Does the end of winter piss you off? The fact there is only three months each year where your local mountains are covered in white stuff is cause for annoyance. Unless you are a professional boarder (or skier) or have parents with an income from their own oil fields then regularly getting into the other hemisphere in your off-season can be incredibly costly.
I saw a video a while back of an indoor ski resort in Germany and nearly fell out of my chair. They take their indoors as seriously as their outdoors with some of the resorts being just that, full blown resorts but indoors. I have since discovered that international professional competitions take place at the Wanda Harbin Ice and Snow World in China that also boasts black runs!! There is an entire indoors world here I have never experienced.
With global warming and shrinking ski fields could indoor ski resorts one day become the norm?
Restaurants, bars, indoor sky diving and waterparks as some of the additional extras to indoor boarding or skiing. Full parks, quad chairs and so much more. We looked a little more and couldn’t find a complete list of every indoor ski resort in the world so I gave up a week of my life and wrote one myself.
** Click on Indoor Ski Resort Name for Geo Location Maps **
5 STAR COUNTRIES
China – ★★★★★
The Harbin Ice and Snow World is a winter wonderland and the largest indoor ski resort in the world.
Covering some 80,000 square metres, the Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort has six runs catering for all abilities, with two black runs, a blue run, a snow play area featuring a snow castle, and two 40m long beginner pistes – all of which are served by indoor chairlifts and magic carpet uplifts.
The main blue run alone is 500m long and 60m wide, making it the fourth longest indoor piste in the world. The indoor ski resort also houses an outdoor theme park, ice hockey rink, theatre venues, a shopping centre, cinema complex, and hotels, creating tens of thousands of new jobs when it opened in 2017. It was built at the cost of about $6.25Billion U.S. by China’s tycoon Wang Jianlin, who is the founder of the Dalian Wanda Group.
Germany – ★★★★★
The Jever Skihalle is a decent slope at 300m long and rise of 110m. It has a good split from beginner to advanced and offers two pull lifts and one quad chair. They have a park for freeriders and a segregated beginners course. You may also see the National skiing and snowboarding teams training here.
The place also has some fun activities outdoors with a climbing park, a putt putt golf course and a fun ball park – it looks like putt putt soccer?
The Alpincenter in Bottrop, German wins for the longest indoor ski centre in the world. A whopping 640m long with a curved structure and an (up to) 24% gradient. The small let down of this place would be the return – conveyor belts – I would love a chairlift for a 650m ride up please haha. This indoor wonderland was built in 2001 and is a genius construction – imagine the costs of keeping everything below zero!
The Alpincenter has a beer garden, a 10m climbing structure outside and offers accomodation at a hotel about 7kms away. If I was in Germany I would seriously consider a holiday at this place!
The AlpinCenter in Hamburg-Wittenburg might have a smaller slope than its big sister in Bottrop, but it makes up for it in amenities. Quad chair, 330m long x 80m slope, plus a bowling lounge, a kid’s winter park, a kid’s outdoor summer park and outdoor beach volleyball for everyone. Did I mention it even has its own hotel attached to the pistes. The indoor resort is suitable for everyone and looks like a mighty fine all-year holiday destination.
The Germans take their indoor ski resorts seriously. From what I can gather having a hotel attached is almost mandatory. I like it – the indoor pistes become more than a novelty, they actually become a full-blown destination resort mimicking being on the mountains.
At Snow Dome in Bispingen you can stay in sensational looking log cabins. They also have a restaurant that calls my name for some serious German winter food and Hofbräu beer steins.
For their on-mountain amenities the slopes are separated into a beginners slope off to the side and then an intermediate slope that is 300m long with a steeper upper section at 30% slope. They offer a 6-person chairlift and the T-bar to get back up.
Outdoors they offer a large playground for the kids, beach volleyball, basketball and an outdoor beer garden. For the mature person they have an “Oldtimer Exhibition,” a hall showcasing a lot of vintage cars that looks interesting.
The Snowtropolis in Senftenberg is the smallest indoor ski slope of Germany, they still have accomodation however. This slope is only 130m long, there would be a lot of travelling up time when visiting. It does appear to come into its own however when set up for private school snowboard camps or ski camps. Having the entire indoor ski slope set up as a free riding park looks fun. And the Snowtropolis Bar does look tempting and quite stylish.
Lithuania – ★★★★★
Constantly ranked as one of the top five indoor ski resorts in the world Snow Arena in Druskininikau Lithuania has it all.
The indoor track is 50m wide and the length is 460m. They have an outdoor slope that runs in winter as an addition. Quad chair, two segregated sections for beginners and a park that rivals a lot of international mountains. You can add restaurants, a bakery, bars and local accomodation to what is on offer. I can see why this place has been nominated as one of the best. It is well thought out and managed, I now have a reason to visit Lithuania!!
Norway – ★★★★★
SNØ aka Lørenskog Winter Park
The Norwegians know how to do snow – it borders on an obsessive national sport and the Norwegian snowboard team is the best in the world (personal opinion). I fanboy at anything the team does on-snow and Marcus Kleveland is a prodigy that manages to do a lot of things just piss off physicists.
SNØ isn’t even finished yet, it is still under construction with completion due sometime in 2019. But based on it’s specifications alone this resort is a perfect 5.
Under its roof, the centre will offer year-round winter sports facilities, including a 505-metre long alpine slope with a breadth of 100 metres and an angle of up to 38degrees. A terrain park and a 2km long cross-country skiing loop with four parallel lanes adding variety, while a wind tunnel from iFly will allow for weightless ski training. Frustrating queues should be kept to a minimum with modern ski lifts that will move up to 5,000 people per hour.
They will also offer swimming pools, ice skating rinks, skate and adventure parks – it will be a full family affair. Nearby you’ll find restaurants, hotels, apartments, and shops, along with a winter academy designed to strengthen and develop competencies in winter sports. I must visit this place!!!
United Arab Emirates – ★★★★★
Dubai does always seem to take things to another level and they have done it again with Ski Dubai. Firstly – this is a ski resort in the dessert, just comprehend that to start. Then they have their longest slope at 400m long – that us HUGE. It has a 60m descent and they did have the world’s first indoor black run!! (China now has two). There are five different runs and they can handle 1500 people on the slopes at once.
The park takes up the entire 400m and they change the layout regularly. They operate a quad chair, a mini luge, a snow bullet indoor zip line and they even have a section filled with real penguins. Kids will love it but I do feel sorry for the little tuxedoed flightless birds. It is Dubai so everything you need will be close by and the food options will make you very happy. Check out the video below – they have some great coverage.
4 STAR COUNTRIES
France – ★★★★
Located on the border with Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium, the French SnowHall wins for one thing – it’s the longest indoor slope in the world: 620m long, 35m wide and 90m vertical. SnowHall offers several spaces suitable for all levels: a beginner slope, a toboggan run for the little ones, a tubing zone (buoy), a large slope and a snowpark for freesytlers.
Russia – ★★★★
Russia does like to compete and compete it does with Snej. Their indoor resort is the first in Russia with 22,000 square meters of indoor snow. They have one of the largest complexes of its kind in Europe. The length of the slope is 365m. The slope width is 60m. The height difference is 65m! It can freely accommodate four football fields!
They also have ice-skating, gym, swimming pools, conference centres and a laser paintball hall I would love to shoot people in! There are heaps of stores including a restaurant on the slope and a Subway. If I ever get to Russia I am so visiting this place!!
South Korea – ★★★★
Seoul’s Playdoci is destination for families, corporate events or friends wanting to just have fun. Including a water park with a hell of a lot of attractions; a large-scale spa zone, the only indoor ski slope in Korea, a snow park offering winter all year round, a golf range with broad views, a convention facility and more.
The main slope is 270m long and 70m. There is a park section with boxes and rails and a white village for the young and young at heart where it constantly snows. The water zone has a wave pool and a lazy river that is 200m long. There are tube snow slides, water slides, and a lot of kid’s entertainment. For adults there is a modern day spa at international standards and the driving range is 360 yards long with an automatic tee-up system – no bending!!! The place has a lot of food and shops and is only 30mins from Seoul or the airport.
Spain – ★★★★
Madrid’s SnowZone main slope stretches 250 metres long and 55 metres wide and it is served by a four-person chairlift. The beginners’ slope (100 metres long and 40 metres wide) is accessed via a drag lift. The 18,000-square-metre park features rails, boxes, jumps, and bumps.
The SnowZone is attached to a shopping centre so shops and places to eat are aplenty. They also offer an ice-skating rink, snowtubing and a snow play zone for tiny people :).
The video from DC Shoes in 2013 is pretty awesome – scores the place an extra star.
3 STAR COUNTRIES
Belgium – ★★★
Snow Valley in Peer is three indoor slopes placed next to each other in separate buildings.
Slope 1 – The Big Track: 350m long, 30m wide, 64m height difference – Magic Carpet Lifts
Slope 2 – Boarders Paradise: 85m long, 30m wide, 25m height difference. Rails, Big Air(?), Boxes – Magic Carpet Lifts
Slope 3 – Practice Piste: 100m long, 25m wide, 12m height difference – Magic Carpet Lifts
This has something for everyone – the construction from the outside looks like it might topple over but it has been going for a while now and looks like more than enough to keep everyone entertained for a few hours of shredding. The upside of this indoor ski slope is separate slopes.
Ice Mountain is two decent pistes side by side – one at 210m long and the other at 85m. Both are 30m wide with a height variance of 40m. From videos they have set up mountain-bike courses and some boarding park runs but mostly it is a straight slope. The upside of Ice Mountain is that if you want a break from boarding on the mountain you can head downstairs for some Indoor Skydiving or Lasergame (equivalent of lasertag, lasershooting etc) or head outside for some Accro-Adventure or Paintball – this place would be ideal for birthday parties – if I ever get to Belgium my inner kid will be spending a day or two at this place!
Egypt – ★★★
Yep, you read that right, a ski resort in Egypt. They are claiming it is the first ski resort in Africa and have even named it the Egyptian North Pole, I do think Morocco beat them however with their outdoor resort. BUT – this place looks fantastic, a perfect way to escape the Egyptian heat. Ski Egypt is located in the Mall of Egypt. Thye have a 210m long slope and offer some freestyle snowboarding events.
Ski Egypt is very much a family indoor ski slope with ski school, tube runs, polar express train, bobsled, Zorb ball, snow play area, cafes and an ice cave.
Netherlands – ★★★
SnowWorld Landgraaf was the world’s largest indoor ski resort before the Wanda Indoor Resort in China opened. With five slopes and eight lifts there are innumerable possible descents. The longest slope in SnowWorld Landgraaf makes it possible to make descents up to 520 meters. This blue slope is ideal for advanced skiers and snowboarders. For beginners SnowWorld offers two practice slopes. The world’s largest indoor park is also located here. With several kickers, rails and grinds there are many possible runs. It should also be known the SnowWorld at Ladgraaf is the only indoor FIS Racing Track in the world.
It also offers all the required amenities that are common in European resorts. Gym, hotel, bar, restaurants, corporate facilities and much more. I really need to get the boss to fund an indoor snow park world tour.
Snowworld Zoetermeer is the younger brother of SnowWorld Landgraaf (above). It has three slopes and proudly claims to be the steepest indoor slope in Europe. The second longest slope out of three is 210 meters long and has a 20% descent rate – the steepest in the Netherlands. There’s also a park with kickers, grinds and rails and they offer 10 lifts including 5 drag lifts, 4 magic carpets and a rope tow.
De Uithof in the Netherlands is a day trip fun centre, it has a lot of thing to entertain. The indoor slope is 211m in length. De Uithof has no less than four lifts: two tow lifts that go to the top of the slopes and two tire lifts for the kids and beginners. The slope doesn’t read that exciting but does have some good park options and you wouldn’t visit De Uithof to just board. They also have ice-skating, some awesome looking go-karting and (yes please) – Ice Karting!!! Add to that laser tag, bungee soccer and many more games. This is a place for the young and young-at-heart to have their birthday parties!
Skidome Terneuzen reads as quite a standard slope. It’s 220m long, is split into beginners slope and a slightly more advanced slope. There is a two pull lifts and one tyre lift. Would be fun on a quiet day with a couple of mates.
A little more on the standard side Skidome Rucphen is three short slopes; 2x 100m and 1x 130m. It is very much a beginner’s indoor resort and most advanced boarders and skiers would get bored of this pretty quick. They do have a nice European restaurant and a bar to help you cope better however. The company Skidome also has an Ice Karting Rink Track and an Indoor Sky Diving Facility nearby – so it would be a fantastic day to mix it up between the three.
SnowPlanet has two slopes: one is 230m long (for intermediates) and the other is a beginner’s slope 100m long. This one looks like it has a strong focus on ski school and this could be great for kids and adults wanting lessons and pre-season tuning prior to winter. The courses are available for beginners as well as advanced skiers and snowboarders. The Park offers a range of rails, jumps, and kickers but only in the evening from 7pm.
I cannot locate too much information on the Montana Snowcenter in the Netherlands. I could find they have two slopes and three lifts covering 6000m2 but no information on run length. The restaurant looks awesome and the slopes look decent. Like most indoor resorts the beginners are separated from the more experienced boarders and skiers.
New Zealand – ★★★
Snowplanet in Aukland New Zealand looks like a fantastic all-year indoor ski field. It does help they are one of the only resorts to make professional videos on the slope. The below video is actually from Canadian professional snowboarder Max Parrot – he makes the place look a lot better. I can find no length stats on the place but they do have 8000m2 of snow kept at -5c. They are open 365 days a year and the restaurant looks decent. They have two pull ropes, one on either side, and have segregated areas based on skill. They have a mini park and a “super” park and are soon to Elevate the Shred, apparently they are increasing the angle of descent. Sounds promising.
United Kingdom – ★★★
Snozone has two indoor ski resorts in the UK and claim to have educated two million people on how to ski or snowboard. The slopes are 170m long and the place has been in operation since 2000. The venues are dedicated to lessons and pre-season training but they also have regular freestyle jams, comps and race days. They do a fair bit of work with disability snow sports and as for facilities all I can find is the one venue called The Alpine Kitchen.
Snowdome is another of the venues that jams a lot of things into the one place for a larger experience. Where some of the larger European locations add value extras to the skiing and boarding experience there are a few venues that have the skiing and snowboarding as a small part of a larger entertainment complex. The main slope is a bit shorter at 180m with two smaller slopes less than 30m. But don’t let the smaller runs hold you back from a fun day because you can also ice-skate, go swimming in the water section, hit the gym, go tobogganing or relax at the luxury spa. They also offer a climbing wall, a Santa’s Playground for the kids and a disability ski school option. Did I mention some wicked burgers and drinks at some fine looking eateries.
The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead has one bonus going for it – it’s the closest indoor ski centre to London. It offers a fairly small 160m main slope on world standards but does have the biggest indoor ski/board lesson slope in the U.K. at 100m. They have no added value added sport options besides some tube action but they do have unlimited free tea and coffee and a a nice bar and kitchen. It would make for a nice pre-season training location for Londoners.
Chill Factore is a kid’s wonderland. There is a lot to do to keep them occupied for birthdays and the like. The main slope is suited to everyone at 180m long with a 40m long beginners slope. A bonus is the main slope is a decent 100m wide towards the bottom. A 12m climbing wall offers a challenge for all levels. Tubing and luging are also available along with a snow-play area for those aged 2-10.
Their Alpine Village offers a good choice of bars, cafes, and restaurants with views over the slopes. The “Street” is an authentic wood and stone indoor mountain village lined with outdoor clothing shops and ski outlets.
2 STAR COUNTRIES
Japan – ★★
Japan definitely has the best outdoor snow I have ever seen and experienced but their indoor snow resort at Tokorozawa has nothing on the German indoor ski slopes. It is a decent 300m long and 30m wide and has two single person lifts on the side – I think it could be a conveyor belt from the video and the queue in the video is enough to turn me off. The bonus is the small food caravan sells some excellent looking ramen so i’d definitely visit because ramen is life!
Scotland – ★★
Snow Factor is Scotland’s only indoor ski resort based just a 10min drive from Glasgow’s city centre. With dedicated teaching and instruction slope, main ski slope, four ski lifts, ice climbing wall, Bavarian Restaurant, Festive Grotto, Sledging and Baltic Ice Bar it really is an ideal winter fun destination. The slopes are 168m long and 36m wide.
It would make for some morning boarding before lunch on the weekend. I really need a place like this to get my training on in Australia!
1 STAR COUNTRIES
Australia – ★
We are based in Australia and we really don’t have any indoor ski resorts (as such) so I wanted to post something for the home country. The two options in Australia are only really for muscle or technique training. The one in Sydney, Off-Piste, we actually visited last week and absolutely loved it. We have a video and post coming for that one soon.
Urban Extreme is a rolling slope – it is not artificial snow – the fibres on the surface mimic snow. This experience is void of anything cold. The upside is you can board or ski in shorts and t-shirt!
Another Australian non-snow summer ski option is Off-Piste – it’s a virtual reality (screen) simulator and is a lot of fun. The virtual reality screen allows you to ski/board a giant slalom, have a private lesson or shred many mountains. Definitely a good option for training and rehabilitation. Stay tuned for our article on this place coming soon.
United States – In Development
How does the USA not have an indoor ski/ boarding centre? The mind boggles. There is plans underway for the first of its kind to be built in Austin, Texas.
SnowLand /SkiTexas, Austin, Texas
Snowland/ Ski Texas is only in the early development phase at the moment. They have designs and are seeking backers but it looks like gaining traction. There are no details of runs etc but the potential is there. It is not like the U.S. to not want to compete with the world and design something “the biggest” or “the best.”
That’s the end of that, one really long research article project for me haha. There is quite a few indoor resorts around the world – the Europeans really take it serious and China, along with Dubai really have some resorts to behold. If we have missed any please let us know and we can update the post.
Fore more posts on travel destinations and boarding options around the world check out our TRAVEL SECTION.