“What am I thinking?” I ask myself as I climb onto a conveyor belt taking me to the top of Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park for an afternoon of snow tubing. I’m dragging an oversized inner tube on a rope behind me and like a dog who suspects his master is heading toward trouble, “Tubey” keeps tugging on his leash.” I can hear him say, “Don’t do it! You’ll break your neck.”
I hush the voice within and follow my son, his wife and two grans as we step from the belt to weave our way behind a throng of people heading to the top of the tubing run. We giggle over our odd assortment of borrowed ski wear. Megan and Jenna are as colorful as kaleidoscopes; my son wears hunting gear no deer would love and I have on two sets of long underwear, jeans, a burgundy coat, pink hoodie and purple gloves. My daughter in law is the only one who is stylin’ in her own ski gear.
When we reach the top, attendants direct us to five different lanes. I pause at Lane 3 and try to assess whether I’ve gotten the fast, faster or fastest lane. I’m hoping for the “gramma” run. No matter. Too late to retreat.
“Please hold my tube until I’m settled in,” I beg the attendant. “I’m afraid it will scoot down before I’m ready.”
“You’ll do just fine,” she drawls. “Hop in.”
Awkwardly, I plop down in the center and hoist my legs over the front rim. “Hold tight to the handles,” she instructs before giving me a push. Tubey and I zoom down the 400-foot ramp, go airborne, then bounce over dips in the icy man-made snow. He has a mind of his own and we do a 360 before coming to a stop at the bottom.
“That was awesome,” I call to my son. “I’m ready to go again.” When I stand, my backside smarts and I decide that the one warning the attendant omitted was “raise your bum if you don’t want a sore tailbone.” I make a mental note, but I’m obviously not the only one to come to the same conclusion. A small girl in the next lane wearing a silly hot pink ski cap with yellow yarn braids calls excitedly to her mother. “I didn’t even bump my bottom this time.”
We line up for a second tubing run. This time, Tubey cooperates. Six or seven trips later, our toes have turned to ice cubes in the 20-degree temperature, I can’t feel my fingers and I’m craving a cup of steaming hot coffee. But the kids have challenged us to a snowball fight. Who are we to back out?
We step ankle-deep into the Snow Zone where the man-made snow from Stone Mountain’s own lake looks and feels just like the white stuff I saw too much of when we lived in Rochester, NY. Small doses in the sunny South are way more fun!
Megan and Jenna go to work making ammunition, but despite the 20-degree temperature, the snow is too dry to form proper snowballs. They content themselves by throwing fists full of the cold, loose stuff at us, then lie down to make some serious snow angels. Buckets, snow brick forms and targets aplenty provide the tools for hours of fun. Little folks even have their own slide in a sheltered area.
When even the girls admit they’re cold, we head for the car. For the first time during the day, they look sad. “Can we come again before it closes in March, Papa?” Jenna asks. “Pu-lease!”
“There’s a good chance,” my son says, grinning. “I want a re-match on that snowball fight we didn’t get to have.”
- The fun on Snow Mountain continues until March 7.
- The Park monitors crowds carefully, so reserve your date and time slot online. (www.snowmountainpark.com).
- Dress in layers. Jeans and sneaker are fine if you bring dry clothing and shoes.
- Lockers are available for four quarters (not bills).
- Tubers must be 42 inches tall (and yes, they measure!)
- Tubing is great fun (and safe) for grammys and kids of all ages.