Today we went skiing in the desert. Well, sort of.
Actually, we went skiing in the mall.
We arrived at the Mall of the Emirates near the Hotel Kempinski and walked through a hotel cafe on the the way to Ski Dubai.
We caught a glimpse of the slope from the restaurant:
Even though I was standing right in front of it, seeing an indoor ski facility was pretty unbelievable! Our host told us we could show up to the mall in flip-flops and shorts and be ready to ski. He was right.
We had dressed in jeans to be safe, but would have been fine without them, as the ski facility provides everything you need, including new socks.
Our kids had never been skiing, so we signed them up all together for a private lesson. There was also a group ski school option in all sorts of ages and all ages, but we thought this would work best.
The last time I went skiing was for a few hour stint in New Zealand in 2000, so, the be honest, I was wondering whether I would need a lesson, but I decided to give it a go on my own. I made sure I had a credit card with me, though, in case I opted for a lesson for myself.
We geared up, which was more than half of the battle of the experience, and headed for the escalator to the slopes, carrying our skis.
Walking in ski boots is quite the challenge, but I just had to laugh about it. I would lean as far forward as I could and pull my arms forward to help me go.
At the top of the escalator we grabbed ski poles and then went through the doors to the slope. The kids’ ski school was just at the base of the slope, so we could catch glimpses of them each time we skied down the mountain or rode the lift up.
Everyone in the place looked exactly the same in the Ski Dubai-provided blue and red pants and jackets. I could only pick my mother-in-law out by her white gloves our hosts had provided.
Our lift tickets were cards we stuck in our sleeves and, as we passed through a gate, the pass would activate the turnstile to let us through and let us know how much time was remaining on our pass.
I trudged up to the ski lift and hoped not to fall off or fall into a heap just after getting off. Surprisingly, I found it easy to sit on the bench as it came and then, amazingly, I pushed off without falling when I reached my slope! (Woo-Hooo for little victories!!)
The lift took us to one of two spots with three different runs. There was a lower, easier run, where I hung out for awhile, and two higher runs, one a bit more challenging than the other.
I slid off the lift at the first stop and looked down.
And looked down. And looked down. And watched my mother-in-law glide down effortlessly.
Finally I got a little bit of courage up and slid to the other side of the run and stopped. I had no idea how to turn my skis. I was so afraid they would end up pointing down and I would whiz down the mountain. And break my collar bone like my dad had once done.
“Okay, Amy, you can do this,” I thought to myself. “Turn your body and glide.”
I couldn’t go anywhere. I was stuck.
Finally, a very nice employee came over, grabbed the tips of my skis and turned me. And that was all that it took. Soon I pushed off and then the adventure really began. I was snowplowing (That’s when you ski with your skis in a bit of a wedge formation when you want to slow down.) this way and that, skiing down the mountain! Woosh. Wooosh. WOOSH!
Okay, maybe I wasn’t that good, but I was SKIING!!! And I liked it! And I wasn’t falling down and breaking anything!!
I went down that run a few more times and built up my confidence. Then I decided to take the lift up to the next level and give the longer run a go. And, again I wooshed down! Yeee-Haw! I was so excited to be skiing and gliding this way and that way down the snow.
I will admit that I did take one tumble on the longer run. As I was going down, I was again terrified I would break something. Of course I didn’t. And then I surprised myself by pushing myself up pretty easily and jumping back into the action.
Not having much ski experience, I asked my husband and his mom if skiing at Ski Dubai was comparable to skiing on an outdoor run. They said that it was and that if I could ski there I could definitely ski outdoors. Of course skiing in controlled conditions meant perfect, smooth snow without any ice and without the wind blowing in our faces. They said, other than that, the terrain and experience was surprisingly similar. And that the routes offered at Ski Dubai were comparable to a green, mild blue and a mild black run.
All in all, it was a great day and definitely a unique experience. And I think it has given me the courage to consider a family ski trip much closer to home.
**This post was recorded last week. We are now back home. More stories to come! Next up: The Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Wild Wadi Waterpark!**
- Trip Journal: Dubai-The Plane Facts
- Trip Journal: Traveling to Dubai
- Trip Journal: Getting Ready for Dubai
- Trip Journal: Our First Full Day in Dubai
- Trip Journal: Our Second Day in Dubai