Ski and ride indoors and on dry slopes… anytime at all

Newsroom Best Of Topics Ski and ride indoors and on dry slopes… anytime at all

Hold on. It doesn’t have to be snowing in the mountains to lure you to the ski slopes. The fact is there is at least one alternative in the U.S. and a whole bunch of options in the UK and, for that matter, even in Asia. More will be coming along.

One ready-to-ski-or-ride option in the U.S. has been years in the making with various sputters and starts. But, no matter, it’s what’s available now that matters. It’s called Big Snow American Dream.

Here, as they say, every day is a snow day. Maybe not a “powder day,” but a snow day never-the-less. And, you know the old saw… “a day on the slopes is better than a day in the office.”

This is a huge indoor skiing and snowboarding “park” within the American Dream shopping and entertainment developments in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. The official opening was Dec. 5, 2019 and, of course, was forced to close during the pandemic months. But, again the past is prologue and it’s open and waiting for you.

Big Snow is a four-acre “park” covered with 5,500 tons of snow, packed to a two-foot depth and is open all year-round. You can enjoy the beginner trail called the “Lil’ Dipper” or the intermediate trail known as “Switchback” and a more advanced trail called “Northern Lights.” There’s a terrain park, too.

Lessons at Big Snow
Learn to ski on the indoor slopes of Big Snow American Dream in N.J.

There are four Doppelmayr-CTEC lifts: a magic carpet serving the beginners’ slope and a quad and platter lift serving the other two. The slopes are 1,000 feet long with an altitude of 160 feet with a maximum pitch of 26 percent. The temperature is a constant 28 degrees. There’s a ski school, clothing rental, food service, and spectator area. The ski center tries to prevent overcrowding by booking time slots in advance.

There are several ticketing packages, depending on hours, the need of equipment and other items. Click here for details.

Dry or artificial ski slopes mimic the attributes of snow by using materials that are stable at room temperature, enabling people to ski, snowboard, and tube on them. Vertically small as they are, dry ski slopes are popular in the United Kingdom, although there are several scattered across Europe, the U.S. and South America.

Dry slopes and domes in Europe

 

It consists of the main slope with a terrain park and a beginner slope totaling more than 40,537 square feet of skiable terrain. Instruction is available and first-timers are required to start on the beginner slope to get accustomed to the synthetic surface. The complex can handle 100 people per hour.

The ski area offers a cafe and full-service rental shop stocked with ski, snowboard, and tubing gear. A deck overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Big Snow is an anomaly in the United States and, while there are others on the so-called drawing board, they aren’t here yet. But, in Europe and elsewhere across the globe, there’s a combination of dry slopes (made of synthetic materials) and similar ski domes.

But, there’s one big “dry slope complex” in the U.S. at Liberty University. It’s called Liberty Mountain and the complex rolls over an acre on Candlers Mountain. It consists of the main slope with a terrain park and a beginner slope totaling more than 40,537 square feet of skiable terrain. Instruction is available and first-timers are required to start on the beginner slope to get accustomed to the synthetic surface. The complex can handle 100 people per hour.

The ski area offers a cafe and full-service rental shop stocked with ski, snowboard, and tubing gear. A deck overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The king of synthetic corn dry slopes in the United Kingdom. Brits have access to — count ’em — about 50 active dry ski areas today, the most anywhere in the world. That’s where many Brits learn to ski and then they export their newfound ability to easy-to-reach France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy as well as the occasional holiday on American slopes.

Those dry slopes are essentially outdoor man-made ski runs built into hills. Since they are “dry” and snow is not needed, these slopes can sprout up on any hill, anywhere at any temperature. Most are about a mile in length.

Traveling to the UK for whatever reason? The longest slope is Snowtrax in Dorset. Others you might want to stretch your ski legs on (so you have great pares-ski stories when you return home) are Ski & Snowboard Centre in Cardiff, Wales; Ski Rosendale in NW England; Landedno Ski Slope, also in Wales. If business or pleasure takes you London, grab a quick few runs at Chatham Ski Center, just 45 minutes from the big city.

You’ll find dry slopes of one sort or another in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Switzerland, Turkey, South Korea, China and The Netherlands. The

Indoor ski slopes that have been developed over the past several years differ from dry ski slopes in that they are inside huge buildings kept at near-freezing temperatures and, like mountain ski resorts, use sophisticated snowmaking technology and guns to create a real snow surface.

Real snow centers are found the world over, including the Middle East, giving basically city dwellers access to instruction and preparation for ski or snowboard holidays, exercise, and fun.

Indoor ski slopes are located in Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Dubai. South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The largest dry slope is in Veduchi, Russia at 1,130 meters.

 

DUBAI, UAE - NOVEMBER 21, 2018: Ski Dubai indoor ski resort
DUBAI, UAE: Ski Dubai indoor ski resort. Credit: M101Studio, Shutterstock.com (2018)

 

 

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