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Chestnut Ridge tubing hill opens to snowy success

MORGANTOWN — It was an uphill climb to be sure, but the Chestnut Ridge Park tubing hill opened to the public for the first time this past weekend. 

By all accounts, it was a hit. 

Monongalia County Director of Parks and Recreation J.R. Petsko said a total of 270 people bundled up and bought a ticket to slide. 

“Everybody has opinions nowadays, and it’s very few times in life that you have 270 people that were ecstatic about what they did,” Petsko told the Monongalia County Commission. “Not one complaint the entire weekend.” 

Ironically, the hill’s grand unveiling was nearly derailed by, of all things, too much snow. 

“As you know, we got hit Friday with a pretty big snowstorm. We had over a foot of snow at Chestnut Ridge,” Petsko said, launching into a list of individuals, county and state departments and at least one private business that came together to clear the roads and necessary areas of the park to get the hill open. 

“This was a group effort by everybody. This wasn’t just parks and rec staff,” he said. 

The county’s taxpayers also played a part. 

In November 2019, the commission used funds from the parks, trails and recreation levy to purchase a three-phase generator and snow-making attachment from HKD Snowmakers ($122,120) and 300-foot Sunkid tubing tow lift ($48,350). 

While the snow machine went into action, it was quickly determined that the geometry of the hill was all wrong to support the tow system. 

The project ultimately snowballed into a four-plus year effort costing at least $395,179 to get the hill reshaped and open to the public. 

The hope now is that it will stay open, but that’s going to take an assist from Mother Nature.  

Petsko said park staff created about 2 feet of man-made snow over the weekend to go with the natural stuff.  He also noted the process of making snow is a little trickier than you might think and requires temperatures of 28 degrees or below. 

Tubing has already been called off this weekend due to the amount of rain in the forecast. 

While it’s anticipated to be well above 28 degrees the weekend of Feb. 2, the hill will open if the existing snow survives the rain and warmer temperatures expected over the next week or so.  

Information on the status of the tubing hill will be released every Wednesday at noon. The easiest way to access that information is through the Mon County Parks and Recreation and Chestnut Ridge Park Facebook pages. You can also call the park at 304-594-1773. 

Commissioner Jeff Arnett encouraged county residents to get to Chestnut Ridge Park. He said the new winter amenity is on par with others around the state. 

“I’ve been to the one at Snowshoe. Other than the fact that they have a lot more snow and it stays open longer, it compares perfectly with ours, and it’s about six times the cost,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing the levy has helped us provide.”  

When open, tubing is available for two two-hour sessions daily on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m.-noon and from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Each session is limited to 50 people. 

Children must be at least 4 years old and 42 inches tall and must ride independently. 

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at 

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