Snowball Express (film) A New Yorker unexpectedly inherits the “Grand Imperial Hotel” in Colorado, so he quits his job and takes his family west, only to discover that the hotel does not live up to its name at all and in fact is a dilapidated ruin. But the New Yorker perseveres and turns the hotel into a colorful ski lodge. However, he has to enter a cross-country snowmobile race and thwart the local banker in order to do it. Released on December 20, 1972. Directed by Norman Tokar. 93 min. Stars Dean Jones (Johnny Baxter), Nancy Olson (Sue), Harry Morgan (Jesse McCord), Keenan Wynn (Martin Ridgeway). Filmed on location in the Colorado Rockies. A city ordinance banning snowmobiles on the main street of Crested Butte had to be temporarily suspended in order to allow the Disney crew to film the snowmobile race sequence. Released on video in 1982.