Experiencing mid 40 degree temperatures is a strange kind of novelty in itself, but to experience such scorching temperatures with a set of skis on your shoulder is something else entirely. Luckily the distance between the taxi and the entrance to the Mall of the Emirates was short. Within seconds I was standing, quite dumbfounded, in the most impressive and easily the most opulent shopping mall I have ever seen. Just a short walk from here – past countless designer boutiques, and the world’s supply of perfumes and cosmetics – lies Ski Dubai. Ski Dubai, nestled in the heart of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the largest indoor ski resort in the world – well, it’s less of a resort, and more of a ski run (perhaps one and a half ski runs in total). Having said that, it’s quite the ski run. Vital statistics: two lifts (one quad chair and one poma); length 400 m; vertical 60 m; two gentle beginners runs (both easy greens) and one advanced run. The actual difficulty rating of the ‘advanced’ run is open to interpretation: Ski Dubai contend that it is the only indoor ‘black’ run in the world. But I beg to differ! Its a shade of blue in my opinion – and then only in the middle section, with the top and bottom sections being light blue to green.
Nevertheless, and despite the audible sighs (I can here from here folks), Ski Dubai was fun – really fun (and well worth the short taxi ride from my Hotel at the World Trade Center). Did Ski Dubai remind me of any well known runs in Australia? Yes. I actually think it was akin to the ‘Basin’ run at Mt Hotham, Victoria. Its about the same pitch (in the middle at least), the same length and nearly as wide. So what was the snow actually like (to ski on)? Pretty good! Ski Dubai maintain the air temperature at about -3, meaning the snow stays relatively firm, and dry. As an added bonus, the skiing traffic is also generally light meaning the snow maintains it ‘groomed’ status, with the ‘corduroy being visible for hours (pretty much all day in some spots).
So what the were the draw backs if any? Not many. I had a really good time, and I highly recommend it (if you are there on business or holiday). However, If you are an advanced rider, make sure you go to Ski Dubai while the poma is running, as the quad chair is painfully (I’d rather poke my eye out with a stick) slow. Using the poma, a round trip took around 5 minutes: 4 on the poma and 1 min to ski down (pretty much flat out, making very few turns). Beginners could draw this out to perhaps 10 minutes all round. The poma seems to only run at selected times. For example it closes at 9pm and was closed for a time when we went a second time (just prior to lunch).
Easy. Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of the Emirates, just a Short train or taxi ride from the business hub of downtown Dubai.
Terrain: limited, but fun. Great for a work out and better than the gym (especially if you live in Dubai). 10/10 for an indoor slope; 5/10 if comparing to an outdoor resort (but that’s unfair).
Accessibility: Easy train or taxi ride from center of Dubai (9/10)
Food: I only sampled the ‘on piste’ cafe. It was late at night, and there were only limited options. Not great, but then again, the quality reminded me of Snake Gully Hut, Mt Hotham, only with cheaper prices. (5/10)