Hit the Slopes in the Middle of a Desert

November 24, 2014 Updated: November 24, 2014

Looking for a place where you can both shop, snorkel, trek in the desert, and snow ski in the same city? Dubai allow adventure travelers to experience a wealth of activities that run a broad gamut of seasonal sports despite its hot climate. Not many places in the world exist where one can snow ski and then walk outside to the beach and snorkel.

Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The city lies within the Arabian Desert: an unlikely spot for a ski resort.


(Wikimedia Commons Frank Sieplax)
(Wikimedia Commons Frank Sieplax)


There are a few destinations around the world where people might be surprised to find skiing. Australia hosts a cross-country ski race called the Hoppet, which is a pun derived from the term “loppet,” which is Norwegian for race. Japan also hosts a cross-country ski race and there are several ski resorts in the northern regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Chubu.

The most unexpected place to find a ski resort is in the middle of the desert in the Middle Eastern country of Dubai. Flush with an economy built on the back of oil revenues, Dubai is world renowned for some of the most outrageous man made modern building feats.

Dubai is home of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa; the world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall; and an indoor ski resort in another giant mall in Dubai called the Mall of the Emirates. It is clear that Dubai is Las Vegas on steroids.

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of ski area. The resort opened in 2005 and features the world’s only indoor black run along with five slopes of varying steepness and a snow boarder quarter pipe area. They even have an indoor ski lift. For snow fans who do not ski there is also an adjacent snow park with sled and toboggan runs, an ice body slide, a snowboard shooting gallery, and an ice cave.

The resort has a superior insulation system that keeps the area -1 Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day and -6 Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. It is a good thing they provide winter clothing as part of the price of admission.

Copyright © 2014 by Traveling Ted. This article was written by Ted Nelson and originally published on travelingted.com.