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International Snow Domes

Top 5 Indoor Ski Resorts


International Snow Domes

Skiers enjoy the indoor terrain at Ski Dubai.

Copyright Maremagnum / Getty Images

When North American ski conditions disappoint, skiers usually have one option - head south, to resorts in Chile, Argentina, or attend a summer ski camp.

These indoor ski resorts, located in interesting places across the globe, can provide your "skiing fix" during any month of the year. Snow domes are especially popular for summer skiing. Although the snow domes are much smaller than their authentic counterparts, they can be a nice touch to an international vacation. Also, snow domes are usually located in expansive centers with a variety of other activities, making them perfect for family ski vacations. Here are the top 5 international snow domes.

Ski Dubai - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
While the Middle East does not seem an ideal location for a ski trip, Ski Dubai, the largest indoor snow resort in the world opened in 2005, will make skiers want to reconsider.

Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of Emirates, one of the UAE's largest shopping malls.

The 22,500 sq. ft structure has 5 runs, which vary in difficulty from a black run to beginner slopes, with the longest run at 400 meters. The facility generates snow year-round, with temperatures maintained at 30-35 degrees Fahrenheit. The Freestyle Zone of Ski Dubai has various jumps and rails, which are frequently changed to keep the terrain just as dynamic as a real park.

Ski Dubai is also home to the 3,000 sq. ft "Snow Park," which includes twin track bobsled runs, toboggan hills, and a snow cavern, making it a prime destination for children while the parents hit the slopes.

For vacationers who want to enjoy the slopes without hauling their equipment across the city, the resort also offers equipment and clothing rentals.

The chance to ski and then sit by the warm beach to enjoy a nice drink makes Ski Dubai a great location for your next ski trip.

Snowfun Park - Wittenburg, Germany
The Snowfun Park of the Alpine Center, located just 30 minutes east of Hamburg and 90 minutes north of Berlin, is one of the largest indoor snow resorts in Europe. Its freestyle area is home to the only indoor half-pipe in the world, making the facility a popular spot for ski and snowboard competitions. However, Snowfun Park's green, blue, and even red slopes (the European equivalent of a "black diamond" run) make it an ideal location for a family ski trip. The main slope is 330m long and 80m wide.

The Alpine Center has a large recreational area just outside of the snow resort. For those family members or friends don't feel like facing the slopes, the center offers go-karting on the 1km roofed tracked, an off-roading adventure on a Dinli 300 Special X quad, or the chance to relax in the sand along the beach volleyball and soccer area.

A Van Der Valk Hotel neighbors the Snowfun Park facility, making it convenient to enjoy the facilities while lodging only a few steps away.

SNO!Zone - United Kingdom
SNO!Zone, an indoor snow dome chain in the UK, has three venues: Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, Castleford in West Yorkshire, and Braehead in Glasgow. All facilities are opened 364 days and create over 1500 tons of snow daily. The venues house one slope each at 170 meters long, with a blue run as the highest difficulty.

The SNO!Zones are located within XSCAPE, an entertainment destination that includes rock climbing, mini-golf, bowling, indoor sky diving, skate park, and a movie theatre.

After skiing, stop by the SNO!Bar, an alpine-themed bar and cafe that overlooks the slopes.

Snow Planet - Auckland, New Zealand
Snow Planet, New Zealand's only indoor snow resort, is located just half an hour north of Auckland. The 200m long slope features two pommel lifts and snow is produced weekly at 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility offers equipment and clothing rentals, as well as ski/snowboard lessons.

Snow Planet is also home to the 365 Training Center, which offers lessons for athletes professionally interested in ski racing and ski/snowboard freestyle. Snow Planet offers program called the "Chillybin Club," after school ski and snowboarding lessons for children ages 3 and up.

Shanghai Snow Centre - Shanghai, China
Located in Shanghai's Minhang District, the Yiqixing Indoor Skiing Center boasts a 380m slope that is 80m wide, making it one of the largest indoor slopes in the world. The slope is divided into three sections varying in degree of difficulty. Skis and snowboards are included with the price of admission, which rounds to about $20 American dollars depending on the day and time of year you go.

Additionally, the Indoor Skiing Center houses a very large entertainment area, which includes hot springs, restaurants, swimming pools, saunas, and a VIP lounge. An observation deck is located on the 2nd floor, and the 4th floor is a deluxe club.

The Center provides a free shuttle bus from Xinzhuang metro station every 30 minutes. Otherwise, it is about a 45-minute car ride from downtown Shanghai.

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