Could it be that Des Moines’ favorite winter playground is already looking forward to spring?

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park is undergoing a massive renovation on the east side of town. The property was acquired by the Polk County Conservation Board and the feature attraction will be a year-round ski hill covered in a slick, artificial surface called “Snowflex.”

Work there has been moving quickly.

“The weather cooperated,” says Jessica Lown of the Polk County Conservation Board. “We didn’t have a lot of rain, didn’t slow down construction, and so we feel really good about where we are. We’re excited to open in the spring of 2024.”

That’s right—the sleds, skis and snowboards will have to wait until the snow is…gone?

“In order for us to really have consistent and reliable winter operations,” Lown explains, “we need to update our snow-making system. This is so we can make snow at the progressively warmer temperatures that we’re seeing throughout Iowa winters. So right now we’re just looking forward to the Snowflex in the summer.”

The snow-making equipment upgrades are expected by 2026. Not only will it be used to cover the other areas of the Sleepy Hollow hill, it will be used on the Snowflex as well.

“In order for us to run that hill in snow,” Lown says, “we need to have enough snow on top of the actual Snowflex surface that would enable us to groom it, to properly maintain it without damaging it underneath the layer of snow.”

The property renovations will also include a new pond for fishing.