Joe Hession turns on the snow guns at his new, indoor ski resort

Vernon. The Mountain Creek owner had a vision: build the biggest indoor skiing facility in the United States to serve hundreds of thousands of skiers and riders in the New York Metropolitan area. The new facility in Rutherford, which shut down just a few weeks after its grand opening because of the coronavirus, is back up and running.

Vernon /
08 Sep 2020 | 10:42

BIG Snow, the first indoor ski slope in the United States, closed just three months after it opened because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s opened up again, giving skiers and snowboarders another chance to enjoy their sport all year round.

Located in Rutherford, the ski facility provides a controlled 28-degree environment and perfect snow conditions. The chairlift suspended from the roof carries skiers and riders to the top of the slope. The snow guns make power that’s three feet deep and covers more than four acres.

The man responsible for making BIG Snow a reality is Joe Hession of Vernon, the owner of the popular winter ski resort, Mountain Creek, located in his hometown. Hession recognized the potential of an indoor skiing facility that would serve hundreds of thousands of skiers and riders in the New York Metropolitan. He negotiated the takeover of the failed American Dream Mall construction project.

BIG Snow’s grand opening was held Dec. 5, 2019, with tickets selling out until the COVID-19 mandated closing in March. With the lifting of restrictions, skiers and riders are returning in record numbers. Hession and his team went to work, turning on the snow guns, starting up the groomers, and getting the ski lift ready for visitors. For the Sept. 1 reopening, visitors registered online understanding the number of visitors would be limited, and that everyone would be required to weare masks and gloves and maintain social distancing.

Buffy and John Whiting of Vernon hold the record for the number of ski days at Mountain Creek and in New Jersey, at 112 days skiing. When COVID-19 caused the closing of Mountain Creek on March 15, they had 99 days of skiing for the 2020 season. They on hand to celebrate the grand opening of BIG Snow, where they racked up one more day.

Beginners can get all of the snow equipment they need to enjoy their day on the slopes for $70. Skiers with their own equipment can purchase a two-hour ticket for $35. For more information visit bigsnowamericandream.com.

Once beginners have mastered their skiing/riding skills, they can take the short trip to their sister ski area at Mountain Creek in Sussex County. As the winter ski season approaches, beginners and die-hards alike can enjoy longer ski trails, the beautiful scenery of Sussex County and après ski with friends at New Jersey’s largest outdoor ski resort. More information about Mountain Creek Ski Resort is available at mountaincreek.com.