The Snow Missing From SnowLA

What should’ve been a faux-white winter wonderland in Los Angeles is, in reality, a confusing blur of multi-color night lights, tarp “snow-tubing” and fields of inflatable snowmen.

What should’ve been a faux-white winter wonderland in Los Angeles is, in reality, a confusing blur of multi-color night lights, tarp “snow-tubing” and fields of inflatable snowmen.


Los Angeles’s first replica of a winter wonderland should’ve been something with mounds of fake snow, right? One may have envisioned the kind of piles of icy shavings that Big Bear Lake creates during its peak season for snowboarders. Or perhaps you expected to see people sledding, building snow angels and having snowball fights amidst the city skyline.

Snow Los Angeles had a different kind of vision for their first ever inception into the hills of Elysian Park. Opening at the beginning of November, the team promised attendees that there would be 10,000 square feet of snow tubing, giant snowmen, snowfall and hot cider and cocoa to stay warm. While all of these elements were present, it was the way in which they were presented that deterred from the theme of the park.


The event began running at the beginning of November and currently runs Thursday-Sunday from 4:30-10:30pm. Initially, it was probably a little tough to truly get in the mood at first thanks to the last heat wave. The heat only just relieved itself recently, yet tickets were sold out for the first three weeks of SnowLA’s calendar. The current “chill” of 60-degree temperatures serve as a slightly better means of “getting in the mood” to enjoy the gang’s snow land. Its main features, on the other hand, serve as a confusing idea of what a winter wonderland for the city should be. In SnowLA’s lens, it still involves even less snow than what we already have as it is.


The most important thing to point out before you consider attending this event is that there’s no real snow. Nobody brings in piles of ice and the snowfall is actually foamy soap bubbles that shoot out of cannons in one area of the park. The snow tube sledding experience, in reality, are layers of astro turf that are painted white, which lie on a couple of hills underneath large fluorescent lights. Attendees must pay double the price to get eight rides down these small hills with large black inner tubes.

Nearby another set of snow tubing hills, a massive blow up snow globe encourages attendees to hop inside for sweats and photo opportunities. Like all Los Angeles events, a few food trucks are posted nearby with dishes like Cajun fare and upscale pupusas.


As you continue to walk through the park, take a gander at the beer garden bursting with disco lights, playing loud pop jams amidst the other attractions nearby. The true joy is probably the only true snow pit next door, a small 15-square feet of flat icy ground that toddlers excitedly tread through as they get their first taste of “real snow.” Poorly lit, the mound becomes a playground for parents frantically making sure their little ones don’t break a tooth.


The strangest highlight of Snow Los Angeles is probably the inflatable snowmen garden. Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” loops on repeat as you walk through the garden of these blow-up figurines. During this, bright flashing disco lights attempt to make you feel like, any minute now, the stagnant gang will suddenly come to life and accompany you to a dance number or two. When you exit the garden, booths selling cider, beer and hot cocoa encourage you to spend more money than you already did on the flashing lights and inflatable décor that are inside the park.


Who knows why Snow Los Angeles ended up being a playground of tacky lights and soap foam snow? For the $18 admission and the name of the event itself, one would have expected a serious amount of powder. Perhaps, next year, the gang should concentrate a little less on snow tubing and a little more on what Los Angeles really wants to do – walk in a white winter wonderland.

Writer, coffee guru, audiophile, and L.A. native with a B.A. in Literary Journalism from U.C. Irvine. Other side passions and endeavors include public radio, hiking, and playing big Japanese drums.
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