15 years. That’s how long New Jersey residents, like myself, had to endure driving by the former Xanadu. The American Dream mega mall sat through one issue after another, drawing the ire of the passersby gawking at the long-delayed project. In fact, last week’s opening day comes 12 years later than originally planned.
At Big SNOW, the American Dream of skiing indoors is becoming a reality.
Indoor ski parks have been a real thing all over the world for some time now. Holland, Germany, New Zealand, Dubai they all have them, the most notable being Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort in China, the world’s largest. However, none existed in the western hemisphere until Big SNOW American Dream started spinning its lifts on December 5th. Now, North America’s first and only indoor ski area is ready for action.
What can you expect?
Big SNOW offers a 26 degree pitch at its steepest, a 160-foot vertical drop, and 1,000-foot slope spread out over 4 acres. It’s comparable to a short intermediate run that you’d find at its sister resort, Mountain Creek (both of which are owned by SNOW Operating).
You won’t have to worry about ditching your friends on a powder day, but with 5,500 tons of snow at an average depth of two feet blanketing the arena, Big SNOW definitely lives up to its name. The snow itself is quite nice. Not necessarily champagne powder but rather dry and no ice. This is a rarity for east coast skiing but with the facility set at a constant 28 degrees and no wind, the conditions will almost never change.
Conditions like these are always welcome and although the run is short – it takes about 10 seconds to get down – it’s a fun ride. Beginners will welcome the smaller less steep area off to the side. Equipped with a magic carpet, it is reminiscent of the learning areas that you would see at many outdoor resorts.
On the other hand, advanced riders, particularly snowboarders will enjoy the variety of features in the terrain park area. The good thing is that with a 500 person limit Big SNOW should never be particularly crowded so you can certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. If you have your own equipment, two-hour lift tickets start at $30 so you’ll definitely want to take advantage of your time and get some laps in before you head to apres ski.
What about après ski?
Apres Ski? Yes, of course, there will be a place for apres. Although not yet completed, The Big SNOW Lodge will house a Yard House Brewery and Hard Rock Cafe both overlooking the ski area. Good cheer abound you and your skiing partners will ultimately have a full and completely unique ski experience that is totally worth checking out.