Big SNOW at American Dream in New Jersey
Credit: Courtesy of Big SNOW

Ski fans in New York City can now hit the slopes all year round without even leaving the metro area as the Big Snow officially opens in the American Dream.

The long-awaited indoor ski slope, open Thursday, is the latest attraction at the East Rutherford, NJ, complex, which also hosts the indoor Nickelodeon Universe theme park and an ice skating rink. It will eventually be home to an NYC-themed aquarium and a water park, as well as hundreds of stores.

Big Snow at American Dream Mall
Credit: Deanne Kaczerski

The new 16-story slope features four acres of skiable terrain with 5,500 tons of man-made snow and a 160-foot drop to test even the most advanced skiers and snowboarders. And the best part is the temperature: 28 degrees all year long.

“People associate East Coast skiing and snowboarding with ice. The reason why that happens is because in the outdoor environment here in the Northeast, there’s a lot of variability of weather and you go through freeze and thaw cycles so that creates ice,” Hugh Reynolds, the vice president of marketing and sales at Snow Operating, which operates the slope, told Travel + Leisure. “We have the luxury of being able to control the weather indoors.”

Reynolds said snow is made every night after the indoor mountain closes. It’s then groomed and allowed to set before more snow is made “so every morning our guests get fresh tracks.” The park is able to make 1,100 gallons of snow each hour.

“It’s got a nice squeak to it,” he said. “It’s not powder snow, it’s definitely groomed snow, but it’s a good-quality snow, it holds an edge well, it’s super predictable. It’s really fun to ski and ride on.”

Beginners can start out at the learning hill while more advanced skiers and riders can hit the main slope, which is divided into two runs: an intermediate blue run for those who want a challenge and a black diamond expert run for those who really know their way around a mountain. There’s also a terrain park to hone your best jumps and tricks.

Lindsey Vonn at Big Snow at American Dream Mall
Credit: Courtesy of Big SNOW

The slope will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — late enough to settle in for a truly special hot chocolate and listen to a DJ spin tunes after a long day of working up a sweat on skis.

“To be able to take your family on a trip to New York City to experience a Broadway show, to go to the Statue of Liberty, to eat in amazing restaurants, and then take a day trip here in the middle of the summer or the winter… and do both on one [trip], it’s pretty special,” Reynolds said.