Big Snow at American Dream
So many of you may know the history behind this Indoor Ski/Snowboarding slope in that it has been a work in progress for over something like 10 years. Locals still call it Xanadu. Well, it finally opened at the beginning of the last winter season, but since I was already into the season getting in practice at open outdoor resorts getting ready for the race season to start, I never got out there before Covid closed it down. Well, it finally reopened on the 1st of September and needing a big snow (pun intended) fix, I packed up my gear and hopped in the truck and headed to East Rutherford, NJ. What I found was a 4-acre facility with ~5,500 tons of snow with a 2+ foot base with a consistent temp of 28 °F. Not bad, huh?
So, what do you need to know before you go and what are the Pros and the Cons of the facilities, well let’s take a look.
Things to know before you go:
They say there are three trails, but it is really a learning area (Lil’ Dipper), a slope (Switchback), and a short terrain park (Northern Lights above The Park)
The main slope is ~1,000 ft long and has 160 ft of altitude and at its max a pitch of 26%, so wide enough to make some turns, but not really get up any real speed before you hit the slow zone
Due to Covid and to avoid overcrowding you are supposed to buy tickets online for specific days and time, but if you buy a 6 pack, then you just do a walk-in and they let you in. I bought one because I was going multiple times and it reduced the cost from $35 to ~$21
Your time slot is only 2 hours and it starts from the first time you step on the snow. If you have a 6 pack, you will have to leave the facility and take a break before coming back in. you can’t do multiple back to back sessions on the 6-pack
They are a full service meaning you can not only rent gear you can rent clothes (pant and jackets only bring the rest or buy it there)
Gloves and face masks have to be used right now due to Covid
Lockers are available and surprisingly don’t cost extra
Right now due to Covid, their normal observation area is closed and if you buy an observation ticket you have to be out on the snow, so dress appropriately. Also, there are a limited number of seats out there right now.
Off-Season Availability: If you live in the East where there isn’t snow available for most of the year, this is a great option to get on the snow during the “off season”
Environment: The snow quality is surprisingly good. As there isn’t any sun and they really do keep the facility at a balmy 28 °F, the snow doesn’t go slushy as the day goes on. Also, when you think of east coast blown snow you think more ice crystals, this is smoother and softer snow. It’s more wet and makes great snowballs :D
Parking: Plenty of parking and right now it’s free, since the Metlife Stadium isn’t having spectators for any games going on there
Terrian: Because the beginner terrain is separate and there isn’t any real beginner terrain to “ride” you have less people in there that are “true” beginners
People: Lots of diversity of the skiers and riders there and noticed that for the most part everyone was polite and friendly, with a scattering of idiots, but you get a few of those no matter where you go
Lockers: Free lockers
Location: For me, the location is the biggest con. At 4+ hours away it’s not an option for me to go during the week when it probably isn’t as busy, nor is it an option to go every weekend as it’s really too far for a day trip
Cost: At $35 for 2 hours, it’s a little costly. There is no pass option, just a 6-pack purchase option at $129, which means it still cost $21.5 for 2 hours. That’s not as bad and best I can tell there is no expiration date on the 6-pack. Also, if you are driving any distance, the tolls may cost you more than anything else
Entrance Process: The process to get in can be cumbersome. If you have a timeslot ticket or a spectator ticket, you have to basically get checked in multiple times
Lift Lines: You have to press your lift pass (a card for the 6-pack and a wrist band with a tiny card on it for time slot passes/spectator passes) to a scanner every time you go to enter the lift lines. This is done to make sure you haven’t been out there longer than 2 hours, but it really can backup with bottom of the slope
Lift Chairs: Chairs can only be shared by people that came together so that slows the lift line down a little too
American Dream: The rest of the American Dream, for the most part, finally opened on the 1st of October
Store: The Big Snow Store is very Burton heavy, which might be a Pro or a Con depending on your POV, but I wouldn’t mind some better variety. It was also very expensive, but that wasn’t really unexpected. They did have my stance socks, so it wasn’t all bad :D
Spectators: The spectator area is still closed, so you have to be out on a very small area of the snow. Don’t plan on getting photos from that area either. It’s basically $16 including tax and make sure you are dressed accordingly for 28 degrees and snow.
All in all, a pretty nice place (I’d say it’s nicer if it was closer). For those close, it’s a great deal, but for those that have new gear that they need to get dialed in before the racing season starts, it’s a good place to spend a few hours working out the kinks of new gear.
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