While some visitors to the Tahoe slopes envision themselves as the next Lindsey Vonn or Shaun White, many of us really just want to sit on our butts and fly down a mountain.
It's a good thing there are several great places to go tubing or sledding up in Lake Tahoe—and some of them are free. Here are a handful of our favorite spots.
The Northstar tubing hill is located mid-mountain near the express lift and contains a 200 yard long groomed tube slide that is J-shaped with three whoops. Tubers are taken by a tow lift to the top of the hill, so there's no hiking back up. The hill is open from noon to 4pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on weekends and holidays. The resort supplies the tubes and tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only. On weekdays, unlimited tubing is $40, and on weekends and holidays it costs $60. Plus, if you're not down to make the trek up the mountain, kids can tube in the village for $25. // For more info, go to tahoeactivities.com.
The Adventure Mountain sledding and tubing resort is located at the top of Echo Summit on Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe, and contains nearly 40 acres of groomed sledding and snow-play goodness. The resort has 15 machine-groomed sledding and tubing runs, and you can rent or purchase tubes or bring your own. The parking lot is close to the park and they also have a concession stand and a day-use lodge with a fireplace and great views of the mountains. They also offer a beginner snowboard hill, but there are no lifts to the tops of the runs. The vehicle entrance fee is $40-$50 on non-holidays and includes parking. // adventuremountaintahoe.com
Tahoe Donner on I-80 has a groomed sledding hill with two monitored tubing lanes and six unmonitored sledding lanes. If you're a Tahoe Donner member and have paid the annual rec fee, access to the tubing area is free. For the general public admission is $20-$25 and includes sledding and tubing equipment. This place rocks so much that they also offer an outdoor fire pit and hot cocoa—and on occasional weekends, food trucks by the Snowplay area. And if your butt gets sore, you can rent a pair of snowshoes and get trekking. // Advance reservations are required;tahoedonner.com
Mount Rose Meadows
One of the favorite local places to go tubing or sledding is on the death-defying hills around the Mount Rose Meadows at the top of the Mount Rose Highway (Highway 341). There are numerous hills near the highway where you can carve out your own run. The best ones are on the south side of the highway near the meadow's public restroom. The tubing and the parking is free, but make sure to get there before 10 am before the area fills up. This is a very popular place for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling as well. // alltrails.com
Heavenly Tubing Hill
If you want to tube at the top of the world, take the Heavenly Gondola to the Heavenly tubing hill. Their park has four lanes that are 500 feet long and have a 65-foot vertical drop. They are open every day from 11 am to 3 pm; $62 per person for the gondola ($39 for kids) and $41 for an hour of tubing. After a couple rounds of tubing, you can even enjoy more snowy fun—and some epic mountain views—with a ride on the gravity-powered alpine coaster for $30 (or $45 for all day access). // skiheavenly.com
*UPDATE: Tubing is closed at Heavenly for the 2021-22 season.