UPDATE: As of late October 2019, Big SNOW is finally preparing to groom more than 5,500 tons of snow. It’ll have an average depth of two feet throughout the park, and is expected to open on December 5, 2019.
There’s a slim chance you haven’t heard about American Dream, the long-awaited East Rutherford destination (formerly known as Xanadu) that’s been under construction for more than a decade. Believe it or not, it’s finally slated to open October 25. One of the highlights? The Western Hemisphere’s first indoor snow park, Big SNOW America, which will open December 5.
“It’ll offer year-round, real-snow skiing and snowboarding all within a constant climate-controlled environment,” Hugh Reynolds, VP of marketing and sales for SNOW Operating, told New Jersey Family. Snow Operating is dedicated to growing interest in skiing and snowboarding at more than 40 resorts around the world, including Vernon’s Mountain Creek and, of course, Big SNOW America.
An indoor snow park and chalet (which will be 180,000 square feet and 16 stories), Big SNOW will have something for all ages and skill levels, though the focus is on getting first-timers comfortable on the snow, says Reynolds. “Many of the American Dream guests will be coming from areas that don’t have snow, or visiting in the warm months when snow is typically inaccessible in the outdoor environment,” says Reynolds. “Our plan is to give guests everything they need to have their first ski or snowboard experience, so they can arrive in flip-flops and shorts and we provide all the clothing and gear they need to enjoy a day on snow.”
You may be wondering how legit a lesson on fake snow could be for first-time skiers. Not to worry: turns out Big SNOW America’s indoor powder is 100 percent real. Using high-pressured air and a fine mist of water, SNOW Operating makes snow the same way it’s made in nature. The temperature of the space is controlled through air conditioning and a glycol cooling system, so as the mist droplets fall, they freeze and turn to snow.
“Because our center will stay at a consistent temperature and we have the ability to control the humidity of the air, snow quality within the center will be very good,” Reynolds told us. “Similar to a cold, crisp day of outdoor skiing. The kind when the snow squeaks under your feet.”
If those tech wonders don’t wow you, get this: the snow that melts from guests walking, skiing and boarding will be recycled through a closed loop system that funnels the water back into the snowmaking system.
The center will offer both private and group lessons in skiing and snowboarding for all ages, plus full- and half-day camps for kids who want to hit the powder while their parents shop and explore all American Dream has to offer. Lessons will be heavily influenced by SNOW Operating’s signature Terrain Based Learning method, which Reynolds says, “is a revolutionary new way to teach people how to ski or snowboard. It utilizes shaped snow features and a highly designed process, that makes learning easier by using the features to naturally control the guests speed, assist with turning and allow for greater movement and repetition…those guests who have their first experience through the Terrain Based Learning method are much more likely to return for a second visit than those who do not.”
Anyone who signs up for lessons will also get all they need to suit up from clothing to equipment. This space isn’t just for beginners, though. “We’ll have plenty of opportunities for those who already know how to ski or ride to get access to our snow, especially during the warmer months when we’ll be the only option for them to get on snow,” says Reynolds. “We plan to keep one half of the main slope surface open for general skiing and snowboarding and also to offer some freestyle terrain park features for guests to practice their park skills on in the traditional off-season months.”
If your fam isn’t into skiing or snowboarding, Big SNOW indoor snow park still has you covered. There’ll be plenty of snow play products (including an ice climbing wall!), so your squad will get access to what Reynolds calls “a guided mountaineering themed experience” without having to strap on a pair of skis. Guests who don’t take lessons will still be able to rent gear and threads. Other highlights include party rooms that can be used for corporate events, competitions and kids’ birthday parties.
With advanced purchase, you can snag tickets for $49.99 plus tax per person and if you already have your own equipment, tickets will cost you $34.99 (ages 7 and up) for two hours and $49.99 for four hours. Grab tickets online for a lower rate.
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