Indoor Ski Centers Make Ski Season Year-Round

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Skiers skiing the obstacles of the FunPark at SnowWorld in the Netherlands.

Skiers skiing the obstacles of the FunPark at SnowWorld in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, Dubai, France and Scotland Indoor Skiing is the Rage

By MaKayla Allen

Indoor Playground at Toni's Adventure World at Alpin Center in Germany

The indoor playground at Toni’s Adventure World in Germany.

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.

American Dream Meadowlands megaplex opening in 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

American Dream Meadowlands megaplex opening in 2018 in New Jersey.

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.

Europe

SnowWorld in the Netherlands

The projected indoor surf pool at the Tignes snow dome.

The projected indoor surf pool in the Tignes snow dome.

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

Tubing at the Madrid SnowZone.

Tubing at the Madrid SnowZone.

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

United Kingdom

Chill Factor in Manchester

The indoor climbing wall at Chill Factor in Manchester.

The indoor climbing wall at Chill Factor.

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.

The Mini Moose Playland at Chill Factor in Manchester.

The Mini Moose Playland at Chill Factor in Manchester.

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

Sledging at Snow Factor in Glasgow.

Sledging at Snow Factor in Glasgow.

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

Middle East

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.

The exterior of the Mall of the Emirates that contains Ski Dubai.

The exterior of the Mall of the Emirates that contains Ski Dubai.

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.

The Snow Bullet at Ski Dubai in Madrid.

The Snow Bullet at Ski Dubai.

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

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