As winter begins to dig its icy teeth into Tech’s campus, students often find themselves at a loss for fun, cold-weather activities. Football games, time in Atlanta’s many parks and other outdoor recreations lose their charm when dressing like a snowman is the only way to survive the plummeting temperatures (especially when true snow is such a rare commodity in Georgia). Stone Mountain, however, has found a solution to the dearth of both fun and snow in their attraction Snow Mountain. By manufacturing snow and sculpting it into a series of tubing runs and snowy playgrounds, this attraction turns winter boredom into a thrilling experience.
Home to Georgia’s only 400-foot tubing hill, Snow Mountain has ten individual tubing runs and two group runs for larger parties to sled together. Tickets are $28 apiece (plus taxes and fees) and there is an additional $15 parking fee for all-day access to the parking lots. The attraction is open every weekend through Feb. 28. In addition to the tubing, there is a snow playground and a snack stand for hot beverages when the cold gets to be too much. If a warm drink is not enough to get the blood circulating again, consider stopping by the many grills to roast marshmallows over the fire and take a whiff of that intoxicating wood-smoke smell.
Because it is an outdoor attraction, warm clothes and layers are recommended. Jeans are fine, but bring an extra set of clothes in case the snow conditions get a little slushy. Mittens and a hat are also a good idea for especially cold days, but keep in mind that tubing does require a lot of moving around. Snow Mountain also has lockers that rent for between three and five dollars, but any additional snow gear is unnecessary since tubes are provided and covered by the ticket cost. Snow Mountain is an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and, while it is “family friendly,” the tubing runs pack plenty of thrills for the college crowd as well.
Due to the fact that Stone Mountain is a popular destination for families, there is a high concentration of small children on the runs, but if little people and admittedly long lines are not daunting, this is a fun attraction. The snow playground is also geared more towards young children, so this might be more entertaining with a large group.
In addition, there is a problem of accessibility. Stone Mountain is about a 30 minute drive from Tech, so getting there could be a problem for students. The cost of parking is also a little high but since it is an all-day parking pass, it is worth it if one stays the whole day.
If snow tubing does not sound like the most fun way to spend an afternoon, Stone Mountain does offer other forms of entertainment. The site of a quarry dating back to the 1830s provides an interesting look into Atlanta’s history and the old millhouse is a great place to take pictures year-round. In addition, a one-mile hike to the top of the mountain reveals a breathtaking view of the Atlanta/Buckhead area. Keep an eye out on the way for the chiseled signatures of the quarry workers who once mined the slopes of Stone Mountain. The hike up is steep so comfortable walking shoes are a good idea, and a water-bottle is a must since the café at the top is closed during the winter.
Whether the perfect day includes playing in the snow and rediscovering that inner child or just a hike around the park, Stone Mountain has something to offer everyone.