Autobahn reopens to delight of families
Last updated 2/7/2023 at Noon
The last few weekends have been the scene of squeals of joy and broad smiles at Ski Hoodoo, where barely sufficient snow and enough staff have allowed the Autobahn tubing park to reopen. Having been closed nearly in its entirety since the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular family activity has resumed on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Delgado and Estoban families from Bend and Redmond, 13 in number, typified the hundreds who took to the lanes Saturday. The entourage didn’t mind at all that inadequate snow meant the tow couldn’t run. Tubers had to trek up the hill with tube trailing behind.
“It teaches the kids to appreciate the little things,” Jorge Delgado, grandpa and group organizer, said.
“It’s good exercise too,” added mom Cecilia Estoban, the only one not hopping aboard the tubes. Like many a parent she was the designated cheerleader and photographer.
Families told The Nugget that it was one of the few remaining affordable winter activities along with bowling. Skiing and snowmobiling are often out of reach for larger families. The Autobahn, with its six lanes, is $16 per ticket, which entitles the tuber to 10 rides. No sno-park permit is required, another savings.
Without the tow to pull riders to the start, it takes hours to use all 10 rides. Add in tailgating, as almost every family does, and it’s a day-long event.
Down the road at the Pacific Crest trailhead, 75-100 other tubers were riding for free on the various steep hills. Those were mostly saucers, the hard plastic rig with two strap handles. Like with the tubes, the only way to steer is with feet or hands extended over the edge. But almost nobody wants a controlled ride.
Spinning and dipping and bumping along is where the most fun is to be had.
Hoodoo requires kids to be at least 42 inches tall or six years in age. Otherwise they must ride double with an adult. It was hard to know who was having the most fun and widest grins — the kids or the parent with whom they shared the ride.
Snow permitting, Hoodoo hopes to continue weekend Autobahn tubing for the remainder of the season. That’s good news for Sisters Country families looking to get their children into nature during winter months.