Gateway Parks snow adventure park at Alpine Hills will help you feel young again

Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke (center) prepares his tube to go down the hill.
Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke (center) prepares his tube to go down the hill.

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

It’s said one of the best ways to feel young again is to do something you did when you were a kid. I had such an opportunity this past week. Thanks to the Rockford Park District and the new Gateway Parks at Alpine Hills, I got to do some snow tubing, something I haven’t done in quite a long time.

The snow adventure park in the winter and golf center during the warmer months is at 4402 Larson Ave. They opened in December for snowboarding, tobogganing, snow tubing and skiing. In their first month of operation, they’ve welcomed more than 2,500 visitors.

Elected officials, program speakers and special guests were invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Recreation Laurie Anderson said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Gateway Parks to bring this world-class terrain and tubing park to our community. Residents can ride where they reside, and have some fun outdoors this winter.”

Thanks to state-of-the-art snow-making equipment, the park is fully operational for all of their winter activities. Alpine Hills is open Saturday and Sunday (and any time school is out) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekdays (Wednesday-Friday) from 4 to 8 p.m.

Guests can purchase day tickets on site at the park’s ticket office. Admission includes access to both the tubing and terrain parks. Tubes are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Personal tubes and sleds are not allowed.

Normal daily admission rates are $15 for residents, $18 non-residents; $8 veterans; and free for ages younger than 3.

Guests are able to choose from top-of-the-line snowboard rental equipment from GNU, Lib Tech and Premier. Rental equipment goes fast; for the best selection, arrive when the park first opens. Currently, there is also a half-price admission special running on Groupon.

Rental equipment prices are as follow: Gateway snowboard, $20; single-deck snowskate, $15; bi-deck snowskate, $30; helmet, $10; and boots, $10.

Feel young again: get out and take advantage of our area’s newest winter recreational park. Trust me, it’s a lot of fun. The best part about it is unlike when I was a kid, we had to trudge back up the hill with all our heavy gear if we wanted to go again. Not the case here. They have a moving “Magic Carpet” (ski lift) that transports you almost effortlessly back up the hill.

A daily snow report is available by calling (815) 227-4604, or email alpinehills@gatewayparks.com. Additional information may be found online at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/alpinehills or at www.gatewayparks.com.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

From the Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2015, issue

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