Plans to build a synthetic snow slope in the South Bay have gained a good amount of social media traction, but not much in reality. After talks with Morgan Hill in 2009 and 2010 about building one east of Highway 101, developer Martin Benik withdrew his application because of the high cost of an environmental review.

But Benik’s persistent, if anything. Years later, he’s determined to find investors, even if it’s crowdsourced through Kickstarter. He’s still collecting signatures (which he says have passed the 10,000 mark) through his online petition at and continues to build support on Facebook and Instagram.

The original project was estimated to cost about $18 million, but at this point Benik says he’ll be happy to build with whatever he raises from supporters, giving donors a say in how they’d like the thing designed and what amenities to include. Since his organization, SnowFlex, is a nonprofit, he says, there’s no investment opportunity.

“But the more money we raise, the bigger and cooler this park can be,” he says. “People can vote on what they want to ski on.”

The snow is what he calls a high-performance synthetic turf that never melts. Water mist lubricates the surface, while underneath lies a shock-absorbent layer a lot like a wrestling mat.

A location has been tough to nail down. Benik jumped the gun a couple times, posting fliers online in December that advertised the project as “Coming soon to Lake Cunningham Park,” a public recreation area in East San Jose. The city has its own parks priorities years in the making and says the snow park isn’t one of them.

Benik changed the flier to say it’s coming to the Bay Area in general. No word yet on where, though he hinted about an abandoned landfill.

For the park to come to San Jose, Benik would have to strike up conversations again with the city. The Peninsula Press reported in March that the city had yet to receive a petition from Benik. City manager spokesman Dave Vossbrink says the whole deal sounds like a long shot.

“As with any idea for new city services or facilities … there would be the inevitable conversations about costs for building and operating,” he says. “Given the ongoing constraints on the city’s general fund, this would not be easy.”

Even if funding was provided, it’s a long road ahead.

“Process-wise, this would have to go through a serious vetting in terms of what our priorities are for city parks and recreation facilities/services (i.e. what comes first, re-opening community and senior centers, extending swimming pool hours, etc.), and then of course a budget process. Unless some Facebook zillionaire wants to contribute the necessary resources to make it happen.”

Benik is basing his project off of an artificial snow slope in Virginia. All he needs, he says, is a sizeable chunk of land to build a mini mountain. He could even use dirt dug up from the BART extension project to create it, he suggests.

There’s a lot of info Benik’s keeping to himself right now, pending the launch of a promotional video he’s working on that’s slated for release in two or three weeks.