LATHROP – The giggles and laughter drown out the sound of nearby truck traffic on Interstate 5.
Lewis Quintiro helps a father get into the front part of a double tube as his 4-year-old son climbs in behind him and sits cross legged. Dad extends his legs over the edge of the front tube and Quintiro gives a push.
Within seconds the boy breaks into an ear-to-ear smile while his dad starts laughing as the tube heads a 100-foot long run with a 200-foot drop.
The father-son team is approaching 20 mph down the 16 percent grade. They’re passed near the bottom by a single teen rider who hurled downward to the base at 25 mph.
Welcome to Lathrop’s answer to Bear Valley and Boreal – Dell Osso Farms.
The snow mountain that opened a week before Thanksgiving was packed Saturday afternoon. Upwards of 15,000 people have hit the slopes in Lathrop over the past five weeks.
“It’s great when it rains,” said Susan Dell’Osso. “No one gets wet until they get to the landing.”
Dell ‘Osso Farms is the lazy man’s answer to snow tubing. Not only is it a short ride away and not two to three hours on snow-covered roads that may require tire chains, but you don’t have to march back up the mountain. Instead, a people mover risks snow tubers back up to the top where – if it is crowded – they stand in line protected from the elements.
The snow tubing is open through the start of March. Weekends – Fridays through Sundays – have been at near capacity with Bay Area and Northern San Joaquin Valley residents alike flocking to Dell’Osso Farms on Mathney Road just off Interstate 5.
The snow mountain – as well as the 500 displays that are part of the Holidays on the Farms lights that feature a drive-thru as well as train and hay wagon rides – are open daily through Sunday. Then after that, snow tubing and the zip line are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays plus holidays in January and February.
Dell’Osso noted that while reservations are strongly recommended via Dell’Osso Farms website for weekend use, if you drop by today through Thursday the odds are great that all 150 spaces per 90-minute segment won’t be filled.
The snow tubing hill at Dell’Oso Farms opens daily at 10 a.m. It is $15 for a 90-minute session. Daily snow tubing sessions are scheduled in two-hour blocks with the last getting underway at 8 p.m. It’s recommended you show up 15 to 30 minutes ahead of time. Reservations can be made on-line by going to www.holidaysonthefarm.com or you can purchase onsite. There are, however, limited tickets that will be sold before each session making advance reservations the best way to go. Tubes are provided. It is open rain or shine thanks to the roof structure.
You must be 42 inches or taller to ride alone. Those between 36 inches and 42 inches must use the double tube with adults.
There is also a 5,000-square-foot snow play area where you can make snowman, snow angels or whatever you like for a $5 charge for all day access on a first come, first served basis.
Crews will be making snow non-stop between now and the start of March. The machines make 100 tons of snow in an hour. All of the snow melt is captured in French drains and recycled into making more snow.