We recently visited Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park in Dade City, Florida. Here is our Snowcat Ridge review.
What is Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park?
Snowcat Ridge is Florida’s first snow park. It offers a snowtubing hill, an igloo filled with snow, and ice skating.
Snowcat Ridge opened in 2020 with numerous problems: Pasco County shut them down due to fire, electrical, and plumbing violations, then they didn’t produce enough snow, and finally they shut down early due to warm weather.
Snowcat Ridge managed to stay out of the news for most of their second year, except for an accident that left 3 people injured – with one being flown to the hospital.
Now in its 3rd year of operation, we decided to take our Florida born and raised children to Snowcat Ridge as part of their Christmas gift. As children who have never seen snow, they were excited for the unique experience.
We booked our tickets online and arrived at Snowcat Ridge around lunch time. Upon entering, we were ushered to fill out waivers for each person attending. This is where the first issue occurred: As my husband and the children headed toward the waiver tables, a member of the security team grabbed my camera bag while I was wearing it crossbody. As a frequent theme park guest, I’m used to bag checks. However, grabbing the bag firmly while I’m walking was unacceptable – and a violation of my personal space. I brushed it off and we filled out our waivers. Then, we arrived at bag check… where my bag was inspected again. Our waivers were collected and we were given wristbands to use Snowy Slopes and enter the park.
Snowy Slopes is the 60 foot tall, 400 foot long snow tubing hill. Having been raised in a northern state, “snow tubing hill” is a term used loosely. I’d more accurately describe it as an ice luge in single tubes, double tubes, or family-style tubes that seat up to 10. Snowy Slopes also features a light show after dark, but we left before this started.
As I stood at the bottom of Snowy Slopes to catch a few photos, I was appalled at the behavior of the staff members. I witnessed them screaming at guests like they were prisoners in a jail. The issue here is that guests must immediately clear the bottom of Snowy Slopes. This is obviously a safety concern. However, the screaming – at grandmas, moms trying to help their younger kids, and kids trying their best to get out of the way – was heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just one staff member – it was many of them.
After my kids rode down for the third time or so, they stated they were finished – as they had also been yelled at by staff members at the top of the hill. We ventured to customer service to request a partial refund and head some place else. Our thoughts? We had paid over $300 and the staff behavior was dampening the day after an hour in.
Our trip to customer service was short lived. When we explained we’d prefer to just leave and receive a partial refund, we were informed that their registers couldn’t process refunds and that we were welcome to reach out to the corporate office. The customer service agent was kind, but stated we probably wouldn’t get a refund.
Since $300 for our family of 5 is a lot of money to throw away, off to the Arctic Igloo we went.
Arctic Igloo is an enclosed snow play area. There is a bunny slope for younger children to use snow tubes to slide down, targets for throwing snow balls, and a large area to build snow castles, the perfect snowman, or snow angels.
My family had a fantastic time inside Arctic Igloo and returned two times to play in the snow. The staff members were fun and engaging. Our kids were asked their favorite snow activity and told the Arctic Igloo is kept 30 degrees to keep the snow from melting.
To warm up after visiting Arctic Igloo, we headed to Crystal Ribbon. Crystal Ribbon is an outdoor ice skating rink. Snowcat Ridge offers ice skate, training aid, and helmet rentals.
The ice skating was fine, however, the skating surface was full of puddles on an upper 60 degree day. The kids enjoyed the skating and figured it out quickly.
However, we witnessed inattentive skate guards (those are the staff skating around the rink). With few exceptions, the skate guards seemed to be more interested in showing off their better than average skating skills – rather than checking with numerous Floridians that kept falling on the unfamiliar icy surface.
After 45 minutes or so of skating, we headed to grab a few bottled drinks. Here, staff were busy checking their phones as the line grew longer. Then, we watched a staff member roll her eyes and mock a guest as she walked away.
Foul. Disgusting. Gross. I don’t think those words are strong enough to convey the nastiness of the bathrooms. The bathrooms are porta potties in shipping containers. Due to a knee injury, I first headed to the handicap porta potty, so I wouldn’t have to climb stairs in a large knee brace. I entered, was greeted with a nearly full porta potty, and I turned around and left. After climbing the stairs to the main restroom, it was somewhat more pleasant – but grungy with toilet paper all over the floor and empty soap dispensers. I’ve seen cleaner bathrooms at rundown gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
After the disgust of the restrooms, we decided to skip getting any food at Snowcat Ridge’s Alpine Village, which is a food court built to look like food trucks. Your ticket includes all day access to the area.
The Snowcat Ridge venue is adorable. With lights hanging that are reminiscent of a Christmas tree lot, to selfie spots throughout the park, and Christmas carols playing – I wanted to love every part of it. But unfortunately, the staff behavior and lack of cleanliness ruined the visit.
Before I wrote a word of this review, I talked to friends and family who had visited Snowcat Ridge to see if I caught the park on a bad day, was overreacting… or something else. Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t unique. Nearly all of our friends said the same: The staff were rude, the facilities unkept. In a state known for world famous attractions and impeccable guest service, Snowcat Ridge doesn’t just fall short – it utterly fails.
Would I take my family back to Snowcat Ridge? No. Not this season. Not next season. Not even if it was free.
Need to Know
If you want to take your family, here is what you will want to know:
- Ticketing. Snowcat Ridge is open select days from November to February. A general admission ticket cost $30 and up, depending on the day. When booking online, you’ll have the option for the included two-hour snow tubing session, or an unlimited snow tubing upgrade. Two hours was more than enough for our family.
- Parking. The parking fee is $14.02 per car when paid online. There were plenty of open spaces in the parking lot.
- Wear layers. You’ll want warm clothes, hats, and gloves while experiencing the attractions. If you forget cold weather gear, you can purchase it in the gift shop.
- Check height requirements. There are height requirements for experiencing Snowy Slopes. They are listed on the Snowcat Ridge website.
- Private event rentals. Snowcat Ridge offers private rental igloos in their Eskimo Outpost starting at $149.
Tell me in the comments: Have you visited Snowcat Ridge? What was your opinion?