Ski resort replaces Dubai desert
As the European snow season begins to wind down, despite a sensational couple of weeks to start March, snow bunnies will have to start looking further away to find their next fix.
But rather than flying all the way to the southern hemisphere once the northern summer finally sets in, year-round snow is now only hours away in the Middle East.
As strange as the destination might sound for a snow trip, the 25-storey structure that makes up Ski Dubai is now the Middle East’s only indoor ski resort and the world’s third largest after it opened late last year.
Fresh snow is made every day to ensure ideal ski conditions despite the outdoor surroundings, with a consistent temperature of -1c to -2c year-round, helping you to forget exactly where you are.
The state-of-the-art indoor resort rises from the sands of the Dubai desert and boasts a bending slope with an overall length of 400-metres. The resort allows skiers and snowboarders of all levels, whether they are residents or tourists, to experience real snow. This is complete with falling snow flakes and a log fire under sky blue panels to give the ideal outdoor effect.
While the relatively short runs only allow for a little over 60-metres of vertical drop, this is perfect for beginners or those desperate to get on the slopes in summer. This may initially seem a bit short for more experienced skiers and snowboarders, but with a snowboard stunt park and quarter pipe, there really is something for everybody.
Covering an area of 22,500 square metres, or the equivalent of three football fields, Ski Dubai uses 6000 tons of real snow, which set up a 50 centimetre base. With a capacity of 1500 people at any time one of the objectives of the resort is to try and attract a whopping 500,000 visitors a year. With a day pass to Ski Dubai costing just 220 dirhams (£35) and the lack of competition in the region, it would not surprise
if those figures are realised.
The brainchild of Majid al-Futtaim, the mountain-themed resort is contained within his group’s billion-dollar Mall of the Emirates, partly to lure people to what will be the third largest shopping centre in the world, and to make it stand apart from the many other unusual attractions in Dubai. Skiing in the desert certainly does that! Martin Pegan
Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For more info visit www.skidubai.ae.
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Responsible Tourism – Dubai
Dubai and responsible tourism don’t exactly go hand in hand. Anywhere that builds an enormous water park in the middle of the desert and then spends millions building ever-higher skyscraper hotels doesn’t seem to have social and environmental issues at the heart of it’s tourism development. Travellers visit on a short break or stopover on the way to somewhere else and tend to shop, stroll and sizzle on the beach without much of a care for what’s going on around them.
That said, green shoots are showing in Dubai. The Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary is one of the finest places to spot migrating birds in the UAE, and steps are being taken to preserve this unique environment at the head of Dubai Creek.
Opportunities to see the real Dubai may still revolve around people-spotting in the coffee shops that dot the enormous malls, but camel trekking and diving are both activities that show an awareness for Dubai’s natural resources. And, just maybe, attempts to shift from a reliance on oil to a tourism-based economy might herald the start of greater awareness of ethical travel issues.
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