SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – When the weather gets as cold as it has been, lately, Siouxlanders start thinking about Cone Park. The park is starting to get some natural and man-made snow on the ground and ice on it’s skating rink.
“I’ve learned more about snow than I’ve thought I would know,” said John Byrnes, the Recreation Coordinator for Sioux City’s Parks and Recreation.
Byrnes is no weatherman, but he does know a thing or two about making snow.
“The humidity, the air pressure, the altitude all goes into making a score that we use. That score is used to determine if we can make snow or not, so there’s a lot that goes into it,” said Byrnes.
The park needs temperatures consistently in the low 20’s for the snow made by snow blowers to stick and form the slopes.
“Even from the safety standpoint like making the hill in such a way where there is a reverse grade at the bottom. So, once you’re coming down you’re slowing down naturally,” said Byrnes.
Once the slopes are ready to go, Byrnes hopes changes to the bunny hill, the hours of operation and a concession stand will help bring visitors to the park.
“The last couple of years have been very consistent right at 20,000. In the first year we were just over 20,000 and last year we were right under 20,000. So we’re hoping year three is right at the 20,000 again,” said Eric Griffith, the recreation supervisor for Sioux City Parks and Recreation.
Visitors from as far away as Omaha and Sioux Falls have made the trip to Cone Park, and that’s an economic boost for Sioux City.
“Cone Park pulls in families from about an hour, hour and a half away. They don’t just come to tube. They also come to eat, go shopping at the mall,” said Griffith.
“[There’s been] A lot of good feedback on it. It’s all been really positive. We finally have everything dialed into the point where we think it’s going to be a fantastic season,” said Byrnes.
As of right now, the park is set to open on December 20. Officials say it’s the perfect day for Sioux City as its the first day of Christmas break for kids.