First of all, I have to tell you that I ruined Andy for snow sports long ago. When he was still a baby, I sent him down a very small slope at my parents house on a sled, he was “dumped” face first into the snow at the bottom of the hill and has been mad at me ever since. When I saw Lake Metroparks had an adapted snow tubing program this winter I signed him up, hoping he had finally forgotten that long ago lapse by his mother.
We headed down to Alpine Valley in northern Geauga County on a sunny, cold, crisp day in early January. We had never been there and I was amazed that this fun place was only 30 minutes from our house. They have ski and snowboard hills, a tubing hill and a lodge where they sell hot drinks and food. Now remember, this is Northern Ohio – we don’t have mountains we have hills. Granted, this is a BIG hill and looked like a great place to learn to ski or snowboard, as evidenced by the large number of children on the slopes.
It was a nice size group that assembled at the bottom of the tubing hill that day, lots of people Andy knew and Kelly, their leader for the day. She explained to them how it worked. Each participant grabbed their tube and got in line for the tow line. When Andy’s turn came his tube was hooked up and up the hill he went. Pretty soon, down the hill he came, flying and slammed into the inflated barrier at the bottom! That was the part that bothered him I think. He came off and said no more but we talked him into going up and down one more time, only this time he came down even faster and slammed into the barrier so hard he flipped off the tube. That was the end for him. He stated emphatically that he was not going again so we headed off to the lodge for some drinks and snacks. After a little while the rest of the group joined us in the lodge. I think everybody else had a very good time and at least Andy tried it, but I don’t think we will get him to go again.
We didn’t grow up where we could ski or snowboard and our sledding hills were small. We did a little skating on our pond but that was the extent of our winter sports activities. My brother, who lives in Colorado, snowboards but he took it up as an adult. Around here, kids are skiing and boarding almost as soon as they can walk. Alpine Valley is the perfect place for them and their families.
Enjoy this slide show of Alpine Valley. In the photo of the ski hill, note that there is a group clustered in the center of the photo mid slope. I took the photo because of the sun setting behind the ski shack but then an ambulance showed up and I realized someone on the hill was hurt. Two weeks later one of the lifts got stuck and 85 skiers had to be evacuated by the ski patrol. I’d say they are well prepared for anything there.