It’s not just for skiing and snowboarding, over the years dozens and dozens of different activities on indoor snow have been covered by IndoorSnowNews.com and our predecessor Snow365.com
One popular option at indoor snow centres is to allow people to stay on the slope overnight as fresh snow is being made and the temperature often brought down to double digits below freezing for snow production efficiency. This has been used for people heading on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic to acclimatise.
Running on snow has proved popular at many indoor snow centres and in 2019 “Snowstormer” — the snowy equivalent of Tough Mudder – took place on indoor snow across the UK. Laps of the “snow-based obstacle run” made up a 5km route with around 25 obstacles including tunnels, slides, big airbags and ice walls — using outdoor facilities as well as indoor slopes.
Camping On Snow
Many indoor snow centres have given people the chance to camp out overnight on their snow slopes. Various reasons have been given including a novelty romantic night in The Netherlands or training for Arctic Adventures in the UK.
Cheese Rolling on Snow
Racing cheese down steep slopes is a long standing tradition in England, and possibly some other places? At Chill Factore in Manchester they decided to try it on a less steep slope, but on skis.
Cinema On Snow
Ski Dubai’s Snow Cinema, in a partnership with Vox Cinemas. launched in December 2020 showing snowy Christmas films. Only 48 seats are available for each showing and all guests at Snow Cinema will receive rental clothing, fleece gloves, socks, boots, a blanket, wireless headphones and a dedicated locker as well as a signature hot chocolate, popcorn and a bottle of water at their seat. Cinema snacks are available and it’s possible to have a meal served at your table with options including raclette, mince pies and hot drinks including a peppermint hot chocolate. There’s also a VIP option available which includes a two-course meal, a hand warmer and premium gloves.
Cruise Ship Snow
This probably shouldn’t be in the list as it hasn’t happened, and has in fact been used ass an April fool by ski and cruise holiday campany Iglu, but it has really been considered. In 2008 in an interview with Royal Caribbean executive vice president Harri Kulovaara it was revealed that the company has considered installing an indoor snow slope on its giant luxury cruise liners. Asked if he ever dreamt of anything “just too ambitious?” Mr Kulovaara responded, “ Ski slopes. When we started to think about the ice rink we talked about taking the winter (theme) even further and building a ski slope. But when we really started to look at it, we decided it wasn’t feasible.”
A number of indoor snow centres have built ice-climbing walls into their facilities. This one is at Snow Factor in Glasgow, Scotland.
Some snow centres offer igloo building as an activity, others have ready made igloos already there to visit – for example Snow City in Mysore, India.
The rather unlikely scenario of penguins living indoors in the desert has become a reality at Ski Dubai. The centre says the penguins are well looked after and that they donate to conservation charities for penguins in the wild and scientific studies in to the birds. Penguin chicks have now been born and raised within the indoor snow centre.
Combining snow and Christmas is always a winning combination, and particularly exciting for children in countries that don ‘t usually have snow. Many indoor snow centres therefore have Christmas attractions including Santa visits. Manchester’s ChillFactore have gone the extra mile with autism-friendly Santa visits among their offering.
Snow bikes are popular at some ski resorts and at the Xanadu indoor snow centre in Spain they can be tested out too.
Snow Dancing is particularly popular at the dozen or so indoor snow centres that have opened in India. Typically supported by 500 watts of music, in the glare of flashing lights with popular Indian Hindi music played, it’s a unique experience not previously imagined. “Dancing warms up the body to help guests stay in the park a little longer than their normal stay. Fun and frolic is the ultimate objective of the new attractions,” said Mr. M. Venkateswara Rao, Managing Director of Snow World.
Dogs On Snow
Dogs love snow and a number of ski centres around the world have arranged days when they could come visit. At least one centre has also organised indoor dog sledding. Pictured is Chill Factore in Manchester, England.
The World Indoor Snowkayak Championships were staged at SnowWorld Landgraaf in 2007. The little known sport of Snowkayaking involves descending a snow covered slope indoors or outdoors with the World Championships including freestyle and Boater X. The latter sees four participants per heat battling to get to the next round. After the start signal all four go down the 520m long especially prepared slope as fast as they can. “Snowkayaking is just advanced sledge-riding, anyone can do it! All nationalities are most welcome,” the organisers say. Helmets, a lifejacket or body protection must be worn and kayaks must be unmodified models up to a maximum length of three metres. Otherwise, anything goes.
Pantomime On Indoor Snow
Oh yes they did. The ever innovative Chill Factore indoor snow centre in Manchester, England, staged a pantomime on the snow.
Running on Snow
In 2020 Ski Dubai staged what it called “the world’s first summer snow-running competition.” The event saw up to 300 runners compete at the indoor snow slope running three kilometres (just under two miles) in total, up and down the centre’s 400 metre long indoor snow slope. The race included five loops over the snow in Ski Dubai. Although indoor temperatures are a fixed -4 degrees Celcius, that’s better to run in than the outdoor August temperature in Dubai which can near 50 degrees.
Indoor snowmobiling is an option at several centres including Snowland in Brazil where there’s a special track. Snowmobiles used are zero-emission electric snowmobiles. Image credit: robisonkunz.com.br
Tennis on Snow
in 2006 Ski Dubai achieved a world first yesterday when they laid out a specially constructed Astroturf surface at the base of its slope and invited top tennis players Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova to take time out from their preparations for the Dubai Open Tennis tournament and enjoy a practice session in the cool of the snow. “To tell you the truth, I’m not really used to it. Of course, I was born in Siberia, but I don’t remember any of it. It’s amazing to see snow in a dome. I barely see snow ever. But to see it in this kind of environment, it’s surreal,” said Sharapova.
A lot of indoor snow centres, especially in Asia outside of China and japan, feature snow as a novelty experience and are not so concerned with providing a ski slope. They do often have short toboggan runs though such as this centre in Viet Nam with TechnoAlpin plus temperatures snowmaking.
Tyre Testing on Indoor Snow
The Test World facility in Northern Finland is located where it is a world of snow and ice for much of the year, perfect for testing tyres, cars and many other things for winter use. But they now operate year-round with the creating of several big indoor ice and snow tracks. A large number of indoor snow centres have also been used for testing and promoting cars for their winter driving – uphill over snow.
Zipwiring indoors over snow is another novel idea – offered at Ski Dubai which has twin lines down from the mid-station.
Rolling downhill over snow in a giant ball is one of the options on offer at Ski Dubai, among other centres.
During the Zumba craze classes took to snow at Manchester’s Chill Factore indoor centre.