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Dubai Gets the World's Largest Indoor Ski Park

Greg Cruey

December 16, 2005

BBC's Picture Captions

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As of December 2, 2005 you can officially go skiing in (of all places) Dubai. If you're unfamiliar with this city-state in the United Arab Emirates, perhaps that doesn't impress you much. The low temperature on Christmas Day last year was 68F degrees and the mercury climbed into the 80's. On New Year's Day a cold wave took the temperature down to 59F. In December of last year the Agence France Press reported that the United Arab Emirates experienced the first snowfall ever in the nation's history; about half an inch fell in the country's Al-Jees mountain range. Dubai is one of the hottest places on earth...

The new indoor snow park makes winter sports like skiing and snowboarding possible in the Emirates. The facility is connected to the Mall of the Emirates and is styled after a Swiss mountain resort. Ski Dubai covers an area about the size of three football fields and comes complete with chairlifts, five color coded slopes of varying degrees of difficulty (including the world's first indoor black run), and fake fir trees. The park's longest ski run is over 1200 feet.

The park also includes St. Moritz Cafe, where patrons there can warm themselves on hot chocolate and cheese fondue.

Admission to Ski Dubai is $35. The park can hold up to 1500 people at a time and expects about 50,000 visitors a year. Winter clothing and ski gear are rented as park of the admission fee. Temperatures are maintained at between 18F and 28F degrees in the park.

In addition to skiing there is a twin track bobsled run where visitors can race each other. And, of course, there is a ski school inside the park.

The Discovery Channel thought the park's engineering was so fascinating that they made a documentary based on construction of the park.

Pictures on the park are available from the BBC and from other sources like this personal blog by a local expat.

Enjoy Dubai...

In Pictures: Dubai Snowdome
BBC Picture Captions

The largest snowdome in the world, containing the world's third largest indoor ski slope, has opened in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.

Ski Dubai, 85m high by 80m wide, has to cope with average outside winter temperatures of 25C and summer temperatures soaring above 40C.

The temperature inside is maintained at -1 or -2C. Arabs who prefer to wear their traditional kandouras can hire black, knee-length padded coats.

The 22,500sq/m of piste are covered with 6,000 metric tons of manufactured snow all year round.

A local skier stands in Ski Dubai park in Dubai

The $272m resort is the latest project in the emirate which is seeking to become a major tourism hub.

Snow in the desert is such a unique experience for locals who have never seen snow," said Ski Dubai's chief executive, Phil Taylor.