Ohio Winter Fun: Tobogganing, Tubing & Snowshoeing
Whether you want steep thrills, a leisurely downhill ride or a brisk walk in the park, here are three ways to embrace the season of snow.
Cleveland Metroparks’ Mill Stream Run Reservation offers a fun tobogganing experience that’s open all season long.
Since 1967, families have braved the twin toboggan chutes at Cleveland Metroparks’ Mill Stream Run Reservation. The thrilling and scenic winter-season attraction takes riders down a 700-foot lane at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. It sounds intense, but the toboggan has long been a northeast Ohio favorite.
“It’s a fun, family activity,” says Amy McRitchie, facilities manager at The Chalet, where the attraction is located. “People make a tradition of coming back year after year.”
The chutes stand 70 feet tall, requiring riders to climb 108 stairs to get to the top. (Don’t worry about toting the toboggan. A lift at The Chalet takes care of that for you.) When the attraction opened five decades ago, it was the first refrigerated tobogganing chute system in the world and today remains the only one in Ohio.
Visitors can pay $6 for a single ride or purchase an all-day pass, which costs $10 for children and $12 for adults. Season passes and family passes for up to four people are also available. Tobogganing runs through mid-March, but if sledding isn’t your speed, don’t worry. The Chalet also has an indoor lounge, concession stand, an outdoor swing set and both indoor and outdoor communal fireplaces.
“A lot of people come to spend time with family and friends to hang out, get a hot chocolate and enjoy the fireplaces,” McRitchie says, “even if they aren’t tobogganing.” Visit website for dates, public hours and pricing; 16200 Valley Pkwy., Strongsville 44136, 440/572-9990, clevelandmetroparks.com/tchutes
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t for everyone. Hopping on an inner tube? That’s another story. Here are three places to glide this season.
Brandywine Ski Resort • Sagamore Hills
Northeast Ohio’s largest tubing attraction, the 264-vertical-foot Polar Blast Tubing Park, is nestled within the Summit County portion of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Riders can choose a normal lane or a super lane, the latter of which is faster and steeper. 1146 W. Highland Rd., Sagamore Hills 44067, 800/875-4241, bmbw.com
Mad River Mountain • Zanesfield
The biggest snow-tubing facility in Ohio, Avalanche Tubing Park has 10 lanes that are each more than 1,000 feet long. The resort’s advanced snowmaking system uses more than 140 snow guns to make sure this Logan County destination remains a winter wonderland. 1000 Snow Valley Rd., Zanesfield 43360, 800/231-7669, skimadriver.com
Snow Trails • Mansfield
The Vertical Descent Tubing Park offers seven lanes for snow tubers of all ages. Riders can choose hard-bottom tubes in kiddie or adult sizes or soft-bottom tubes for slower speeds. Then there’s Glow Tubing, a nightly event during which the hill is lined with LED lights. 3100 Possum Run Rd., Mansfield 44903, 800/644-6754, snowtrails.com
Just Shoe It
When the snow piles up, here’s a fun way to make the most of it.
For those who seek the satisfying crunch of a thick blanket of snow, look no further than Lake Metroparks. Because Lake County gets lots of lake-effect snow each winter, its regional park system offers a fun way for visitors to explore: snowshoes.
“Anybody can do it,” says Seth Begeman, chief of outdoor education for Lake Metroparks. “If you can walk, you can walk in snowshoes.”
Lake Metroparks’ Chapin Forest and Penitentiary Glen reservations rent snowshoes for visitors ages 3 and up and have designated trails to follow. There are also two marked backcountry snowshoe trails at Lake Metroparks’ Girdled Road Reservation.
Snowshoes have come a long way. Modern ones are made from metal and plastic and easily attach to most any winter shoe. Beyond that, all you need is a good base of about 4 inches of snow. Call 440/256-2118 ext. 4178 for trail conditions. For directions to Lake Metroparks park sites, visit lakemetroparks.com.
Ohio Winter Fun: Sleigh Rides | Tobogganing, Tubing & Snowshoeing | Outdoor Ice-Skating | Christmas Tree Farms | December Park Programs