Say the word to any New Jerseyan (your correspondent included) and expect a knowing, sardonic exhale, somewhere between a sigh and a chuckle.
For over a decade, the planned entertainment complex, now charading under the name “American Dream”, has sat on its rump in the Meadowlands astride MetLife Stadium. The place looks like it’s been abandoned, but then, it never really opened.
And now, after a number of postponements only outmatched in ludicrousness by Xanadu’s vomit-orange, Tetris-blocked skeleton, the mega-mall's conspicuous, magnum opus indoor ski slope is apparently ready to welcome visitors, with a planned grand opening of March 2019.
First off, feel free to go fill entire U-Hauls with grains of salt. The New York Times bemoaned Xanadu's failure to get off the ground as far back 2009 (!!!), even painting a miserable picture of an empty, on-site Cheesecake Factory. But assuming this latest date holds, the ski slope, named Big Snow America, would be North America’s first indoor ski area, and that’s no unexceptional thing.
Run by SNOW Operating, Big Snow would be an ideal spot for beginners, or anyone who craves powder in July and doesn’t want to hop on a plane. It’s climate controlled, makes real (apparently high-quality) snow through a glycol system and is apparently even able to recycle melted snow back into its system.
It all sounds (excuse my blasphemy, NJ) ... kind of amazing. Sure, the place will have those overpacked waterpark vibes in the colder months as kiddies flock in for lessons. But it could be a great option for cityfolk to keep their ski legs about them year-round. Similar to Kelly Slater’s surf ranch, the concept won’t “ruin” the sport as some purists will undoubtedly say, but should instead offer an option to staying engaged in the off-season.
Now, did Xanadu really need all these years to finally achieve something remotely desirable? To quote the late Anthony Bourdain: “New Jersey is a cultural petri dish from which regularly issues forth greatness.”
Seems pretty on brand to me.
Images: American Dream
Brad Miller / Wikimedia Commons