Winter is not everyone’s favorite season, but there are some awesome things that you can only do during the coldest months of the year. Snowsports are some of the best parts of living in the Midwest! Thankfully, we have an awesome resource, brought to us by the Rockford Park District, located right in the middle of the city.
The Snow Park at Alpine Hills is a five-acre park divided into three sections for family fun – a terrain park, tubing hill, and outdoor ice skating rink. There’s a surface lift (magic carpet) that takes riders from the bottom of the tubing hill and snowboard course so you spend more time going down the hill than you do walking back up!
Rockford gets about 37 inches of snow per year that only lasts for part of the winter. That’s not enough to run a snow park all winter, so the Snow Park makes their own snow! You can find out more about the process here. The Snow Park also uses snow cat machines to make sure the snow is evenly distributed on the hill.
Though the Snow Park took the year off in winter 2019-2020, it decided to open back up for the 2020-2021 winter season to give families a chance to get outside and enjoy outdoor activities while staying safe.
Where is the Snow Park at Alpine Hills located?
The Snow Park at Alpine Hills is located at 4402 Larson Avenue in Rockford. It’s right off Alpine Road, very close to the Alpine and East State intersection. It is directly across Alpine from Alpine Park, home of one of the cutest playgrounds in Rockford, Paulyground.
When is the Snow Park at Alpine Hills open?
The Snow Park is open Thursday through Friday from 4 pm – 8 pm.
Saturday through Sunday from 10 am – 8 pm/
School’s Out Days (following the RPS205 calendar) from 10 am – 8 pm
This year, advanced reservations are required to have fun at the Snow Park. Reserve your time here.
The Snow Park does sometimes close due to inclement weather. However, we were there after a snowstorm while it was still snowing and things were running smoothly!
What can you do at the Snow Park at Alpine Hills?
The Snow Park has a little something for everyone! There is a four lane tubing hill, a terrain park, and an outdoor ice skating rink. There are plans to make a play area for tots in the future.
Tubing at the Snow Park
Tubing is for kids ages 4 and up. Adults can tube too! Kids must be 6 years old and 42 inches tall to ride in a tube alone. Ages 4-5 can use a mini tube and ride tandem with an adult. Guests who are under the height requirement must use a mini tube.
We spent our day tubing! We went as a family of four (husband, myself, 3 year old son, and 6 year old daughter). 90 minutes of tubing cost us $24. The time frame was perfect. The kids enjoyed it, but as they started getting cold and tired of riding, it was time to go.
The hill is well maintained with ridges of snow preventing riders from bumping into each other. A ramp at the end of the hill slides you backward until you stop. The ride was quick, but not scary. Both of my kids (3 and 5 years old) enjoyed it and were not scared.
Tubing time slots are available for 90 minutes each.
The cost for tubing is $8 per person.
Snowboarding at the Snow Park
The terrain park offers a few places to do tricks including boxes. You must bring or a metal edged snowboard to participate, no plastic snowboards are allowed. Snowboards are available for rental for $45 for a board, helmet, and lift ticket.
If you don’t know how to snowboard, lessons are available on Saturdays for beginners and novices. Lessons are for kids 8 years old and up and cost $30 per person. Register for lessons here.
The cost is $12 for admission (BYOB).
Rental is $45 for a board, helmet, and admission.
Helmets and boards can also be rented individually.
Terrain park time slots are 3 hours long.
Ice Skating at the Snow Park
The ice rink is a new addition for the 2021 season. Families can enjoy skating in the great outdoors.
The cost for ice skating is $5 per person.
The time slot for ice skating is 60 minutes.
Skate rental is $2 per person.
The Lodge at the Snow Park
The Lodge has a variety of snacks and drinks available for purchase as well as bathrooms for patrons to use. Masks are required while in the lodge.
How is the Snow Park handling COVID?
The Snow Park is keeping things safe by doing a few things:
- They are limiting the number of people on the hill at one time. Reservations are capped at 50 people on the hill at a time.
- They are requiring face coverings or masks when you are at the Snow Park.
- They take your temperature when you arrive.
Tips for Enjoying Your Time at the Snow Park
Visit the Lodge first to get your lift ticket and temperature check. Be sure to wear a mask while you’re inside.
Dress warmly! Snow pants for everyone! If you don’t own snowpants as an adult, I highly recommend buying some. It makes being outdoors in the winter so much more enjoyable because you are not cold at all. Kids and adults should wear snowpants while tubing as snow does spray up into the tube.
Bring a change of masks. Your mask will likely get wet while tubing or snowboarding. Bring a second one or wear a scarf over yours to keep it dry.
Get some hot cocoa after you’re done. Nearby local coffee shops include
- Meg’s Daily Grind (1141 N Alpine Rd, Rockford, IL)
- Velvet Robot (116 N Madison St, Rockford, IL)
- Rockford Roasting Company (206 N Main St, Rockford, IL)