Tubing and tubbing

If you associate inner tubes with drifting leisurely down a river on a hot August afternoon, then Wintergreen’s got some news for you. Nicknamed “the scream machine,” The Plunge mega tubing park is the newest way for thrill seekers to get their winter fix. Thanks to colder than average temperatures, a new automated snowmaking system, and recent snowfall, The Plunge– as well as several of the more popular ski and snowboarding slopes– is already open for business.   
Here’s how it works. You sit yourself down in a comfy inner tube, push off, grab hold of the handles, and prepare to scream as you plunge down a cascading 8-lane, 900-foot hill with a 100 foot– that’s one-hundred-feet – vertical drop. As soon as this wild ride is over, you’ll no doubt be ready for another go. So just make your way to the conveyer belt/lift, which will take you and your tube (with you, of course, sitting in it) back up to the Lookout, a brand new (or almost finished) take-out, eat-in restaurant with a wrap-around deck which is the starting point for all tubing adventures.
Those of you who prefer a more mellow ride can opt for The Slide. Designed to provide a gentler downhill experience, this brand new tubing park (which should open this week) is a scaled-down version of The Plunge and is perfect for very small children (under 42 inches) and less adventuresome adults. 
Wintergreen’s Director of Communications, Frankee Love, says that tubing is just the latest example of the all-season resort’s “continuing effort to broaden the resort’s appeal and offer something for the entire family.” If skiing, snowboarding, and tubing don’t pump you with enough adrenaline, how ‘bout rock climbing or a 30-foot bounce on a bungy-trampoline? All ways to stay warm while enjoying the great outdoors. 
Had enough of winter? If your fingers and toes go numb after hours of fun in the snow, there’s an alternative to getting back into the car and blasting the heat. Open to day-tripppers for a mere $12, Wintergreen’s Wintergarden is a spa/fitness center complete with a glass-ceiling heated indoor pool, outdoor hot tubs with mountain views, saunas, steam rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, massage, and... need I go on? It’s enough to make a girl forsake the cool thrills of winter for the feel-good warmth and relaxation of a summer holiday. At least for a day. 

Wintergreen Resort is a four-season destination 35 minutes from Charlottesville. The Plunge and The Slide tubing parks are open from 10am-6pm every day of the week. Tickets for two-hour sessions cost $15 midweek and $17 weekends and may be purchased at The Lookout restaurant. Children under age six/42 inches must be accompanied by an adult. The Wintergarden Spa and Fitness Center is open seven days a week and costs $12 for adults, $9 for children (free for under five). For more information, check the web site www.wintergreenresort.com or call 325-2100.

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