The first indoor real-snow 365-day-a-year ski and snowboard center in North America is opening in New Jersey next spring.
Standing 12-stories tall and spanning more than 180,000 square-feet, Big SNOW America will offer year-round skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.
SNOW Operating, the business behind Terrain Based Learning at 32 resorts across North America including Killington, Jiminy Peak, Camelback, Aspen Snowmass and Whistler Blackcomb will manage the indoor snow park. “The center is fully funded, construction is underway, I think there are over a thousand workers on site currently working around the clock to get it ready for the opening,” SNOW Operating VP of Marketing Hugh Reynolds told SnoCountry.com.
The mechanics of making snow there will be exactly the same as the outdoor environment. “The nice thing we have going for us is that there is a consistent temperature so we never go through freeze and thaw cycles that you would see in the outdoor environment and we control the relative humidity in the space so the snow quality is going to be very high. It’s going to be machine groomed and packed snow, not powder snow, but really nice, crisp groomer runs,” Reynold told us.
The ski slope area will be in an L-shape, with an introductory slope on the lower part with two surface lifts, primarily for lessons. The main slope will have a quad chairlift that runs up the middle, creating a natural split to the slope. Reynolds expects one half will probably have banked turns that gradually bring you down the length of the slope to mellow out the grade and help facilitate lessons and more novice skiers. The other half of the slope will be an open ski run.
“In the warm months when you can’t get outdoors to ski and snowboard, we’ll probably add a small terrain park offering as well, where guests can work on their park skills in the off season,” Reynolds told us.
There are a handful of other indoor snow parks around the world and outdoor artificial surface skiing and riding options in the U.S., but Big SNOW America hopes to redefine what is possible in terms of the skiing and snowboarding guest experience.
“We are really focusing on introducing people to the sports of skiing and snowboarding. We think this center has a unique opportunity to help grow participation on a national level,” Reynolds told us. “We’re going after the people who might not ever get to the mountain to experience skiing and snowboarding and give them their first taste of it in the indoor environment. Our hope is they connect with the fun and joy that our sports offer and they seek out an experience at a mountain close to them when they go back home.”
Reynolds added that in the summer they expect to see a higher amount of experienced skiers and riders wanting to come in and get out on the snow when they can’t otherwise. “We’ve already had a number of race programs reach out to us to inquire about training opportunities in the off-season.”
With over 20 million people within a one-hour drive radius of the center’s location, Big Snow hopes to introduce people who may not otherwise try skiing and snowboarding to the sports. “Our plan is that in you show up in shorts and flip flops and t-shirt and we give you everything you need for an on-snow experience. We want to make it as easy as possible and eliminate as many barriers to entry as we can so that if you come in off the street, and you give us two hours, we can introduce you to what skiing and snowboarding is like, and hopefully get you hooked to want to do it some more and go home to your local mountain and continue the journey,” says Reynolds.