SIA's Latest

Dubai Boarding: From Sand to Snow


By: Agy Ozdowski
SIA Research Intern
January 15, 2013

This photo was taken during a private safari tour across the desert of Dubai. I had the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of one of the most popular sports in the desert – sandboarding! The guide assured me, that no trip to Dubai is complete without at least one slide down a sand dune. It was an unforgettable experience, especially climbing the dunes in 100 F heat after each run. I left reassured that nothing comes close to carving in pristine and pure POW!

Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort is located inside the Mall of the Emirates. For Dubai residents, it’s a winter wonderland creating a true “resort” experience, an escape from the scorching heat and sands. Dubai managers are proud to admit that there is no other indoor ski resort in Dubai, making snow on a nightly basis. The slope offers 5 different runs varying in difficulty, and a freestyle park with a jump as high as 10 ft. The longest run is a quarter of a mile and the peak elevation is 278ft.

If participants aren’t interested in skiing or snowboarding they may indulge in snow tubing or tobogganing and giant ball runs, both located in the snow park at the base. There is one quad chairlift for the skiers and snowboarders allowing access to get off half way.

The ticket options include two hours or a full day. The adult ticket cost for two hours is (180 AED) $50, compared to an all day pass for (300AED) $83. Equipment is included in the ticket price, providing skis/snowboard, boots, helmets, socks and snowsuits. Hats and gloves are not provided due to sanitary reasons. Depending which ticket option is purchased; a locker may also be included. Private and group lessons are available for both skiing and snowboarding. There is also a ski school program, for kids 12 and under.

In need of a break, shredders can lounge at Café Avalanche, located halfway up the slope. The café, highlighted with a pleasant fireplace, serves delicious hot coco and marshmallows and is constantly busy. Ski Dubai Photographers are relentlessly snapping pictures, hoping to sell those memories to all their guests. Directly outside the slope is a retail shop, offering a variety of Ski Dubai clothing, equipment and apparel.

Overall it was a very interesting experience. I’d say the most rewarding observation were the teens, with their decked-out hard goods, and apparel, sporting cricket helmets soaring down these man-made runs.They showed no fear, hitting the (not very well built) rails and jumps. I saw a couple groups together engaged in what appeared to be park lessons. A liftie confirmed it was a ski club. It was very satisfying that even in a place such as Dubai, the desert­­, snow sports are inspiring the youth!