A Ski Rex Media Recap & Review Of A Day At Big SNOW American Dream

Just the other day, October 24th, I was able to get back on the road and head down to Big SNOW American Dream for my first day back on skis in what must have been five or six years. I'll talk about my first day back on skis in another piece, but for this article, let me tell you all about my first experience at Big SNOW and give you a little review of the hill.

For some, indoor skiing and snowboarding are looked at as something bad. Haters do have to hate and they hate on these places saying that it isn't "real" riding, for whatever reason they have to say that. I didn't agree with that anyway, but now I can say, since I now have the experience, that indoor skiing is kind of awesome.

For me, it was something of a surreal feeling that starts in the parking garage. Maybe even right before hitting the parking garage. As one approaches the American Dream mall, home of Big SNOW American Dream, one is faced with the urban sprawl of northern NJ, as well as a decent view of the iconic New York City skyline. It's not a place one would typically be going to get in a ski or snowboard day.

Anyway, from the parking garage, Metlife Stadium is in full view. Again, this adds to the surreal feeling, knowing that right across the street from where the Giants and the Jets play football, a person can take runs. While a person is thinking about that they are watching folks walking through the parking garage of a mall with skis and snowboards over their shoulders. It's a sight to behold. We've all seen that sight before, people walking with their gear through a parking lot, but probably not a north Jersey mall.

I will say the surreal feeling does start to wane as one is walking into the mall. I'm sure that just about every person that is reading this, or is watching or has watched the video at the bottom, has walked into a shopping mall before. Though I have to say, even though we didn't go exploring beyond Big SNOW, this mall does look pretty nice. 

As you enter the mall, where we did, anyway, you are immediately greeted with walls covered in winter, ski, and snowboard themed graphics, all for Big SNOW, obviously. Just around the corner from there, you see the entrance to the facility, which is also snow sports themed. This where one's ticket is checked for the first time and guests get in their first line.

I should note that some of what we went through while entering is based on COVID-19 guidelines. Things like getting a temperature check and being spaced out in a line won't be a thing once the pandemic is over.

Now, after the first line, that group of folks is lead through the retail store, which is also brand new and very nice and very well stocked with gear, to another line where guests get their RFID bracelet. The bracelet is now a person's ticket and locker key.

Since I've already told you that it is a locker key, I'm sure you can guess that the next place visited in this experience is the locker room. This is also where rentals are picked up. The locker room is pretty nice, carpeted, and colored to match the rest of the facility's aesthetics. The lockers are very modern, as I said, locking with RFID. Just remember to write down your number. I didn't. I was lucky that when I sat on the same bench in the same place that I was able to just reach out and open my locker. However, if that hadn't worked on the first try then I would have been there trying to open several until I found the right one. Oh, it should also be noted that this locker room area is for everyone and open, but that's not an issue. There is a row of changing rooms available right next to the restrooms. You don't have to get shy or unleash your inner exhibitionist.  

So, by this point, the surreal feeling has almost gone away. Maybe not the excitement, but it was just a retail shop and a locker room, and let's be honest, no matter how nice they are we've all seen those a thousand times. But, here's the awesome part. That surreal feeling comes back as soon as you exit the area.

The sign is right. The slope is about a blue.
As you walk into the part of the building that has the slope, you're greeted with nice, cold air. It feels great on the face. Then you look around and you can see that you are in what amounts to a warehouse that's on a slope. But, at the same time, there's nice, soft snow similar to what you would find on a spring afternoon at a traditional mountain. It's an oddity, but it's amazing at the same time. It's something to think about how we, in the 21st century, have the technology to simulate an outdoor environment like this inside a building. It really does feel surreal.

Beyond how a person feels, it's real skiing and snowboarding. The experience is very much the same. A person gets in line for the lift of their choice, heads to the top, and rides down. In this case, it feels very much like an East Coast slope. The snow was the same as was the little ice patch that was developing that day. It really was very similar to a day out on a hill.

Now, this obviously isn't a large ski resort, so there isn't a lot of terrain. There's the learning area, the main slope, and the terrain park. The question you might ask here is "Does that get boring?"

It really didn't. I think that is the beauty of the session system. Right now the mountain is only offering two-hour sessions due to COVID-19, but that worked out well. In fact, it really comes down to the idea of time flying while one is having fun. We took a break at one point and checked the time only to realize we had been there for about an hour. It certainly didn't feel like an hour. But, as I said, time was flying because we were having fun. 

It was because we were having that much fun that the hour following our break flew by just as fast. Before we know it, it was four o'clock and time for us to get our last ride in, which went just fine. We made our way back to the locker room area, got back into street gear, and headed out through the retail shop to the car. That's it.

All in all, I would say that Big SNOW American Dream would be an awesome place for anyone to visit. I really enjoyed the experience. The facility is modern, the staff is friendly, they have all the gear you need if you rent rather than bring your own, and it's just a great experience. Does it replace traditional, outside skiing and snowboarding? Of course not. It does, however, give people who can't make it up to a mountain town a chance to get some runs in for a couple of hours, which only costs a person about $35 for the two-hour session, which isn't bad in my opinion. Obviously, those renting gear or snowbikes are going to pay a little more, but even that doesn't seem so bad as they offer a couple of different packages via the website. 

By the way, I'm not a park rider, so I can't judge the park very well, but I can say it had a bunch of features and there were a lot of people riding it. They looked like they were having fun to me, so I imagine the park is pretty slammin'. Remember, as this is an indoor facility, don't judge it by its size. They only have so much room in there.

Oh, two more things before I wrap this up. The first, watch it at the top of the quad chair. It's a pretty basic unloading ramp, nothing all too special about it except that there is a wall right in front of it. That wall threw my friends and I off a few times before getting the hang of it. It's not a big deal, it's just something to be mindful of. The second is that you might not need your goggles. I didn't use mine at all while I was in there. The one time I did put them on I couldn't see anything. It's not dark in the building, but it is when using a tinted lens. If you need to wear glasses or you want to use your goggles, make sure you have clear lenses. Oh, and speaking of what one is wearing, it didn't feel cold to us. We were riding in unzipped hoodies and light jackets and were more than fine. There were more people in light jackets and t-shirts than in full coats. Just something to think about. Test the waters first if you get cold easy, but we didn't think it was that cold.

So, in closing, I would recommend this place 100%. The price isn't bad, the runs are fun, the facility is modern, the staff is nice and friendly, the snow is real snow, and it's just a fun place to visit for a couple of hours. If you're able to visit, I say do it. I don't see how one couldn't like this place.

Big Snow American Dream - North America's first real-snow, year-round, indoor ski and snowboard center.

Big SNOW American Dream is committed to the health and safety of our guests and our team. Please be aware that exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present.


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