Indoor Ski Centers Make Ski Season Year-Round
In the Netherlands, Dubai, France and Scotland Indoor Skiing is the Rage
By MaKayla Allen
Skiing is no longer just a “winter sport.” Thanks to indoor skiing centers, snow-coated slopes are available to the dedicated skier at any time of year.
All over the world, as the snowfalls diminish due to global warming, resorts are opening up with roofs that alleviate the need to make snow, or wait for nature’s snow. Opening in 2018, Tignes Ski Resort located in the French Alps plans to open an indoor slope to combat climate change. Due to the declining size of The Grande Motte glacier, which has already lost 30% of its ski area, the resort aims to replace this space with a year-round snow dome.
A Growing Trend
Indoor ski centers generate their own snow to cover their slopes, and maintain low temperatures regardless of any rise outdoors. These centers boast the full skiing experience and are equipped with indoor slopes and lifts.
The mountain-top-feeling is now preserved in these year-round indoor winter wonderlands. Beyond ski and snowboard slopes, the centers provide an array of lessons for all level skiers and different offerings for fun in the snow.
A popular trend outside of the United States, Europe features some of the world’s largest indoor ski centers, with others being found in the UK and the Middle East.
Currently, the US awaits the opening of the American Dream Meadowlands megaplex to feature an indoor ski slope located right in New Jersey, very close to New York City.
The pressure for these indoor resorts goes beyond the goal of generating tourism. Instead, they aim to replace natural resources threatened by the rising temperatures from global warming. As a result, these resorts are appearing in locations that previously were ideal snow destinations.
Following after a popular ski resort located in a megaplex in Dubai, the snow dome will include not only a 1,300 foot slope, but also an indoor surf center and shopping mall. The snow dome will be accessible to visitors 365 days a year, which was how the resort once operated when the glacier was larger.
Looking at other indoor skii centers around the world, we can see this tendency to go above and beyond, with resorts offering different amenities and attractions beyond the classic ski slope we’re used to.
SnowWorld in the Netherlands
Located in Zoetermeer and Landgraaf, Netherlands, SnowWorld is the largest indoor ski center in the world with more slopes and lifts than any other indoor ski area.
SnowWorld features one Fix grip 6-seater chairlift and five separte slopes (with the longest run at 520 meters). SnowWorld also features a Fun Park with over a dozen different obstacles to challenge any skier. For beginners, the center offers both ski and snowboard lessons.
One hour € 19,95 / eight hours € 39,95 / website
Alpin Center in Germany
Alpin Center is open year-round with season tickets available for 3-month, 6-month, and annual prices. Beyond skiing, visitors can go tubing, ice skating, or play ice stock, which is similar to curling. The Center also features Toni’s Adventure World, with an indoor playground and outdoor adventure park.
All day ski ticket 49,00 € / Annual ticket for 59,00 € per month/ website
SnowZone in Madrid
Located in one of the largest shopping centers of Europe, SnowZone is the center’s main attraction. SnowZone is open year-round and offers both skiing and snowboarding lessons. It features two main slopes, one being shorter, and easier for beginners.
If you need to rent the equipment (skis, boots, and poles), the fares will be € 40 for 1 hour; € 48 for 4 hours and € 54 for a day.
This price includes both the access and the equipment. Located 20 km from Spain’s capital of Madrid, the center is easily accessible by public transportation.
€ 22 for 1 hour/ € 30 for 4 hours/ € 36 for the whole day/ website
Chill Factor in Manchester
At 180 meters, Chill Factor is the longest indoor slope in the UK. Lift passes for experienced skiers can be purchased for 1, 1 ½, 2, 3, 4-hour increments; or, visitors can purchase an all day pass. The Main Slope is open three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday). Chill Factor offers ski and snowboard lessons, and also offers mogul, ski cross and boarder cross sessions. The ski center also features an indoor climbing wall.
For the littlest kids, Chill Factor also has Mini Moose Land, a snow play area for children 4yrs and under.
Monthly Lift Passes £60/ Weekly Lift Passes £35/ website
Snow Factor in Scotland
The only indoor real snow slope of Scotland is located in Glasgow, featuring a 168m long slope. For the little ones, Snow Factor offers Sledging Sessions all year long.
For the little ones, Snow Factor offers sledging sessions all year long.
Beyond the slope, Snow Factor attracts visitors with a beer hall, an ice bar, and a Bavarian-themed restaurant.
Lift passes are offered at varied prices for Peak or Off-Peak at 2 hour, 4-hour, or all Day rates.
Two hours £18.50/ four hours £22.70/ All day £35.00/ website
Ski Dubai in Dubai
One of the largest indoor ski centers in the world is in the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. The center is its own wonderland at 3,000 square meters in size.
Their longest run is 400 meters, and highest peak is 25 stories. At a size of 22,500 square meters, Ski Dubai features a quad chairlift, tow lift, and flying carpets. Other attractions include bobsled runs, the snow Cavern, and tobogganing hills.
For a view of this large center at its entirety, visitors are encouraged to ride on the Giant Balls or take the chairlift across the park.
They also boast the world first indoor sub-zero Zip Line, the Snow Bullet, as another option for getting that bird’s-eye view.
adult day lift ticket 80 USD/ website