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No snow? No problem

12/12/2012

Night and morning temperatures are fit for snow-making at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park on Dean Avenue in Des Moines.

While it may not look like it, the perfect storm for winter sports is brewing in central Iowa. Cold nights and warm days make for ideal skiing, tubing and snowboarding, and just in time, too, as Sleepy Hollow Sports Park re-opens on Friday, Dec. 14, despite the record shortage of snow.

“The warmer temperatures during the day make it more enjoyable for people to get out on the slopes,” said Sleepy Hollow owner Rick Flatt. “At night it’s cold enough for us to make snow. This is the perfect mix of temps — warm days and cold nights.”

Tubing season will open at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park on Friday night.

“We’ll be open at 5 p.m. Friday, and on Saturday the rest of the runs will be open for skiing and snowboarding,” Flatt said. “We may not have 100 percent of the trails open, but we’ll have all three sports available.”

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Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone has been busy making snow, too, with plans for a Dec. 14 opening for skiing and snowboarding. According to Seven Oaks owner Joel Bryan, a Dec. 8 opening was planned, but warm temperatures and rain melted much of the snow that had been made, forcing the date to be moved.             

“We pushed snow last night (Dec. 5), and it was looking good,” said Bryan. “But with the warm temps and rain, we continue to melt. We’re expecting great snowmaking conditions to return Sunday night (Dec. 9).”              

Both central Iowa ski and tubing facilities are counting on cold conditions so they can be operating at full capacity during the holiday break starting on Dec. 22.           

“We see probably a third of our winter usage during the two weeks of the holiday break,” said Flatt. “We open every day from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2 and offer free beginner’s lessons with every lift ticket.”              

For families, tubing is a winter thrill ride, Flatt and Bryan agreed, and is available at both Seven Oaks and Sleepy Hollow.            

“You know how fun sledding is,” said Flatt. “Tubing is even better. A lift pulls you to the top of our 15-story hill and sends you flying down the 1,000-foot run. We provide the tubes, and kids as young as 4 are welcome to enjoy the ride.”             

Rates range from $14 to $18 for tubing at Sleepy Hollow and $10 to $30 for skiing, depending on weekend and holiday rates. Rates are similar at Seven Oaks, and both facilities offer group discounts. Detailed information can be found online at www.shspdm.com for Sleepy Hollow and www.sevenoaksrec.com for Seven Oaks. Both locations also offer onsite refreshments and hot food. CV

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