My First Time Tubbing

David H. Tanner
November 1997

Tubbing all began at Winter camp at Tracy Wigwam Scout Camp in Millcreek Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah. In the winter Tracy Camp has a well known [inner-tubing] hill. For years, scouts have enjoyed sliding down the hill at Tracy. One year at camp, a bright Assistant Scout leader, "George" Cory Lindorff, suggested taking those tubes up the trail behind Tracy and slide down the drainage ditch along Thaynes Canyon. It was a total and complete failure. Soon Cory and the scouts decided to test a plastic toboggan. The tub was a success. It fit perfectly in the narrow trail, you could steer it and it was fast. Quickly scouts explored creative accessories, and they all agreed that bungee cords were a must and pad really saved the toosh.

Each winter the older scouts would return from Camp Tracy and tell tales of sliding blind down a ravine in total darkness and never losing their way. They could only compare their experience to that of the Olympic bobsled or luge. Sliding, banking, and jumping down a ditch, my friends and I (a couple of years younger) eyed these daring Olympians with courageous greed. When we were old enough to be scouts we would surely pass this right of manhood. I looked forward to my first trip to winter camp at Camp Tracy. I was well prepared. I had a red Coleco tub and bungees. I had a couple pair of gloves. I even had a rope to tow my tub while hiking. The fact that we had to sleep in freezing temperatures, wear cold wet clothing, and hike in the snow did not detract from the point of this camp. Camp Tracy had all the luxuries. We slept in three sided cabins, we paid our money and the staff prepared the meals and there was even a warm fire in the Lodge.

When we arrived Friday evening, we stowed our bedding in our three sided cabin (what! no wall on the east side, I thought), and went down to the Lodge for dinner. Following dinner we discreetly left the planned actives to become men. Night tubbing was our planned and long awaited activity. With flashlights in hand and tubs in tow we headed up the trail. We seemed to hike for hours. We rested at the big rock, we made our way up through the chute, we packed down the engineering project, and make our final assent up past the big tree to the end of the trail.

The lineup was like a totem pole. Rookies go first. Veterans last. Later I learned that the trail was faster and funnier once it was packed down . Flashlights wiggled around like fireflies as we lined up and strapped in. In front of me two or three flashlights slid down the run and disappeared in the night. It was now my turn. Aaaa! Carried down the run by a new red coleco tub sliding through the night I passed the gate that marks the end of childhood and enters the gate of real teenage pleasure. I did not attain the right of manhood that night, but I did join the Order of the Tubbers. I learned that the thrill of sledding down the hill at Skyline High School or Churchill Junior High was mere child's play compared to the rush of bulleting down a ravine of slick snow and banking high off the side of a mountain.

The next day we woke up, had breakfast at the Lodge, packed our sleeping gear and headed up the mountain for a day of tubbing. By two o'clock or later, fatigue set in and we headed home. The next day at church I joined my fellow tubbers telling tales of the Olympic like events of the last two days.

For nearly ten years scouts of all ages have enjoyed winters tubbing. Soon, those who experience tubbing first hand, will pass on the tradition to another millennium. We were taught respect for the land, safety, enjoying the winter wonderland of Utah, and to create names for everything new we experienced. Friendships and a unique passion for a little know sport is what binds us together.

Last updated: 3 January 2000