Snow Mountain, in its second year of operation at Stone Mountain Park just east of Atlanta, has had great luck with the weather this year. We took the family yesterday for a two-hour session, and I felt pretty good about the whole deal.
I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some answers to questions that I had before going.
First, what is it? Snow Mountain features a 400′ tubing hill, which is actually a huge scaffold system covered in man made snow, comprised of 12 lanes. If you’re familiar with Stone Mountain Park, it’s on the lawn where you watch the laser show. Each lane has a staff member who gives you a push over the edge. The first hundred feet or so are probably a 35 to 40 degree drop off, then it levels out and you slide for about another 150 to 200 feet to a dry, carpeted landing zone. You ride in an inner tube, similar to the ones we all used at the pool when we were kids. These are wrapped with a nylon “seat” with handles and a towing strap attached.
The other cool part is a 30,000 sq ft snow play area with plenty of space to throw snowballs, build snowmen (with provided kits of eyes, noses, and scarves). Our children really enjoyed this part.
What to bring? Nothing. They don’t allow any outside equipment, but you don’t really need anything. We were there for a 3pm-5pm session. The temperature was in the mid 40’s and we were all over bundled. There were people there in many various forms of attire, from those who looked like they had just come from church, to those who were dressed like they were climbing Mt Everest. Ski gear is not necessary on the tubing area, because you don’t contact any snow to speak of. You load on a carpeted starting area and end on a carpeted landing area. Just wear enough clothes to stay warm for whatever that day’s weather is, and you’ll be fine. No special attire required. Gloves are handy less because of the weather than having to pull your own tube for two hours.
We were able to make 5 runs during our two hour window. We could have gone for 6 (we had about 10 minutes to spare) but the children (5 and 7) were pretty tired by then. Because they stagger the sessions (i.e. there was a 2-4 session, ours was 3-5 and there was a 4-6 session) there is a window at the end and beginning of each hour when the crowd is cut in half. The folks from the earlier session are leaving and the folks from the next session haven’t started. So, from about 45 minutes after you start to about 45 minutes before your session ends, there is a good half hour in which you will experience very short wait times.
The procedure to get to the top is fairly painless. You start your session at the bottom of the hill and pick up a tube for each person in your party. You’ll keep those tubes the whole session. You then ride a moving sidewalk up the hill. After dismounting the moving sidewalk, you queue for about 600 feet and then walk up a ramp (pulling your tube behind you all this time) straight onto the launch area. Once you get to the to of this final ramp, there is little or no wait. The attendants at the top do a good job of keeping traffic flowing and are very careful to make sure that your lane is clear before launching you. There are raised mounds of snow separating each lane, and, despite my best efforts, I was unable to jump into an adjacent lane. My only word of caution is to avoid lanes 1 and 12, because they have a wall very close to the side – I bonked my head once going down.
So, go ahead and get your reservations, because they are only a few days left this season. You can make your reservations at www.stonemountainpark.com