The idea of a massive indoor ski-slope in the middle of the Arabian desert may sound odd going on weird – but then, making the outlandish come true is something of a Dubai speciality.
Hence Ski Dubai, the world’s largest indoor snow park, comprising a slice of fake-Alpine mountainside, complete with its own chairlift, pine trees and intermittent flurries of falling snow. There are five ski and snowboarding runs of varying difficulties (including the world’s first indoor black run), plus less strenuous attractions including the chance to build snowmen, chuck snowballs or go tobogganing – great for kids and beginners, although serious winter-sports enthusiasts may find it a bit tame.
Even if you don’t want to venture inside, you can also enjoy the surreal sight of robed locals chucking snowballs at one another for free from the viewing gallery in the attached Mall of the Emirates. Prices include clothing, boots and equipment but not hats and gloves, though these can be purchased at the attached ski shop.
Ski Dubai is also home to a small troupe of King and Gentoo penguins which can be seen for free from the mall during the daily “March of the Penguins” show (every 2hr on the hour), or at much closer quarters on during a forty-minute “Penguin Encounter” (daily noon–9pm, 175 AED), featuring the chance to interact with at least two of your cute little flippered friends. Warm
clothing and gloves are provided.