HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) — The snow tubing resort Snow Riders is now open for business near Harpers Ferry after a weekend cold snap allowed the resort to fire up its snow guns and lay down a base layer for its 12 tubing lanes.
The resort was initially scheduled to open on Feb. 11, but the weekend weather conditions allowed for Snow Riders to open Sunday evening — with friends and families of Snow Riders employees and contractors linking up with excited tubers who answered the resort’s last-minute calls on social media, according to a resort spokesperson.
Snow Riders is off U.S. 340, near Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
“We’re open seven days a week now,” said Michael Martin, marketing director for River Riders, the resort’s parent company. “And with the snow base we have, we’re pretty good.”
In early January, before the resort opened, Martin said that it would operate “Mother Nature permitting,” with the snow guns relying on proper temperature and humidity levels.
With last weekend’s cold and another temperature drop in the forecast, Martin said, Snow Riders is in good shape for the foreseeable future.
With the purchase of a ticket, tubers will have unlimited rides down the hill for a 90-minute period, according to Martin, and will be taken up the hill by a “magic carpet,” a conveyor belt-type mechanism.
The 90-minute passes are sold from 3 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, according to the company’s website. Tubing will continue for 90 minutes past the end of each ticket period.
Vibrant disco lights and accompanying music will be on in the evening hours to light the path for tubers, which Martin has compared to the ambiance of nighttime bowling alleys.
The resort is part of adventure sports company River Riders’s venture expansion of outdoor activities to all four seasons, according to Martin.
“There’s not too many winter activities you can do in the outdoors” around Harpers Ferry, Martin said in a previous interview. “So we want to be able to serve guests who come around and (want to) really just experience adventure.”
River Riders already offers rafting, tubing, zip-lining and an adventure park in the Harpers Ferry area during warmer months.
To bolster customer safety, Martin said, Snow Riders is registered with the National Ski Areas Association, which holds the resort to a set of safety standards.
“We’re putting a big emphasis on safety and compliance,” Martin said, and added that the company hired a compliance manager to help oversee operations.
The resort has a height requirement of 42 inches for potential riders.
Its 12 lanes are 800 feet long, Martin said.
Snow Riders plans to open an accompanying restaurant at the end of February, Martin said, but in the meantime, customers can purchase food and beverages from on-site hot chocolate and taco trucks.
The resort’s website, snowriders.com, touts its close location to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, both a little more than an hour’s drive away.
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