Head up to Zip ‘N Slip in Mars Hill, NC for a fun, fast ride on any of their eight snow tubing lanes. We checked them out and have all the details on enjoying this fun, winter entertainment.
You cannot miss Zip ‘N Slip Snow Tubing Park in Mars Hill, North Carolina. It’s right off Highway 26 heading through NC towards Tennessee, about an hour and 40 minutes from Greenville, SC. And wow, you’re in for some fast and fun rides at this snow tubing park.
Want more? Here’s our guide to all the fun places to hit the slopes.
About Zip ‘N Slip Snow Tubing Park
Zip ‘N Slip has eight snow tubing lanes that can run more than 800 feet long in optimal snow conditions. How long is that in terms of flying down on a tube? About 20 seconds! It’s really fast, especially in colder weather.
My kids – ages 13 and 9 – had a blast at this snow tubing park and it was well worth the drive up there. The owner is really nice and has owned the property for more than a decade. He initially wanted to build a hotel and shopping center on the property but ended up having so much fun with the snow tubing park that he kept the fun winter activity as it was and updated the park and equipment.
There are eight snow tubing lanes. At least there were when we went. Because of weather and snow-making abilities, this can definitely change each season or each week or month even as the park is able to create the snow needed for the hill. Or if they just get a ton of snow through Mother Nature, then it’s even more fun. It is always a good idea to check the social media pages or website of any seasonal activity before you head out to ascertain the conditions of the park.
There are heated bathrooms at Zip ‘N Slip as well as hot chocolate and a fire pit. They sell hot dogs, nachos, and mac & cheese as well. We were promised free marshmallows to roast after our tubing run but headed out too fast. We saw some people with sticky fingers though so we know they enjoyed the treats.
And if you forget your winter gear like hats, gloves, or even socks, you can purchase them at the park.
Tubing at Zip ‘N Slip
Tubing at Zip ‘N Slip was unlike most places I’ve been because the guests, once they got their safety briefing and tickets, were pretty much on their own. It was definitely fun but like the Wild West of tubing.
Once you get your tube, you’ll head over to the Magic Carpet ride, an escalator-type contraption that you stand on while holding onto your tube. Pro tip: lean forward on it so you don’t fall backwards. Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll step off ever-so-gracefully and be able to choose which lane you want to go down.
There aren’t any staff members at the top of the hill so you just choose your lane and go down or wait until the person in front of you goes down. We didn’t have any issues with waiting or choosing our lanes. Because there are eight lanes, we got in a lot of runs and rarely had to wait for a spot.
But it does get a little tricky at the top pulling a tube amongst other people while navigating snow. I slipped twice but in my defense, it was a little icy. And I’m clumsy. I was fine.
Once you choose your lane, you put your tube leash inside the tube and then get in your tube and shimmy to the edge of the great abyss, uh, lane. Ideally, you’ll want to check to make sure no one is at the bottom of the lane you are planning to slide down. If they are, wait until they are gone and then go. Also watch out for people who may be walking in front of your lane. Wait for them to get out of the way and then shimmy your tube closer – or get someone to push you- to the edge and go down. Wheeee!
Once you get down to the bottom, get out of your tube, grab the leash and get out of the way. Fast. I cannot emphasize how fast you need to move once you are at the bottom. There are no staff to tell you to get out of the way or signal anyone at top that it’s ok to send down the next people. You’re responsible for getting out of the way so do it.
And pay attention. People are going to come down those lanes whether you’re paying attention to someone in a giant tube heading in your direction or not.
And have fun! Depending on how many people are there, you may get through a lot of runs during your time on the hill. I can’t even count how many times my kids and I went down. It was probably at least 30 times. We had the first slot of the day when we went at 10 am and it wasn’t sold out. The slot at Noon was sold out and there were definitely more people. So when you go, maybe choose the earlier time slot.
Tips on Visiting Zip ‘N Slip
We’ve been snow tubing to several places and some of these tips follow our previous advice but read on because a few are very specific to Zip ‘N Slip:
Bring a change of clothes: depending on the weather, snow will melt and you’ll get wet. If you don’t want to drive home in wet clothes, bring a change of clothes, socks, and shoes.
Wear layers: we were hot after the first 15 minutes and ending up shedding our hats, gloves, and jacket. It’s best to wear layers, especially if the temperatures will rise while you’re there.
You don’t need snow gear: it’s just snow tubing and you’re not skiing. Pants and boots, even hiking boots, hats, gloves, and a jacket are fine.
Get out of the way at the bottom of the hill: when you finish your tubing run, move and move fast. The way the lanes are designed, unless you’re in the furthest half of the lanes, you’ll have to walk in front of most of the lanes to get back to the magic carpet. If you don’t move fast, you may be in the way of another tuber coming down the run.
Pay attention: for reasons mentioned above, pay attention to your surroundings and make sure your kids are watching for fast tubers coming down the lane when they are making their way back to get in line to go back up.
Watch the weather: if you’re going up on an unseasonably warm day, check with Zip ‘N Slip to make sure they are operating normally and secondly, get the first available time slot of the day. You’ll go way faster on colder snow than when it starts to melt a little when the weather warms up.
Keep an eye on your kids: this is standard advice but here, kids need to be watched as they go up the magic carpet and make their way down the lanes and then grabbing their tubes and doing it again. They just need to be aware of their surroundings.
It can get muddy: at the bottom of the tubing hill, there’s a lot of straw and snow, which is great for stopping your tubing run. But when the weather is warm, the snow will melt and it will get muddy. This didn’t bother myself, my kids, and really anyone I saw there but just be aware that you may get dirty and refer to tip #1 about bringing a change of clothes.
Be kind and respectful: we had a blast while tubing and everyone was great. But during busier times, there may be some jostling of uncontrollable giant tubes at the top or people not paying attention at the bottom or on . Have patience and be kind.
Tickets to Zip ‘N Slip
You can get tickets for an hour or two hours. One hour is $30/person and two hours is $45/person. Kids must be at least 3-years-old to go tubing and kids ages 3-5 are free and must ride in the lap of an adult.
Zip ‘N Slip also offers discounted rates for school and homeschool groups of 15 or more. Keep an eye out for Homeschool Day as well since tickets are heavily discounted. We scored $15/person tickets for two hours of tubing during a recent Homeschool Day!
The snow tubing park is usually open from mid-December through mid-January Monday-Saturday from 9 am – 9 pm and Sundays from 9 am – 6 pm. From mid-January through early March, the park is open Friday-Sunday and holidays like President’s Day and MLK Jr. Day. They also have special events like Homeschool Day. Follow their Facebook page for details.
Stay in Mars Hill, NC
If you want to make your stay a little longer, here’s where to stay in Mars Hill, NC near Zip ‘N Slip.
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Bonus Day Trip Fun
Because the snow tubing park was a bit of a drive, my kids and I wanted to extend our adventure a bit. So we went to explore nearby Burnsville, NC and had such a great time! The little town has a beautiful downtown and town square. They have several shops that sell homemade items like scarves, clothing, and hats plus an adorable toy store, a huge general store, a specialty tea shop, a beautiful shoe store, and lots more.
While we didn’t eat in Burnsville, there are a couple restaurants plus a coffee shop right along the main street area of the town. We spent about two hours wandering around the shops till our hearts content and could not have been more smitten with the town. I certainly plan to go back and explore it more when we are up in that area again!
Additionally, the Biltmore is on your way back from Greenville if you want to add that to your day trip itinerary.
For more places to go snow tubing, see our big story on the Best Places to Go Skiing and Snow Tubing Near the Upstate.