Everybody knows it: zipping along a firm, slippery crust of snow is fun. Here, we tell you about places in northern New England slide in the best – but different – ways. Tubing is awesome for kids, but people of all ages can jump in. Similarly, taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride may be romantic, but some sleighs are big enough for a huge party. Browse below and plan some winter hijinks:
Tubing in Vermont
Southern Vermont: Where the tubing is everywhere — Vermont likes tubing, and invites you to do the same. Magic Mountain, at 495 Magic Mountain Access Road in Londonderry and Mount Snow, at Pisgah Road in West Dover, both offer plenty of snow tubing. Magic has its Alakazam Tubing Park, open weekends and school vacations. At Mount Snow, tubing is done in the Mixing Bowl. Open daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and on holidays.
Hit the Slopes on a Cushion of Air — At Smugglers’ Notch ski area in Cambridge, the classic sled, toboggan, flying saucer – pick your favorite – has mutated into an inflated cushion called an airboard. This A-shaped air cushion – which is steerable – lets you whip down the slope with wild abandon. At Smuggs’, certain trails are reserved for airboarding on weekday afternoons. Airboarding wannabees must be at least 12 years old and must take a short instructional clinic. Who’s up for a new snow thrill?
Sleigh rides in Vermont
Sleighing through a working farm — Adams Family Farm in Wilmington brings out its big draft horses and sleighs to carry you and your group through a maple sugar lot, across the ridge of the mountain and to a log cabin back in the woods, for the warmth of wood stoves, hot chocolate, and player piano music. 802-464-3762
The town is almost prettier than the horses – Visitors to th small and picturesque town of Grafton can climb onboard horse-drawn sleigh rides, courtesy of the Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center (tubing and cross country skiing go on here, too). Sleigh rides leave every half hour from the cabin.
The Taylor family welcomes you to its farm — The 180-year-old Taylor Farm in Londonderry will host sleigh rides through the snow-covered Vermont countryside. The farm’s two sleights are box-style, accommodating up to 10 people, and pulled by Belgian draft horses. Blankets are provided for everyone. Sleigh rides are offered during the weekends and they stop for cider and marshmallows roasting. 802-824-5690.
Tubing in New Hampshire
The King rules when it comes to snow tubing — King Pine ski area in East Madison offers snow tubing in an atmosphere known for friendliness to kids and affordability. Purity Spring and King Pine Ski Area have been a tradition for families for decades. 800-373-3754.
Sleigh rides in New Hampshire
New Hampshire farms hook up their sleighs in winter — Ragged View Farms in Andover. Virgil and Woodraw, which are Suffold horses, will pull the sleigh through woods and fields while passengers sit back in warm hay. Delicious! 603-724-7511. Charmingfare Farm in Candia offers intimate vis-vis (or face-to-face) rides for couples and rides in a big logging wagon for big groups. Travel on old logging roads and past winter pastures. 603-483-5623. Farm by the River B&B and Stables in North Conway offers horse-drawn carriage or sleigh rides to its guests and also to people not staying at the establishment. Surrounding views of the majestic White Mountains are an extra pleasure. 603-356-2694. [photo courtesy of Charmingfare Farm]
Tubing in Maine
Not an athlete? Not a problem! — People who are not skilled athletes or even very coordinated can have a blast in the snow by trying out snow tubing – the winter outdoor sport that is skyrocketing in popularity. Seacoast Snow Park in Windham offers 12 lanes of intense snow tubing and Express lift to the top. Sledding is especially magical at night. 207-892-5952.
Sleigh rides in Maine
Off we go with a jangle of sleigh bells — Horse-drawn sleigh rides — the “low-impact winter sport” – are best at the farms of New England, like High View Farm in Harrison, where the the jingle of sleigh bells will ring on as a wonderful memory. 207-595-1601.
Tubing in Massachusetts
Butternut is tubing the way it should be — Tubing is a fun way to finish off a weekend that might have included the more-vigorous skiing or snowboarding. The seven-lane tubing park at Butternut Ski Area in Great Barrington makes sliding downhill fun for people or all ages. Seven chutes and a dedicated lift keep he tubing slope humming. Tubing park is open Fridays through Sundays and holidays.
Fifteen lanes of tubing at Nashoba — Nashoba Valley ski area in Westford has a 15-lane tubing park open day and night. Perfect tubing conditions for thrill seekers and plenty of hours to do it. The tubing park also consists of an on-site lodge, with snack bar and TV. 978-692-3033.