Good times in store for Sports Park In Amesbury !


AMESBURY, MA. — New England Sports Park director of operations Tim Mack can make all the snow he wants, but he knows, unless there’s snow in people’s yards, they never think to go snow tubing on his 750-foot hill.

Thanks to a seasonably cold winter which has produced just enough snow for people to get into the mood, Mack said he has been hosting almost 1,200 snow tubers a day for the past week.

“It is a huge deal for us to be open for Christmas vacation,” Mack said. “It’s the first time in, I believe, three or four years that we have.”

A Groveland native, Mack opened the Sports Park on Dec. 22 and demand has been keeping his 40-member crew busy enough to keep the snow tubing operation going until mid-March.

But with a $30 million ice hockey facility scheduled to be built just behind the sports park by Global Property Developers Corp., both Mack and park supervisor Ryan Collins know the good times on South Hunt Road may just be beginning.

“That’s only going to help,” Mack said. “Because once they are done playing hockey, they are going to want to find something to do.”

An Amesbury native himself, Collins grew up playing hockey from Mites all the way to college and is excited about the prospect of six NHL-sized ice rinks coming to his hometown.

“We have a brand-new hotel now, we are going to have a brand new rink with six rinks and there are going to be tournaments for days there,” Collins said. “What are they going to want to do in between games? What are they going to do with the rest of the family? (They will say) ‘Hey, there is a snow tubing park next door. We can do that.’ I think it will absolutely help us, especially with the big tournaments.”

Collins frequented New England Sports Center in Marlborough when he was growing up. Although the Marlborough facility also has six rinks, he thinks there are very few places that can match the 300,000-square-foot complex coming to Amesbury.

“When I played (in Marlborough) they only had four rinks and I would play in tournaments all of the time,” Collins said. “When you are done with the tournament, there is nothing to do. There is a mall there, but that’s it.”

Having overseen the New England Sports Park’s snow tubing for the past eight years, Mack spoke from experience when he said that sitting between I-495 and I-95, South Hunt Road can draw a crowd.

“People come from Connecticut and Rhode Island,” Mack said. “We get phone calls every morning, they are going to be driving two hours and they want to make sure that we are open.”

Initially owned by former Boston Bruins defenseman Brad Park and Ted Dipple, what was known as the Amesbury Sports Park began as a golf driving range in the summer and a snow tubing hill in the winter in the early 1990s.

Dipple leases the park’s hill each winter from current owner Seacoast United. With eight snow guns going for 60 hours straight to start each season, Mack said it makes quite a sight for drivers on I-495.

“Everyone just slows down to look at it,” Mack said. “The people who drive by on 495 can see that we are making snow but the people who don’t are always calling to see if we have snow.”

With the park only able to operate for a little under a month during last year’s mild winter, both Mack and Collins said they are happy to very busy this winter.

“We’re doing awesome,” Mack said. “Too many people say that they love their job, but I love my job.”

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