The Frisco Adventure Park kicked off its third season Thursday debuting its tubing hill operations with nearly 600 people, a record-breaking opening day attendance, celebrating the sunny Thanksgiving Day.
In the first year of operations, the tubing hill was more popular than expected, according to tubing hill staff. Since the first season, the tubing hill's reservations have continued to increase.
"We have seen great growth from the first season to last season and expect to see growth this season," said Jennifer Printz, guest services manager. "With the beautiful days we're going to have, the tubing hill is one of the few places to find snow to play on. I know a lot of people would like to see a snowstorm and ski runs opening up like crazy but we don't - this is the best alternative for sure."
Mike Immer from St. Louis, bringing with him a group of 11, a handful from Los Angeles and "the balance" from Missouri, said the activity was great for the whole family but he was disappointed with the amount of snow.
"In general we're disappointed that there's not more snow. We arrived here 15 years ago for a similar vacation and there was a ton, it's a little disheartening that there's not more snow," he said.
Snowmaking operations for the tubing hill began Oct. 15 but having the conditions to open, has been a challenge, Frisco Adventure Park operations manager Josh Olson said.
"It's been a bit of a struggle with the temperatures and weather we've had - we've only had one cold week for snowmaking since we started," Olson said. "But we're really happy being able to open on Thanksgiving, we scraped it together and managed to get it open and we're pretty excited about that."
Even with the lack of snow in the county, the holiday spirit among the families that traveled far for Thanksgiving weekend and the employees working the holiday, was abundant.
Park employee Brayden Pappenfort from Silverthorne benefited from the good graces of his colleagues who let him go home early after not feeling well Thanksgiving morning.
"This is a great job and I'm so thankful for everyone I work with," Pappenfort said. "It's really fun to be out here on the holiday, everyone looks like they're really having a lot of fun."
The hourly rate to go tubing at the park is $25, and Frisco residents receive a 20 percent discount on all park activities. A 10-punch transferable pass is available for $199. The tubing hill is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.with some expanded hours during the holiday season.
The tubing hill measures 600 feet in length and will have three lanes open today with the option to expand to five to six lanes if there's enough demand. Some lanes are faster and longer than others, according to Olson.
The park has four snowmaking machines to maintain an adequate snow base throughout the season and two snowcats to groom the lanes.
The adventure park and tubing hill slid off its inaugural season Dec. 12, 2010, with snowmaking operations and construction still under way. Since then, the hill has opened Thanksgiving Day.
This season, tubing hill staff anticipates opening five to six tubing lanes, all with different gradients, to accommodate tubers and the beginner ski and ride hill by Christmas.
"If Mother Nature cooperates and we have the right conditions, our goal is to have those areas opened by Christmas," Olson added.