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Wednesday, 7 February 2007

UAE Update 11: Ski Dubai, baby!

For those who have kept up with The Daily Kimchi, you probably remember that we visited the UAE for Christmas. We stayed in Ras al-Khaimah with Devante's parents (who are working there) and had the opportunity to visit what everybody is talking about nowadays, Dubai.

Located in the Mall of the Emirates (the largest shopping mall outside of North America), Ski Dubai is one of the largest indoor ski resorts in the world. Who would've thought, building a massive indoor ski resort in the heart of the DESERT?! Anyways, Ski Dubai has a capacity for 1500 guests, is approximately 25 stories high, and about 3500 barrels of oil are used everyday to maintain its constant temperature of -1 and -2 degrees Celsius. Want to find out how snow is made indoors? Click here to find out.

This was part of my UAE trip that I was looking forward to most (along with seeing the Burj Al-Arab up close and personal). We went to Ski Dubai on our last day, before our flight back to Seoul. Devante and her parents opted to save their Ski Dubai experience for another day, so that meant Gdog was flying solo on this mission. The price for one adult, including equipment, pants and jacket, and two hours of ski/snowboard time was 150 AED (approximately $40 USD, a very reasonable price). I opted to snowboard since I was an avid boarder in the past. However, this would be my most recent snowboarding adventure, after a hiatus of 5 years or so. This was going to be interesting.

Here is Ski Dubai right next to the Mall of the Emirates. It boggles my mind just thinking about how this monstrous project was built. It's absolutely enormous. It dwarfs everything in sight, making people and cars look like miniature models:


Here is the entrance to Ski Dubai, within the Mall of the Emirates. It was fairly busy the day that I went.


The ticket counter at Ski Dubai. You have a choice of the Ski Slope or the Snow Park. Lessons are available by qualified instructors.


I thought this was interesting. You must have a minimum skill requirement to ski or snowboard on the recreational slope. As the sign says, you must be able to stop safely, control your speed, handle turns, and be able to use the chair lift. Even though this is posted up everywhere, I witnessed some amazing wipe outs throughout my two hours on the slopes. Suckers!


Upon taking a mini escalator to the slopes, this was my first sight of Ski Dubai. If you look at the top right, that is where TGI Friday's is located. We ate lunch there on a previous visit to Dubai:


Okay, let's get onto the slope and onto the chair lift. Your lift ticket is in the form of an electronic card that fits into a zippered pocket on the left sleeve of your ski jacket. You just scan this part of your arm against the machine and it tells you how many minutes are remaining on your ticket and the current time. It was pretty cool:


I've made it onto the lift and here I am taking a video...and interviewing a couple snowboarders in the process. The ski lift was quite the experience because with each ride I met some very interesting people from all over the world:


Here are my thoughts on Ski Dubai so far...watch and listen. This is getting up close and personal with Gdog...world traveler, teacher, and Snickers lover:


Now, I mentioned earlier about my attempts to snowboard from the top to the bottom without bailing while holding my digital camera. The first run was very successful and I amazed myself. Snowboarding is like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget. There are two runs at the top that eventually lead to a single run bringing you back to the bottom. One is more difficult than the other (but I found them to be about the same; it's not that steep) and that run is accessible if you exit to your left off the lift. Turn right and you will encounter the main run. This is where this video starts off. Once the two runs merge into one, there is a cafe located there, known as Avalanche Cafe (what a fitting name). I hope you enjoy my colored commentary as I make my way down the mountain...err, I mean, the man-made ski resort in the desert:


Here is a view looking towards the bottom of resort. This was taken at the mid-station and the Avalanche Cafe is to your direct right:


For those who have traveled to tourist destinations, have you ever encountered photographers that snap your picture without you knowing, and then try to sell you prints afterwards? Anyways, Ski Dubai employs a digital SLR equipped photographer that waits at the bottom of the resort, snapping away pictures of skiers and snowboarders. I really wanted to get a picture of myself but I had to get someone to take it for me. So why not ask the Ski Dubai photographer? She was a little peeved but nonetheless, I got my picture!


Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my post on Ski Dubai. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Although it doesn't compare to snowboarding on an actual mountain, it did the job for an indoor ski resort. Everyone that I talked to was ecstatic about the place and generally positive. I would recommend visiting Dubai if you ever get the chance...it's crazy there.

If you want to catch up on my experiences in the UAE, click here to read them all. You might want to grab a beverage or snack before you do this.

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1 comments:

Robert Lam said...

That looks like a lot of fun. $40 for two hours isn't bad. I thought it was going to be in the ballpark of $100/hour. It makes me really want to visit Dubai. I hear it's a great for tourist. If only I had the money to go. Oh well... maybe when I get out of school and I actually get a job and start making some money, but it's definitely going on my to do list.

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