Travel

North America’s First Indoor Ski Slope Has Arrived

big snow
Every day is a snow day now. | Big Snow American Dream
Every day is a snow day now. | Big Snow American Dream

Ski resorts, much like everything else on the planet, have been going through it. The climate emergency means shorter, warmer winters, with snowfall growing more irregular. This would cause any resort existential and financial distress, unless of course that resort functioned entirely independent of climate and weather. Big Snow is such a resort.

In December, Big Snow opened for business at American Dream, the mega-mall complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s the only indoor snow dome of its kind in North America. It holds steady at 28 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the season. It produces its own snow -- nearly 4.5 tons of it per hour. It is, in other words, not of nature.
MORE:The state with the worst winters is also the most fun place to be this January

The resort spans features four runs and a 16-story slope, and can accomodate as many as 500 people at a time. Big Snow is designed to appeal to everyone from first-time skiiers and boarders to Olympic athletes -- slopes range from a 3% grade up to 26%, and the freestyle terrain park has a learning area for beginners. The facility has four separate lifts (including two Magic Carpet lifts for those of you just getting your ski legs). And it’s open daily, year-round, making good on its slogan that “every day is a snow day.”

Snowmaking machines have never been good news for the environment, although presumably it takes less energy and less water to blanket the skiable terrain of the 180,000-square-foot facility than it does for an entire outdoor mountainside. And Big Snow does have some potential to democratize what has always been a very expensive, and thus exclusive, wintertime sport. A day on more traditional slopes might cost hundreds of dollars and hours of driving time, but now folks in the New Jersey/New York City area have access to a more democratized version. 

Snow Day packages start at $69.99; two-hour Slope Access tickets start at $29.99 (kids 6 and under ski free with an accompanying adult). Reservations aren’t required, but it’s generally a good idea to make them anyway. You’ll also find on-site equipment rental, plus childcare. Though your children might not be so willing to stay put once they see the sledding and tubing runs (can’t bring your own sled though).
MORE:The planet-saving travel tips you’ve been meaning to learn about

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Kastalia Medrano is Thrillist's Travel Writer. You can send her travel tips at kmedrano@thrillist.com, and Venmo tips at @kastaliamedrano.