Nov 17, 2022 - News

Nation's largest year-round snowsports hill to open in Des Moines

A photo of snow tubing.

A scene from Sleepy Hollow Sports Park when it was privately owned. Photo courtesy of Catch Des Moines

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park's currently closed tubing hill will reopen in July as a year-around snowsports complex, Polk County Conservation officials announced Wednesday during a presentation before county supervisors.

  • A synthetic snow-substitute known as Snowflex will allow tubing, snowboarding and skiing for at least 44 weeks a year.

Why it matters: The project will boost the useability of the 76-acre park and make it a significant outdoor recreational attraction, county officials said.

Catch up fast: Sleepy Hollow, near the Iowa State Fairgrounds in DSM, was for decades privately owned and operated.

  • In warmer months, parts of the park are used to host events like Renaissance faires and concerts — Taylor Swift played there in 2006. (We know, Taylor Swift concerts are a sore subject for a lot of people right now.)
  • Polk County Conservation purchased the property for $3.5 million last year.

What's happening: A roughly $1.7 million redevelopment will begin in coming months, focused primarily on resurfacing the tubing hill and building a new pedestrian lift, conservation director Rich Leopold said.

  • It'll reopen as the largest all-year snowsports hill in the country, Jeff Condon, the department's leisure services manager, said.

Of note: Wolfe Mountain in Branson, Mo., currently advertises as having the nation's largest synthetic tubing run.

  • Sleepy Hollow’s will be about 600 feet, roughly 50% longer, Condon said.

What's next: A lodge at the park will be renovated or rebuilt with a design phase likely beginning next year.

  • Camp sites will also be improved and likely expanded in coming phases, Leopold said.

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