Even in the dog days of summer, this New Jersey slope will have a fresh coat of snow every morning for skiers and snowboarders to shred.
That’s because the Garden State’s newest ski spot stays safe from all the elements. Welcome to Big Snow, a 180,000-square-foot spread with 4 rideable acres inside East Rutherford’s sprawling new American Dream mall. It’s the first indoor ski and snowboard area in North America, and the space — kept at a constant 28 degrees all year — opened to the public Thursday afternoon.
Dozens of New York City-area locals, ranging from beginners to seasoned riders, got a jump on ski season on opening day. And they all agreed, in our unscientific (ski) poll, that the place is ski-rrific.
“Being 10 minutes from our house, it’s pretty sweet,” says 32-year-old skier Brittany Vega, of Little Ferry, NJ, who made multiple runs with her snowboarder husband, 32-year-old George. “I get to come here with my husband and enjoy an afternoon on the slopes.”
Though smaller than a typical outdoor slope, Big Snow still packs a wintry punch. There are three trails — ranked easy, intermediate and advanced — as well as a freestyle park, reached by a stand-on “moving carpet,” a four-person chairlift and a T-bar.
“This felt like a solid run,” says 25-year-old skier Brandon Noble, who lives in South Amboy, NJ, after finishing a trip down a trail. “Mountains [around here] are a lot icier.”
Similar to any other outdoor ski resort, Big Snow has a hot chocolate stand, where riders can take a break by grabbing a $12 s’mores cocoa topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. There’s also a shop where visitors can buy new accessories — like jackets, snow pants, helmets and even a pair of skis or a snowboard. All these items are also available for rent with the Snow Day Package (from $49 when booked in advance online), but gloves and goggles are not provided.
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Without rentals, prices for a two-hour lift ticket start at $29 when reserved online in advance.
“It’s super affordable,” says 28-year-old snowboarder and Harlem resident John Ortiz. “It’s probably the least-expensive [slope] in the tri-state area.”
The overall mission Thursday was fun. Competitive snowboarders LJ Henriquez, 11, of Little Falls, NJ, and Noah Avallone, 12, of Queens, spent time in the freestyle park grinding on rails and doing 540-degree spins. Their families look forward to regular trips.
“It’s amazing for us as a family,” says LJ’s mother, 48-year-old Pam Henriquez. “It’s a great place for [LJ] to be able to practice.”
1 American Dream Way East Rutherford, NJ, next to MetLife Stadium; BigSnowAmericanDream.com. Reachable by public transport via the 355 New Jersey Transit bus, which leaves Port Authority every 30 minutes. $9 each way.