Finding snow in the Lake Travis area is not easy. You may have visited the Hill Country Galleria for a snow day in December, but busting out a snowboard or skis to get warmed up before your spring skiing trip to the mountains is not happening. Until now … there’s a place not too far from here that you can make some turns or take the kids tubing. The Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels opened up a new feature this past summer — the TSR Snowpark.
You can get there by jumping on I-35 and heading south, or if you’re traveling from the Lake Travis area there’s the option to take the scenic route without adding too much time. Take the road less traveled for this Lake Travis area excursion by following Hamilton Pool Road to Hwy 12, head into Wimberley and through Dripping Springs.
These two classic Hill Country towns are a great place to stop for a bite to eat on the way out to the slopes. Highway 12 will dump you off in San Marcos and from there it’s just a short drive south on I-35 to exit 195 and to the parking lot of the Texas Ski Ranch. Who knows … with all the crazy traffic on I-35, taking the back way might be a little quicker — plan on a little over an hour on the road (map).
You’ll find all kinds of fun at Texas Ski Ranch and you’ll have no problem making a day out of it — but what about the snow? The folks at TSR built up a little hill and lined it with what looks and feels like artificial turf. No, it’s not as white as snow, but hey … we’re in Texas! If you ever want to try snowboarding without going to where it snows, this is the perfect opportunity to get on the slopes.
TSR has clinic and private lessons available for anyone that wants to learn the basics of snowboarding. I opted to put my son in the two hour clinic and hung around to take photos and listen in on the instructors tips. The clinics are limited to 5 people and last two hours.
The instructor starts you out on a smaller part of the hill to teach you the basics of starting and stopping. From there, you slowly work your way up to higher spots on the hill and practice getting the feel of sliding down the blue turf. It didn’t take long for my son to pick it up as he was all smiles and sliding down the hill. As any parent can understand, my little know-it-all was much more willing to take instructions on how to snowboard from someone other than his dad — money well spent!
After his clinic, I rented a board and spent an hour going up and down the hill with him. I must admit, it’s a lot of fun and you’ll get a good feel for snowboarding if you’ve never tried it before. If you’re not up for snowboarding, you can rent a tube and take runs down the tubing hill. After a couple hours of making turns and trying our skills on the features, we decided to call it quits and grab some food at Wahoo’s Fish Taco which is located on the second floor of the main TSR building.
We enjoyed a cool January day on the slopes and will definitely be back in the summer to try some of the other activities. You can wakeboard at the cable park, try acrobatics in the trampoline park, or have a wakesurf session on the lake. It’s really a neat place and worth the drive to try something different. Snowboarding and tubing down a hill in Texas … who would’ve thought?
By the end of the day, we enjoyed spending a lot of time going up and down the slopes together, watching the sun go down as the shadows cast over the hill, and a cup of hot chocolate. It’s not easy to wear a seven year old boy out, but this kid slept all the way home.