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'War' breaks out between neighboring tubing hills

7:09 AM, Apr 8, 2011   |    comments
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Every day staff members with the Fraser Tubing Hill and its competitor, Colorado Adventure Park, stand on the corner of Grand County Road 72 and Fraser Valley Parkway twirling signs and fighting for each and every car, truck and bus that passes. They hope to win the visitors over to their tubing hill.

"There's always a random chance of winning over a customer," said Julian De Santiago, one of the more enthusiastic sign spinners for the Fraser Tubing Hill.

The dancer, originally from Los Angeles, calls the competition between the two companies the "Tube Wars." He often uses moves he has learned in dance school to encourage drivers to veer left and up the hill to Fraser's original tubing hill, which was established 38 years ago.

"[I'm] using my body as a way to communicate with the people to get some attention towards our tubing hill," De Santiago said.

Only a few yards away, Sarah Baker stands with her yellow metal sign, hoping drivers will instead decide to turn right into the much newer Colorado Adventure Park.

"I'm like woo-hoo, yeah! Go tubing over here! I just have fun with it," Baker said.

While these sign spinners have found a way to keep the competition civil, there are signs the battle between the two tubing hills is contentious.

"You can tell they're angry, some guys, in terms of giving the finger to the sign holder," explained Luke Steckler, a manager at the Colorado Adventure Park.

The company says in addition to the insults, they've had to call the sheriff's office out a few times because of vandalism to its property.

The adventure park was founded three years ago, after its owner offered to buy the original tubing hill. The family that owns the Fraser Tubing Hill turned down the offer and a short time later, the adventure park was established next door.

Rod Rodgers, with the Fraser Tubing Hill, says the new company is trying to run him out of business. He claims the adventure park is undercutting him by offering tubing at half the price charged by most tubing hills.

"We're not even comparable to the rest of the tubing that's around. It's $25-$30. Here it's $16," Rodgers said.

Even without the price wars, he doesn't believe the area can support two tubing hills.

"It's obvious with the sign guys that we're fighting for the tubers. It's clear there's not enough business," Rodgers said.
He says there are only a few times during the winter season, including Christmas and Spring breaks, when there are enough customers to sustain both tubing hills.

"This causes a hardship when you put two tubing hills side by side," Rodgers said.

The Colorado Adventure Park says that is not its intent. They want to provide people with more options.

"If people want to tube [at the Fraser Tubing Hill] that's fine. They can get their kids on a snow scoot here [at the Colorado Adventure Park], have a s'more by the fire, have a beer and then go back into town," Luke Steckler, a manager with Colorado Adventure Park said.

While the company's main draw now is tubing and snowmobiling, it plans to expand, becoming a year-round adventure attraction, offering horseback riding and a zip-line during the summer months.

Steckler says it is possible the company may try to acquire the original tubing hill again, as the adventure park expands.

"There may have been talks about linking up, trying to build a terrain park, so we can get some skiers and snowboarders," Steckler said.

Rodgers says he'd entertain the idea, if the price is right.

"I have no problems selling and get out of the business, but I want to get paid for what my business is worth," Rodgers said.

For now, both tubing hills appear to be determined to stay open longer than their competitor and to steal as much business as possible before Mother Nature forces them to close.

Next year, both promise to be back at it again; open for business and determined to prevail.

"Eventually one of us is going to break. Who breaks first, I don't know," Rodgers said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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