BY MARK LORENTZ
The worst part about tobogganing was always going up the hill. Eventually your legs would give out and even in minus 20 degree weather you would start to break a sweat. All of that is a thing of the past at Chicopee Tube Park.
Six chutes, each 250 feet in height and 900 feet in length, bring back memories of your childhood when life was easy and hot chocolate was still your drink of choice to warm up to. For those who struggle with balance on boards or skis, Chicopee Tube Park is a perfect way to stay active outside during the frigid Canadian winters.
The facility opened five years ago and has been expanding its range of entertainment ever since. With the introduction of zip-lining and waterless tubing in the summer, Chicopee Tube Park offers variety all year-long.
Located at 1600 River Rd. in Kitchener, the park is a mere 12 minutes’ drive from Conestoga’s Doon campus, and offers student rates on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Students can get three hours of tubing on Tuesdays for $19 from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 p.m. to midnight.
“91.5 The Beat comes out here on Tuesdays, they have free giveaways and music going throughout the night to help get the university and college students out here. It’s always a blast,” said Samantha Weber, marketing director at Chicopee Tube Park.
Tubes are provided at the park. No other means of getting down the hill is permitted, so leave your crazy carpets and GT racers at home. Children under the age of eight are required to wear helmets for safety reasons, but other than that, no other safety equipment is needed.
“The hill is very safe. I’ve worked three winters here and the worst injury I saw was a drunk university girl go down the walkway instead of the chutes and knock herself out as she hit a light pole” said Ashley Millar, a park employee.
Over 1,500 people can go down the hill within an hour, so wait times are almost non-existent. Each tube is meant for one individual, however, tubes can be attached and multiples can go down a chute at the same time.
“You’d be surprised how fast the hill is,” Weber said, adding, “That’s the benefit of having the magic carpet (a moving sidewalk). If you had to keep walking up the hill you’d run out of energy fairly quickly.”
Chicopee Tube Park also has arcade games, a cafeteria with a wide variety of comfort food and a fully functional bar with flat screen TVs just in case parents want to get out of the cold for a moment or two.
“It’s just a perfect little getaway, a short drive from home and it costs less than taking the whole family to the movies for the afternoon. The kids love it and it’s actually fun for us too,” said Sara Staniak, who was out with her family of four.
Hours of operation are different throughout the week, and the park has closed a few times this year already due to the extreme cold. It is best to phone the park at 519-895-2322 or visit their website www.chicopeetubepark.com for more information.