My son just turned 13 in January. When you live in Minnesota, it can be difficult to find party ideas that can be done in the winter. I decided to look into local outdoor winter activities, so the kids could be active and get energy out, and so I wouldn’t have to host at my house and try to keep a bunch of teens busy.
The Best Snow Tubing Hills In Minnesota
Buck Hill is located in Burnsville, MN and offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow-tubing. I decided that since not all kids can ski or snowboard, snow tubing might be the perfect activity! We kept the group small, just myself and four teens. We were advised that tubing is more enjoyable when it’s slightly colder, since the tubes go faster, so we made sure to go on a day that the snow wasn’t melting. I’d been skiing at Buck Hill many years ago, but had never been tubing there before and had promised my son that I would try it out with them. To be honest, I was slightly nervous. I’m not exactly in the best shape, so I wasn’t sure how it would go getting up the hill. The tubing area was fantastic. It was pretty much separate from the skiing and snowboarding area, and almost felt like its own little community. There was a nice bonfire with benches around it as well as a little concession stand that you could purchase hot chocolate or other small treats without heading all of the way over to the chalet or bar and grill. Getting up the hill was easy. I’m not sure what I was worried about! You sit on your tube, the attendant hooks you up to a pulley system, and you just ride up the hill! There are two separate tracks to go up, so we didn’t even have to wait in line. The ride up was quite leisurely, and you could even see the skiers on the other hills. At the top, you just hop off your tube and take your place in one of the tubing lanes.
Now, some tubing places require that you go down by yourself, on one tube alone. At Buck Hill, they allowed you to go down side-by-side holding onto other tubes, which the kids loved. The hill had a fun drop in the middle, with lanes to ensure that you don’t bump into the people next to you. There was 10 lanes, so there really wasn’t much waiting once we got up top. They had such an organized process that everything went really quickly and smoothly, and there was literally almost no standing around waiting, which is a definite plus.
The kids really appreciated the fire at the bottom of the hill. It allowed them to take a quick break and warm up a bit without having to walk away from the area and go inside one of the buildings. We did forget a neck warmer, so I walked over to the lift ticket purchase building where they sell all sorts of cold-weather gear. They had great quality items, and the prices were really reasonable. Then, after a few times down the hill and after taking several pictures, I decided to check out Tuckers Bar & Grill, which was much closer to the tubing hill than the main chalet. They were packed, but the servers were great and were able to make me up a small table, since I was going to be sitting alone. I hadn’t eaten, so the food was wonderful, and I had a great view of the ski hill as well as the students learning how to ski. Since I had eaten there, and since it was getting later and they weren’t as busy, they allowed the kids to eat their cupcakes in the restaurant. Had they been super busy still, the main chalet also offers a lot of seating and allows you to bring in your own food, just for occasions such as birthdays.
Overall, we had a wonderful day. I think we’ll be back to Buck Hill soon. Tubing is a great alternative for those kids that don’t know how to ski or snowboard. Tubing passes are sold for 2-hour time increments, which is the perfect amount of time for a great day on the tubes! It was lots of fun, a great opportunity to spend time outdoors when activities are limited in Minnesota, and was the perfect group activity. If you’re more of a skier or snowboarder, Buck Hill offers 16 different runs, from beginner, to expert, and even freestyle terrain. They offer group rates for both the ski and snowboard hill and tubing, catering and banquet facilities for your special event, a variety of ski or snowboard lessons for kids or adults, or even racing programs, for those who are more experienced.
Next time you’re sick of hearing “I’m bored” from your kids of any age in the middle of winter, bundle up in your outdoor clothes, and take the whole family over to Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minnesota for a fantastic day in the snow!