I lived 20 years of my life in Indiana, and many winter afternoons were spent ice skating, sledding, building snow forts and snowmen, or just having a good ole snowball fights. Even though I am no stranger to the snow, I have never gone skiing or snow tubing. On a trip home this past December, I was determined to get my fill of all things winter. So after spending a lovely Christmas with my family in Northwest Indiana, my husband and I began the drive back down to sunny Florida, but not without a stop at Paoli Peaks in Paoil, Indiana.
Here we spent an unusually warm (45 degree) afternoon racing tubes down man-made snow slopes. Geoff and I opted for a three-hour pass, since we were planning to drive to Gaitlinburg, Tennessee that evening. Geoff donned snow pants, while I stuck with my jeans, and we picked up our tubes. From there we slipped and slided to the the first empty lane we saw–lane four. It seemed to be the bunny hill of the lanes and was empty–a nice way to break in our afternoon of snow tubing.
Even though we could have slid down the lane in a chain, we opted to go individually for the first round. So I flopped on top of my tube, held on, and was flung down the hill. The wind whipped my face and blew my hat right off my head. As I neared the end of the run, there were rubber mats placed to slow down the tube. I bumped over four of them before coming to a stop with a huge smile on my face. I jumped up and waited for an employee to run and grab my hat from the lane before I dragged my tube to the conveyor that lifted me back to the top of the hill. Geoff was close behind me with the same silly grin on his face.
On our next run we decided to link tubes and go down lane three which was a step up from the “bunny slope” we had just gone down. So just like before, we flopped on the tubes holding on to each other’s handles and sped down the hill. This time we traveled considerably farther than alone. Instead of four rubber mats, we went past seven. Again we popped up, jumped on the conveyor and were dumped at the top of the hill.
This time we were opting for the long line. It was clearly the steepest slope and the fastest lane. I had gathered my confidence in those first two runs, and I was going to go down on my stomach this time. So with a flick of the employee’s foot, I was again racing down the slope, but this time I was also spinning. It was awesome!
We spent the next three hours hurtling ourselves down hills in different configurations–linked, unlinked, front, back, spinning. As the sun set and the temperatures dropped, the slushy snow became slick ice sending us and our tubes barreling toward the snow fence which we never thought we would reach when the sun was out. In fact, the snow was now so fast we even witnessed one person go right through the snow fence onto the skiing slope.
All too quickly our three hours were up. With pink cheeks we returned our gear, and we warmed up with some hot chocolate inside the warm shelter. After the feeling came back in our feet, we headed to the car for our drive to Gaitlinburg.
Paoli Peaks was not something we planned on doing this trip, but a well-placed billboard sparked my interest. Thanks to Google, we were able to divert our plans, and make our slippery pit stop. I am so glad we did. It was so much fun to play in the snow and feel like a ten-year-old again.