Rushing down a ski slope on actual snow in a mall surrounded by the Arabian Desert is exactly the kind of incongruity Dubai is famous for. Snow machines mimic the natural precipitation process perfectly. Embrace the improbable and escape the heat outside on the slopes at Ski Dubai where the temperature is -1 to -2 degrees Celsius inside their 22,000 square meter facility, year round. With 5 runs varying in difficulty, height and gradient (with the longest at 400 meters and a fall of over 60 meters (25 stories tall), even the most accomplished skier will feel challenged. Or try tobogganing, playing in the snow or just chilling at St. Moritz Café with a hot coco. The local colony of Gentoo & King Penguins put on a free daily show in the snow park.
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It's All Downhill From Here
Admit it; you're just as curious about Ski Dubai as I am. A ski hill in the middle of the desert, on the Persian Gulf, no less, is as wild an idea as humankind has ever concocted – but isn't dreaming big what Dubai is all about?
The slopes at Ski Dubai are no substitute for Jackson Hole or Vail, of course, but then again, they're not supposed to be. You go for the experience of leaving Crate & Barrel, sauntering down the hall, and hitting the hill. You rent all the gear at Ski Dubai--they even have long overcoats for women in abayas. You can ski or sled, roll down the hill in inflatable plastic balls, frolic with penguins, or even just ride the chairlifts back and forth. When you're down skiing, you can head back into the mall for a meal or a movie. Just another day in Dubai.
It's hard to imagine a more cognitively dissonant experience than skiing in Dubai—but in Dubai, if something seems impossible then it'll probably be done.
Ski Dubai's five runs—open year-round—vary in difficulty and height. Beginner slopes are great for the kids (if they're beginners, natch), and instructors will get the whole family suited up (all clothing and gear can be rented) and on the slopes with confidence. There's also a freestyle zone for snowboarders.
We visited Dubai in mid-July on our round-the-world trip. The temperature outside was 109F, or 43C! We decided to check out Mall of the Emirates, the largest shopping "resort" in the world.
We wandered the mall a bit, but we had to check out Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort with 270 feet of vertical elevation. Inside the temperature was a chilly -4C, or 40 degrees below the outside temperature.
Don't worry because they provide snow suits, boots, and helmets for the kids, so you can slip them over anything you're wearing.
Ski Dubai is famous for indoor skiing, but we found there was much more inside the Arctic-like sub-zero winter wonderland: we raced downhill on toboggans, rolled down the slopes in clear inflatable giant balls, and most fun of all, we tube jumped which was exhilarating!
After being launched down a ski jump ramp, you are launched airborne and land on a giant air bag. Super fun and memorable experience! A must see and do in Dubai!