Eagle Island brings the mountains to the valley

Posted at 8:49 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 10:49:26-05

BOISE, Idaho — Creating a ski hill 15-minutes outside a metropolitan city is steep mountain to climb. But even when the forecast isn't calling for the white stuff, the skies over Eagle, Idaho can be filled with flakes.

"We come out here with our snow guns and we pump the water into the air,” said Ryan Neptune, Founder & CEO of Gateway Park.

Neptune knows about snow. The one-time professional snowboarder is now king of the hill.

"This is our 8th season to get the snow hill running,” he said.

Year after year Neptune bends nature to his will.

"We try and change it every single year add more improvements,” he said, “And we keep adapting and making and reengineering every year to make them a tiny bit more efficient."

Neptune insists building his snow park is a labor of love.

"I absolutely love it here 300-400 acres all to yourself. It’s quiet,” Neptune said.

Typically, he has a 3-5 day window where the weather is dry enough and cold enough to make the snow and get the hill up and operating.

"And that’s just what happens to be Idaho. Mostly it’s a cold dry climate,” he said.

He says the biggest challenge is creating an arctic playground that excites the entire family.

"It’s much harder for me to engineer it and get it to where a little three-year-olds can have the same experiences as a 30-year-old,” he said.

The end result is a hill that thrills and fake snow that feels so real you'll forget you're on a man-made island.