the runoff. Then, itís back to the lift for another run. "Weíll have a traffic director in the runoff area encouraging people to keep moving as they get up and head for the lift to do it again," Marso explains. "Unlike skiers, who are kind of quiet as they make their runs, tubers like to make some noise."

After serving some 20,000 tubers in its debut at Seven Springs last year, Marso expects the number of tubers to grow during the Ď97-Ď98 season. "Having fun is what Seven Springs is all about," he says, "and snow tubing is great fun for everyone."

The tubing park is open to children ages 10 and older without adult supervision. Children four through nine must snow tube with an adult. Marso adds that plans are in the works for a kids tubing and play area next to the main chutes.


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