Something cold, something new; always fun
ANDALUSIA – Snowstar Winter Park, a skiing and snowboarding haunt, enters its 36th year under new management.
Those who’ve been there before will see some changes, such as new colors and the Happy Joe’s PizzaGrille, but they’ll also encounter the skiing and snowboarding opportunities of old.
If skiiing and snowboarding aren’t your speed, you might be more inclined to tackle the tube hill, which is 11 lanes wide. And since what goes down must go up again, there’s a “magic carpet” to help tubers reach the top more easily.
Snow tubing is available from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The cost ranges from $20 to $25. Tubers must be older than 3.
Skiable terrain is listed as being 28 acres. Beginners get 25 percent of that terrain, intermediate slopes take up 50 percent and advanced slopes 25 percent. The longest run is three-quarters of a mile. A lift system and rope tow are available to get you back up the hill.
Normal slope hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Costs, which vary, include equipment rentals and lift tickets. Packages are available.
To really test your skills, head on over to the Terrain Park@Snowstar,a freestyle area with all kinds of goodies – boxes, jumps and rails included. It’s suitable for beginners on up to the more advanced snow jockeys. The park has more than 40 features and four runs.
A warming hut is available to help keep out the chill, but even so, readers, it’s cold outside, so dress appropriately.
If you want to brush up on your ski skills, or if you could use a hand teaching the kids, instructors are on hand to help. Lessons are available for all skill levels. If you want private lessons, it’s best to arrange those in advance.
One other point needs to be touched on – the zipline. Ziplines usually mean summer, but here the zipline is open all year. No ski boots or loose-fitting items, such as scarves, please. Wear gloves and a close-fitting hat. The cost is $30 for adults and $15 for those 12 and younger. Call ahead for reservations. Tours last between 30 to 60 minutes.
Food and restrooms can be found in the Summit Lodge, which is color-coded in red. The important areas of the park are all color-coded to make it easier to get around. When arriving, you’ll want to look for dark blue, which is the welcome center. This is the spot for tickets, rentals, lockers and restrooms.
Light green will be the color to look for to find the ski and snowboard lessons; the Terrain Park is orange, light blue designates the tube hill; and dark green is the zipline region.
If you like snow and cold and are active, why not plan a day of snowy fun? Otherwise, take a drive to Andalusia, have something to eat and return to your cozy home (color-coded warm amber).
If you go …
What: Snowstar Winter Park
Where: 9500 126th St., Andalusia
When: Open until mid-March
Cost: Varied for snow sports
Distance: About 88 miles from Dixon
Accessibility: Call about individual needs.
Information: skisnowstar.com or 800-383-4002