STONE MOUNTAIN - Enjoying a warm fall day, some in short sleeves, people stopped and stared at the big mound of snow in the center of Stone Mountain Park's lawn.
It's not a sight familiar with Georgia - especially in 65 degree weather - but the snow mound will grow this holiday season, as the park prepares for the long-awaited Snow Mountain.
"People are really excited about it," Stone Mountain spokeswoman Kelley Swann said, standing before the snow blower, silent as crews fixed a pipe Friday. "It's something people don't get to see on a daily basis."
A survey the park conducted saw that 70 percent of Atlantans had never seen snow of six inches or more.
When it's complete, the Snow Mountain will be at least two feet thick.
A year ago, park employees began to build the snow playground for the first time, but reports of the water use drew complaints, as Lake Lanier reached its lowest point ever.
So the project was put off, and staffers devised a solution to pump water from the park's 500-acre lake and filter it to create snow.
If the ice melts, as it slowly did Friday, a drainage system allows it to return back to the lake. Swann said officials said the lake could decrease by a half-inch at the most, but they expect about 90 percent of the water to be returned.
Swann said staffers have the equipment to blow 200 tons of snow a day, if necessary, to complete the attraction by the opening of Dec. 31.
Snow Mountain, at a cost of $25 per person, will include 11 lanes for tubing, a 30,000-square-foot area for kids to make snowmen and snow angels, to have a snowball fight and play other games and another play area for toddlers.
A snow deck will give parents a place to keep warm around a fire, roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate.
The attraction will be open weekends through March 1, but because of the anticipation, Swann recommends making reservations at www.stonemountainpark.com.