Snowstar in Andalusia is getting ready to open for the winter season, offering a flurry of family-friendly activities for all ages.

The ski park has been busy preparing for the 2021-2022 season, with crews working hard on multiple projects over the past several months, including improvements to its parking lot.

Last week, Snowstar tested out its snow guns and hopes to open to the public Friday, Dec. 17, weather permitting.

This season marks the second one since local couple Doug and Jennifer Harper have taken over management at the ski park.

The Harpers also own and operate Superior Seawalls Docks & Dredge, Illinois City, Superior Marina, East Moline, and Superior South Marina, Andalusia.

While the couple may be fairly new to managing Snowstar, the ski park holds at least 15 years of memories for them.

“One of our first dates was here at Snowstar, and we drove up from where we were living in Peoria at the time,” said Doug. “The park has been a big part of our relationship and our family since the very beginning, and we want it to be a part of yours, too. When you come here, you’ll be treated like family.”

Visitors can expect to see a number of other improvements and cosmetic changes to the ski park this year:

  • Additional offerings and activities designed with the whole family in mind
  • Now accepting online reservations
  • New ticket window shed and snack trailer
  • Expanded warming hut
  • New lighting and signage throughout the park
  • Additional camera systems for safety
  • Updated lift decks and reopening of lift #2
  • Galaxy tubing after dark

Unsure about skiing? Doug recommends exploring the tubing hill, one of the facility’s most popular experiences.

He says everyone from little kids ages 3 years and older to little kids at heart can sail down the 68-foot drop with no skill required.

“I’ve seen 70 and 80-year-olds on the tubing hill and having the time of their lives,” said Doug. “But you’ll want to reserve your spot in advance because the spots fill up fast. Last year, we had it book out two weeks in advance.”

While snow activities are the main focus at Snowstar, Doug says the fun doesn’t stop once the powder melts.

The ski park is open year-round, offering the following amenities and more:

  • Zipline tours
  • The Quad Cities’ only champion-level disc golf course
  • Paintball
  • Event rentals
  • Four unique food and beverages

“No matter where you are or where you’re coming from, we’re going to try to put a smile on your face,” said Doug.

He adds that the ski park is constantly evolving to make the community thrive.

“This place is a big deal for the community,” said Harper. “We saved more than 180 jobs last year, which is huge considering everything negative going on in the world during that time. We look at everything we do from a customer’s perspective — what could make this a better experience? This is our passion. We believe in our community and want to invest in it and see it thrive. It’s definitely an exciting time for our customers and employees.”

Follow Snowstar on Facebook for the latest information about the ski park’s opening date, hours and more.