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Monday August 20, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI is on its way to the ski resorts of Australia & New Zealand. We're going via Ski Dubai which has one of the largest indoor ski centres in the world.

So, here I am about to make the first turns of my trip to the southern hemisphere to ski in New Zealand and Australia.

Only I am not in the southern hemisphere.


I'm on a stopover in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and having the surreal experience of heading to Ski Dubai through the ultra-modern city with the temperatures a sizzling 40+C as I reported in my first blog.

And this is how the first blog ended, with a video:

Ski Dubai has a total area of 22,500 square metres, a 4-seater chairlift, 2 button lifts and 3 travelators.

1,500 people per hour can use the slopes and up to 9,000 people a day come to make their turns and enjoy its other winter facilities.

It has a fun park and an air bag for the freestylers.

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE
















Its longest slope is 400m long.

A speeded up video from the 4-person chairlift makes the point rather well about its size:

And as for the skiing:


Now I'm used to randomly bumping into friends and acquaintances by chance in ski resorts. It is in fact more likely to happen than not.

But I wasn't expecting it in Ski Dubai of all places.

Step forward Chris David who is actually snowsports operations manager of Ski Dubai.

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE
















He used to run the Altitude Ski School in Verbier when I worked for another ski school in the resort, European Snowsport, a few years back.

Our paths had crossed in Verbier a few times, but I had no idea this was where he now worked.

Over a coffee he told me a bit about Ski Dubai.

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE

"It's been going for 13-years now and goes from strength to strength. Around 60% of our visitors are from the Gulf and many have never even seen snow before.

"Some ski or snowboard and the others use the snowpark going on the slides and the other activities we offer."

"We actually get a surprising number of people from the UK and other parts of Europe. Many, like yourself, are heading to the southern hemisphere and chose Dubai as a stop off to ease the journey, see the city and make a few turns."

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE
















"We also get national race teams here to train and a number of freestyle athletes, In fact the UK freestyler, James Machon, is one of our instructors here this summer."

"In the ski school we have instructors form 19 different nationalities and they come from across the globe.

"From China, India and Nepal through to Morocco and the Philippines. And of course some Europeans.

"In fact the head of the ski school here is a Russian."

Many visitors come for the snowpark and its attractions:

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE













Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE
















It's also a tourist attraction in its own right with people peering in from the shopping mall.

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE

And one of the other main attractions for the visitors are these fellows:

Ski Dubai , UAESki Dubai , UAE
















Some might question whether the birds should be housed in an indoor centre in the desert.

"They are superbly looked after by experts and we fund and work closely with penguin conservation and breeding projects to help protect the birds and grow knowledge and understanding of them," said Chris.

And as the penguins waddled off it was time for me to make tracks - heading back through the shopping and into the 21st mega city of the future that is Dubai.

Not your average architecture in a ski resort.

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE

Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE


Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE














Dubai, UAEDubai, UAE
















It had been a strange and wonderful skiing experience for me and I've had a few.

The next time I'll have skis on my feet will be in a few days time in New Zealand.

I'm heading to the resorts of the South Island - Mt Hutt, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Cardrona to start with.

I'm there for a couple of weeks so will likely head up to the north island too.

But I don't need much of a plan as I'm seeing New Zealand the best way - in an RV.

The real adventures are about to start...

And after New Zealand I'm heading over to Australia for a month to see the resorts around Melbourne before going up to Perisher and others.

I've skied in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

But never Australasia so do check back to find out....

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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