Winter in Ashland can sometimes end up feeling like fall: Cold, rainy and not necessarily that snow-laden. On some days, it's easy to forget that we live in Oregon, which can be one of the snow-flakiest states.
But your snowless blues can be easily shaken away. All you need to do it pack up the family car with sleds and a thermos of hot chocolate, and head to a snow park.
Called Tube Parks, these groomed areas are sculpted to make the most of large, inflatable inner tubes. But first-class contrarians take sleds without metal runners to the slopes to catch huge air on man-made bumps.
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Some of the best snow parks have a fire pit, a room with a wood stove and a bathroom. One is Table Mountain Snow Play Area, roughly 25 miles from Ashland, if you take Hwy. 66 east and turn left onto the Hyatt Lake Road to the Hyatt Lake Recreation area and then the Winter Play area.
Once you've had your fill of these two hills, you're fairly close to the Green Springs Inn, which is a great place to grab lunch.
The required Oregon Sno-Park permit ($7 daily; $10 for three days; $20 for an annual pass needed Nov. 1 through April 30) can be purchased at DMV offices. Call 541-618-2200 for more information.
Amelia Covert Zeve, 13, is an Ashland-based writer and wilderness enthusiast who attends Ashland Middle School. Contact her at email@example.com.