Snowcat Ridge to reopen in November with ice rink, igloo rentals

The winter theme park struggled with snow production and code violations in its first season. But it has plans for expanded attractions this year.
Visitors slide down the snowy slopes at Snowcat Ridge, Florida's first snow park, near Dade City on Nov. 20, 2020.
Visitors slide down the snowy slopes at Snowcat Ridge, Florida's first snow park, near Dade City on Nov. 20, 2020. [ Tribune News Service ]
Published July 14, 2021

DADE CITY — With plans for its second holiday season in the works, the winter theme park Snowcat Ridge will add an ice skating rink and private igloos for rent when it reopens Nov. 10.

Snowcat Ridge features a 60-foot tall, 400-foot long tubing hill, as well as an “Arctic Igloo” with snow and a bunny hill and an “Alpine Village” with vendors and seating areas. It markets itself as Florida’s first and only alpine snow park.

The park’s new ice rink, known as Crystal Ribbon, will be an outdoor skating rink with a beginner’s oval, according to the Snowcat Ridge website. Tickets for the park include all-day access to the skating rink, though skates are not provided. Customers may bring their own skates or rent them at Crystal Ribbon.

The new Eskimo Outpost will include eight 541-square-foot igloos for rent. Each igloo can host up to 20 guests for 2.5 hours. Rental prices will be released later this summer, said marketing manager Winston McDaniel. A general admission ticket, sold separately, is also required for access to the Eskimo Outpost. The igloos have access to refreshments at Refreshers: Beer, Wine & Drinks. Outside food and drink other than water, baby food and birthday cakes are not allowed in the igloos.

Last year, the park received inquiries about hosting birthday parties and corporate events, leading to the idea of rental igloos, McDaniel said.

“It’s supposed to be this almost transformative experience, where you take your average Floridian family and put them in a setting that’s very foreign to the state,” he said. “We don’t have mountains here, we don’t have snow.”

In its first year of operation, the park struggled with snow production and code violations, which caused it to shut down temporarily. At the time, Pasco County spokesperson Tambrey Laine said the park had also failed to obtain a certificate of occupancy and two of three required permits.

After inspections to determine the park had addressed safety issues, county officials allowed it to operate with a temporary certificate of occupancy and temporary permits. In January, Snowcat Ridge announced it would be closing early for the season to focus on new attractions for 2021.

Pasco County records show the park has 20 pending permits from the past year in various stages of inspections. The permits are for shipping containers used in the park, house picnic tables or gift shops and decoration at the park’s entrance.

As new attractions are added to the park, Snowcat Ridge will get the necessary permits, McDaniel said.

“We’ve been operating in Florida for awhile,” he said. “And we’re very familiar with the permitting process.”

Tickets can be purchased for general admission to the park from Nov. 10 to Dec. 31, with prices starting at $26.95 for two hours of tubing. Unlimited tubing for a day is also available for purchase. Parking costs $15.