The temperature in Austin typically ranges between warm to egg-frying hot. Snow is certainly possible but it’s a rare sight. Members of a development team, led by TASAT Corporation CEO Al Tupushev, believe they can change that.
"And we are going to marry Texas and Alaska, and it will be baby snow land,” said Tupushev.
Making that happens involves building an indoor skiing venue called SnowLand. It would be made possible with special cooling equipment. Similar technology is used at indoor facilities in Europe and the Middle East.
"We think with some of the innovation that Al is able to bring to the table, we can actually create an environment in a sustainable way the public can get behind as well,” said project engineer Patrick Towne.
The plan is to build in three phases. The first will be about 52,000 square feet. Over time additional sections will be added on to the back making the slope higher.
"So we've made it, there is a way that we made it, it actually adjust to the market's demand,” said investment team member Monique Stevenson.
Along with skiing its envisioned the site will include a small ice skating rink, ice fishing, shopping, restaurants and a kids area to build snowmen. Admission is targeted to be under $40.
"The cost to entry point, we are trying to make it where your family that has children they are going to be sitting there and say do we want to go bowling today, do we want to go out to east today, or do we want to go skiing in Texas, on snow,” said investment team member Sam Barton.
The location has not officially been identified but FOX 7 has been told offers have been made on two tracts of land in the metro area. A site announcement is expected later this summer. Its estimated Phase 1 will cost up to $30 million. The bulk of the cash to build will come from private investors although the team is seeking to win an economic development incentive package from the town they locate in.
SnowLand is being launched at a time another family entertainment venue had to shutdown and reboot. The city of Pflugerville hired a new management company for its water park because the original one wasn't able to make monthly payments last year. The SnowLand team is well aware the problems there could scare off potential investors.
"Every step of the way we are going to make sure the demand is there before we get shovels in the ground,” said Towne.
There have been big ideas in the Austin area that have failed to materialize. One was a multi-million dollar tree house water resort proposed for Cedar Park. It got sidetracked, in part, by the recession. Another more recent project is a surf park in Del Valle. It had to close for repairs late last year after being opened for only about a month. Despite those setbacks- the SnowLand team is confident their idea is more than a dream.
"It’s a no brainier; we just have to get everybody else to see that also,” said Barton.
The goal is to have a soft opening of SnowLand in 18 months. If the Austin site proves a success more indoor snow venues may be built across Texas as well as in Florida and California. The project team is also looking at trying to pair up SnowLand with a retail or residential development. Linking up with a hotel developer is also a possibility.
For more information about SnowLand you go here: https://skiatx.com/