DADE CITY, Fla. — Florida, known for its warm weather and beaches, is also home to a snow park — one that's ready for another run.
What You Need To Know
- Snowcat Ridge has reopened for its second season
- After a bumpy first season, the park made several upgrades and improvements
- The park added attractions, expanded its food options, and is focusing on visitor experience
Snowcat Ridge in Dade City has reopened for its second winter season.
The park, with a 400-foot-long snow tubing hill and a 10,000-square foot indoor snow play area, got off to a bumpy start when it debuted last year.
It ran out of snow for its Arctic Igloo play area just days after opening. And then about a month later, it was temporarily shuttered by Pasco County officials due to permit issues.
Lessons were learned, according to CEO Benjamin Nagengast, and improvements have been made for this season.
“We took all the feedback from our guests from our first season, and as you can imagine, opening a snow park in Florida is not easy to do,” Nagengast said. “It is quite a challenge and it definitely challenged us.”
For Snowcat Ridge’s second season, about $5 million of improvements were made to the park, including the addition of two attractions — an outdoor ice skating track and an area with private igloos.
Crystal Ribbon is a 600-foot-long “ice” track that visitors can skate around. Skates can be rented separately or visitors can bring their own. A general admission ticket to Snowcat Ridge includes all-day access to Crystal Ribbon.
Over by the park's Snowy Slopes, visitors can rent private igloos in a new area called Eskimo Outpost. Each of the eight igloos can accommodate up to 20 people and feature a fire pit nearby. It’s being touting as a perfect place for large birthday parties or company events.
One of the new attractions debuting at Snowcat Ridge this year is Eskimo Outpost, which features 8 private igloos that can be rented. Each igloo can accommodate up to 20 people and features a fire pit nearby. pic.twitter.com/N2WYJdSgkJ— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) November 10, 2021
Along with adding new attractions, Snowcat Ridge also made upgrades to its existing attractions.
The snow tubing hill now has several more lanes to increase capacity. And conveyors have been added at the top of the slopes to help launch riders down the lanes. Money also went into buying new snow tubes for riders to use.
Other upgrades at Snowcat Ridge include additional lanes at Snowy Slopes, the snow tubing hill. And conveyors have been added at the top to help send riders down the slopes. pic.twitter.com/ZvwHlAzFMp— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) November 10, 2021
In the frigid Arctic Igloo, visitors can play with snow. However, last year, that presented challenges for the park. After running out of snow, park officials said they focused on improving snow production this time around.
“It’s something that our guests expect, and it’s something we’re going to provide on a more consistent basis going forward,” Nagengast said.
Snowcat Ridge has also expanded its food options — in the Alpine Village, there’s a brand new food court with several food trucks offering a variety of options. The area also has new seating.
Every evening, visitors will be able to enjoy the park’s new music and light show.
The park, which employs a few hundred workers each season, is also focusing more on the guest experience. To achieve that, capacity is limited at the park, with a certain number of guests allowed for each time slot.
“Our focus is not on the number of guests,” Nagengast said. “This year our focus is on the quality of the experience and making sure every guest has a great experience at our park.”
Snowcat Ridge is scheduled to be open through March 27 for its second season.
Tickets to the park start at $26.95 depending on the date. Parking is $15.
For more information, visit snowcatridge.com.