Skiing in the desert
Keen snowboarder and travel writer, Charles Holland, is on the lookout for new, fun family snow experiences. This is his latest finding:
Snow skiing in the desert climate of the Middle East? Surely not!
Actually, one Dubai property can make this experience a reality for you and your family – it’s known as Ski Dubai!
Ski Dubai is part of the giant Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping centres in the world. It opened in 2005 and offers over 22,000 square meters of winter fun!
An ingenious feat of engineering keeps the facility at a comfortable -1 C during activity time, and -6 C for snowmaking at night.
The 85 metre-high mountain (that’s nearly 25 storeys) offers five different runs of varying height and difficulty, with the longest run over 400 meters.
A quad (four seats) chairlift and rope tow whisk skiers and snowboarders to the top of the hill to begin their descent. There are qualified instructions to teach you skiing or snowboarding, Equipment and winter clothing is included in the admission price, so there’s no need to worry about having the right gear. You can even come and ski for free until 31 October on your birthday!
Adjacent to the ski slope is the 3,000-square-metre Snow Park play area, for gentler winter fun – toboggan and sled runs, an “icy-body” run, climbing structures and giant snowballs. When you come off the slopes, there’s a café overlooking the slopes for some après-ski repast.
As well as skiing, boarding, and sledging, Ski Dubai offers a host of other snowy attractions for families. For starters, it’s home to a small flock of penguins who appear several times daily to delight children, skiers and observers alike. We reported on their arrival in Dubai in an earlier story here plus some of their crazy antics for World Penguin Day here.
You can even get up close and personal with these delightful and entertaining creatures! The colonies of Gentoo and King penguins perform an amusing march several times daily, which is free to enjoy, and you can even book a “penguin encounter” for your special event or family get-together.
There are various packages available, each including underwater viewing of these funny tuxedo-clad birds, and photos are available. This month, you can enjoy a penguin encounter for just 145AED including tickets to watch the King Penguin documentary at VOX Cinemas.
For a kids party with a difference, consider one of Ski Dubai’s party packages, which each include admission, food treats, and goodie bags for all participants. The “Ingenious Ed” program offers classes and snow experiences for children under 18, including hands-on activities to learn all about the qualities of snow.
Ski Dubai can be accessed through the Mall of The Emirates west side parking area, and is open until 10pm Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays; until midnight on Thursdays and Fridays and 11pm on Saturdays.
Snow skiing in the desert! Add it to your “must do” list!