Shop & Ski 

Shop & Ski 

If I’ve learned anything about my homeland of New Jersey, it’s that my people don’t like being outside, and we’ve a long history of recreating the natural world in an indoor setting to better suit our delicate sensibilities.

It all started when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in Menlo Park, N.J. in 1879, thinking hey, why not bring the sun’s powers inside? Then, in the 1920s, Haviland Carrier (better known to friends as Willis) patented the air conditioner, because in no just world should Mother Nature be in control of the thermostat. In more recent years, tanning salons have proven indispensable, both in winter and summer, to maintain the tanned TV orange glow people know and love.

And now, it appears the people of New Jersey have found a way to control when we want our powder days – which apparently is every day – while not having to sacrifice a stop at Nordstrom and a freshly baked Auntie Anne’s pretzel. As the self-proclaimed Garden State ambassador to Durango, I introduce to you, “Big Snow American Dream,” North America’s first and only indoor ski resort, fittingly located in a New Jersey megamall.

Big Snow, which opened in 2019, is a 16-story ski/snowboard park, boasting “real snow” year-round. It has 4 acres of skiable terrain, four lifts and a capacity for 500 people. (For reference, Durango’s Chapman Hill Ski Area is 7 acres, but again, it’s outside, and anything can happen out there ...)

While other unlucky outdoor ski resorts have to deal with weather and diminishing snowpacks driven by climate change, NJ’s ski-mall-utopia has the ability to crank out 4.4 tons of snow an hour and a massive cooling generator that keeps the place at a steady 28 degrees, 365 days a year.

Sure, there have been complications, like in September when a fire broke out on a ski slope (not sure how that happens), which has indefinitely closed the park. And yeah, there’s a lawsuit after a woman injured on the slopes claimed park employees left her alone on experienced terrain while she was in a beginner ski course (don’t even start drawing “Class Action Park” comparisons!).

Resort officials, for their part, say the easy access and relatively affordable skiing area is introducing new people to the sport. And hey, some people like it, like one local woman who told a TV news station she sought shelter there amid a heat wave. “It is the best thing that they could’ve ever invented here in New Jersey,” she said.

So, moral of the story (if there is one?), don’t be too quick to dismiss. Whatever the case, it’s not like Durango has some big, vacant mall that could be going to other good uses, like a year-round ski resort (or affordable housing?) for an endless winter. Oh wait…

Top Stories

Toolin' around
05/12/2022
Toolin' around
By Jennaye Derge

From drills to drain snakes, Durango Tool Library’s got your next DIY covered

Read More
Warming up to hot(ish) yoga
05/12/2022
Warming up to hot(ish) yoga
By Elizabeth Barrett/Animas High intern

The infrared experience at Pause Yoga & Pilates studio

Read More
'Extraordinary action'
05/05/2022
'Extraordinary action'
By Michael Elizabeth Sakas / Colorado Public Radio

Feds make unprecedented move to hold back water in drought-stricken Powell

Read More
Make way for the peregrine
05/05/2022
Make way for the peregrine
By Jonathan Romeo

New land closures are put in place to protect iconic raptors
 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

Be my neighbor
05/12/2022

To say America is divided at the current moment is, well, an understatement

Petition passes
05/12/2022

The petition for more public process in fire and police stations needed 768 signatures, and all tallied up, received 771 valid signatures.

Florida Man 
05/05/2022
By Elizabeth Barrett, Animas High intern

We’re all familiar with location-based stereotypes, constantly witnessing their incarnations: Texan cowboys, Californian “dude bros,” and our very own Coloradan potheads, to name a few.

Hold your fire
04/28/2022

It doesn’t appear weather conditions will line up this spring for a prescribed burn on Animas City Mountain, intended to create a buffer around the City of Durango

Read All Stories in the Pole