Koteewi Run Offers Popular Snow Tube Experience
Writer: Josh Lowe
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
Winter is still far from over. You may be considering your local sledding hill as a means to keep you occupied, but after a few climbs, you might be ready to call it quits. Fortunately, a new tubing experience in Hamilton County offers not just a thrilling ride down the slope but also a lift up the hill.
The Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes is located at Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville. The 750 acre park is home to miles of walking and biking trails, wetlands, prairies, an Equestrian Center and a large 40-foot hill, which now houses Hamilton County’s newest winter adventure: tubing slopes.
Brian Cooley, owner of Outdoor Excursions Incorporated and White River Canoe Company, heard the park was looking for someone to create this winter tubing experience.
“We have a lot of experience in cycling people through outdoor recreational events,” he says.
After agreeing to the project, Cooley hired a consultant from Perfect North Slopes and a service company to provide staff to work the slopes. He even hired a contractor to groom the snow each evening after guests leave.
But what if Central Indiana encounters a dry spell in these winter months? Fortunately, when Hamilton County Parks and Recreation created the park’s hill, it designed pipes to carry water from the lake to the hill. Koteewi Run is capable of producing 12-18 inches of snow per hour, allowing for plenty of fresh snow on the slopes. If snow begins to thaw, a contractor reforms the snow to keep the slopes smooth.
“If you’ve been to Paoli Peaks, the tubing hill itself is very similar but not two hours away from home,” says Cooley, who hopes to keep the slopes open into March.
Depending on the day, riders can purchase passes for different amounts of time and for different rates. The slopes are open long past dark, even until midnight on Saturdays. Koteewi Run’s website allows guests to purchase passes as well as print off waiver forms. The experience is in high demand, so Brian recommends visiting at opening or at dinner time.
Koteewi Run is a great experience for a local winter adventure. After buying tickets, staff helps riders sit on their tubes and hook to the tow line, which pulls tubes to the top of the 40-foot hill. If there is a long wait line, riders can easily walk up the hill.
Riders can slide down the slopes for as many times as they wish and even stop at the concession stand for snacks and hot chocolate. The slopes are open to anyone who can handle their own tubes — from the young to the elderly. In fact, the slopes recently welcomed a local retirement home and one very special rider — a 101-year-old woman — who took a ride not just once but nearly a dozen times.
And how fast do the tubes go? Well, Cooley estimates between 35-50 miles-per-hour.
“All you need to do is stand out there and listen to first-time riders screaming and the laughing,” he says. “You’re pretty much at the mercy of gravity and the shape of the lanes. If people come out and see it, they’ll find it remarkable that this exists so close to home.”
To purchase tickets, print and sign waver forms and check opening and closing times, visit koteewi-adventures.com.
Koteewi Run is located at 11800 Koteewi Drive in Noblesville.