Ski season is a year-round prospect given there are notable (and formidable) ski and snowboarding hubs and mountain ranges in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. However, indoor skiing complexes provide folks cool opportunities to have a full-blown alpine experience in some unexpected and interesting places. Better still, they are tailor made for family groups and for everybody from beginning to advanced to folks who love the après ski scene.
Ski Dubai, inside the Mall of the Emirates, remains one of the world’s highest profile indoor skiing venues. The “bigger is better” mindset of Dubai permeates the experience with 22,500 snow-covered square meters of skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and, simply, playing in the snow.
Experienced skiiers can check out five runs that vary in difficulty, height and steepness, with the longest “black diamond” run at 400 meters with a fall of more than 60 meters, making it the world’s first indoor black run. Younger kids and non-skiing parents can partake in the ski resort’s interactive 3,000-square-meter interactive Snowpark. Another nice perk Ski Dubai has is the option of packing light, as it offers guests winter clothing and ski and snowboard equipment.
The Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort hit the slopes running last year with one of the most impressive self-contained winter wonderland propositions. Opened in July 2017, it is said to hold title of being the world’s largest indoor ski resort, with roughly 80,000 square meters of snowbound fun, according to sources like the China Daily newspaper. There are six different runs, including an intermediate run 60 meters wide and 500 meters long, the fourth-longest indoor run in the world. There are also two black runs, a blue run, a snow play area with a highly publicized Snow Castle and two 40-meter beginner slopes, all served by an indoor chairlift and magic carpet.
If you are visiting Spain, but the Pyrenees is not in your itinerary, you can still get your adrenaline rush fix at Madrid SnowZone, in the heart of a 250-store megamall called Madrid Xanadú.
Stateside, tri-state area travelers can slide over to Big Snow America Indoor Ski Slope in East Rutherford, N.J. The star attraction is an 800-foot (16-story) ski slope for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, accompanied with a full schedule of ski lessons, a ski-focused retail area, snow tubing, indoor snow play area and an event space.
Families looking for a place to cool off after a few days hitting the rides at Disneyworld or Universal Orlando Resort will appreciate Winter Club Ski. This year-round snow sports destination is more technology than ambiance driven, but still offers alpine thrills through simulators that provide guests the same G-force effects they would experience on well-carved turns on a real mountain. It’s also the ideal place for beginners to have a “dry run” before hitting the slopes in the great outdoors. A combination of instruction and state-of-the-art surfaces prime new skiers to achieve a sense of perfect balance, edge precision and control of rotation. Equipment provided by WinterClub includes boots, skis, snowboards, poles and helmets.