PARK CITY — When 7-year old August Kimall came down the small Extreme Tubing hill at the Utah Olympic Park, he was going so fast that he hit against the netted gate designed to keep tubers from traveling too far.
He said it didn't hurt and immediately headed back up the slope for a second round.
August said his family, from Houston, Texas, comes to the Utah Olympic Park every year for snow-playing fun. Saturday marked the first day of a new adventure: the new Extreme Tubing attraction at the park, and the Kimalls said they couldn't wait to try it.
At this attraction, tubing participants use inner-tubes to slide down snow-covered Nordic ski jump hills that olympic-level athletes train on, said Jennifer Clarke, public programs senior manager. No one flies off of the jumps, but gain great speeds heading down the mountains.
"It's a way that the public can experience our venue and the training facility without having to be a trained athlete or having to have equipment," she said.
In recent summers, the park ran water over the same ski jumps for an attraction, but this is the first time tubing has been offered in winter. Summer tubers travel at speeds up to 50 miles per hour, according to the website, and winter tubers travel even faster, Clarke said.
"It is extreme. It's intense. It's a ton of fun," Clarke said.
Clarke said she expects thousands of people to tube down the ski jump hills within the week because of the holidays.
Andrea Door, whose family wanted to try Extreme Tubing, said she watched as the tubing attraction opened a bit late as park staff members slid down the hills and adjusted the netting before patrons were allowed to tube.
She said this made her feel better about having her daughter ride down the hill.
Audrey Door, 7, sported a pink polka-dot coat and a helmet with built-in snow goggles as she mounted the hill. She slid down and reunited with her mother at the bottom of the hill.
"The part that I didn't like was when the snow came up and hit my face," she said. "But the whole time my face was just like this," she said demonstrating wide eyes, raised eyebrows and open mouth, "Because it was so fun."
The park offers two Extreme Tubing options — the large hill for those 10 and up, $20, and the small hill for those 5 years old and up, $15.
Danielle Schneid, vacationer from Southern Florida, said even the small hill made her stomach drop.
"I get nervous, but my kids make me do all of this fun stuff because they are so action-seeking, and they love it all, so they feel kind of like a downer if you don't do it," she said about her 14 and 16-year-old daughters.
After the Schneid family finished tubing on the small hill, they rushed to the large hill to finish their tubing experience.
Extreme Tubing is open from 1 to 4 pm through Jan. 3, and select hours through March. For a full list of tubing hours visit utaholympiclegacy.org.