Best of Vail: Best Adventure Outfitter
November 13, 2017
1. Turtle Tubing
2. Paragon Guides
3. Sage Outdoor Adventures
Turtle Tubing has a simple business philosophy: Slow down and enjoy the ride.
In 2009, company co-founder Shane Ward started hosting trips on the Colorado River between Dotsero and Bair Ranch, just inside Glenwood Canyon. The stream is steady but flows at a relaxed rate through that stretch — a trip takes three hours most of the summer but speeds up to a still-casual two hours during runoff season.
Ward said the inspiration for Turtle Tubing came from his time working in Vail's hotel industry. Guests without cars would seek out activities around the valley. So Ward and his partners got an old-school bus, licensed it so guests could enjoy adult beverages while riding and started the tubing business.
That business "grows every year," Ward said. Guests range from groups to wedding parties to family reunions. Turtle Tubing's tubes — which can seat three or four people — have floors. That way, getting wet is optional. That, and the easy ride, add up to fun for all ages.
"We had a 93-year-old great-grandmother and a 2-year-old great-grandchild on the same trip once," Ward said, adding that everyone had a great time. "There's a sense of safety and security while you're floating. You never feel a threat of getting knocked out (of the tube)."
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