Alpine Hills opens for business - – Rockford’s News Leader

Alpine Hills opens for business


It's the first Saturday of the season for Rockford's only snowboarding and tubing facility, Gateway Parks at Alpine Hills.

Local residents had anticipated this day.

"My buddy Chris is one of the ones I started snowboarding with," Snowboarder Peter Alfano said.  "He told me that we should go up to Rockford today and start snowboarding.  I was like 'what its open?' and 'yea'.

Peter Alfano is from Rochelle.  He started snowboarding at Alpine Hills last year.  The park was open by the end of December back then, but this winter there's been quite a delay.

"We just got a really late start to the year because of unseasonably warm temperatures, but we were able to, over the last couple weeks, make a lot of snow as the temperatures drop and pushed it all out, and built up some fun stuff," Alpine Hills Operations Manager Brice Brzostek said.

Alfano said he and his friends had been waiting and trying to go almost anywhere for snow.

"We actually drove 4 hours up to Wisconsin just to snowboard the first time," Alfano said.

One local family has also been hitting the slopes north of the Illinois border, but this weekend they were ready to try tubing at home for the first time ever at Alpine Hills.

"I said dang it, when is the snow going to come?," Rockford resident Santiago Whistler said. 

He was at the park with his mother Araceli.

"I think today is perfect to come here," Araceli Whistler said.  "Galena is kind of far".

Winter weather delays meant families like the Whistlers couldn't enjoy the park and the facility couldn't bring in revenue.

"We didn't have people paying to ride here so we didn't have money coming in," Brzostek said.

Now the season could soon be in full swing.

"Next week looks really good," Brzostek said. "Its just the next couple of days are supposed to be really cold so we're keeping any eye on the weather for tomorrow and Monday to see if we'll be open or not".

Snow goers are hoping for the best and to log a lot of practice hours at the park to build up their skills.

"It's close to home and just trying to get some practice in for the bigger hills," Alfano said. 

Brzostek said the park will not be opened tomorrow because of low temperatures and high winds, but they hope to be open Monday.  For more information on hours of operation, click here.

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