Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ski Dubai Tour

Went running this morning and realized there were puddles on the ground so it must have rained last night....wait what?!?! puddles?!?! rain!?!?! WE'RE IN THE DESERT HERE PEOPLE!! IT DOESN'T RAIN!!
Apparently every once in a while (like once a year) it actually does rain. People get really siked for it. This whole week one girl from Etisalat name Maryam kept telling me "Maddie it's going to rain this weekend, the weather says it. Are you ready for the rain?" I tried to explain to Maryam that it rains 5 out of 7 days of the week in Rochester and that if she was really this excited for rain she should probably transfer to RIT USA.


This morning I caught a taxi to the metro and headed to the Mall of the Emirates. The Hospitality students had a tour of Ski Dubai planned and I was allowed to tag along.

The kids play park at Ski Dubai. 
There were slides, inner tubes, snow castles, forts, and even a big inflatable ball you could climb into and roll down the hill.

 The manager of the facility came and met the group. He basically gave us a tour of the entire Ski Dubai operation. Before we started, we all had to put on these long black puffy winter coats. Initially these coats were designed to look similar to the long black abayas that Muslim women wear. The coats were for women who didn't necessarily want to ski but wanted to watch their kids play and experience the cold winter wonderland of Ski Dubai. There turned out to be a large amount of people that wanted to experience Ski Dubai without skiing, so these coats were reassigned as the "VIP touring coats". So there you have it, we were VIPs at Ski Dubai.

Some of the hospitality students during the beginning of the Ski Dubai tour. 
Gotta love those floor length VIP jackets.

Here's some stuff I remembered from the behind the scenes tour:

1. To keep the snow clean, occasionally they take all the old snow, put it in a big box, compress it, and make a cool snow castle thing out of it. Then they make new snow for the ground.
2. The water they use to make the snow is completely desalinated so basically at the level of drinking water.
3. When they're discarding the used snow, they melt it down and then run it by the airconditioning system. There's a heat exchanger that uses the cold of the melted snow to help with the cooling of the air for the air conditioning. Energy reuse!!
4. They use amonia as the coolant for the snow and glycol (or something like that) as the coolant for the air conditioning
5. The guy that talked to us has been working in the indoor ski resort business for 18 years and at Ski Dubai for 6 years
6. The highest attendance in one day was 8,400 people!!

Telling us all about the inner workings of the huge indoor ski resort. 

When we walked into the snow area, the air temperature dropped about a billion degrees. It was cold! The guide told us that often kids will walk in the doors for the first time not knowing what to think. A lot of them have grown up in the desert and never experienced the feeling of wintery coldness. Some of the younger ones will turn around and go right back out the doors but after a little while they decide that the freezing cold air is actually kind of cool. (no pun intended) Most people that live in the desert don't have winter clothes. Ski Dubai provides everything: winter jackets, boots, snow pants, skis, poles, socks. Everyone rents their equipment so everyone ends up being dressed the same.
Some kids making snow angels in the snow park. All the younger kids have to wear helmets.

To really get a sense of the slopes we got to take a ride on the chair lift!
Craig, the guide guy, and Rick on the ski lift.

Since we weren't skiing down the slopes, we were instructed to raise our feet over the safety bar at the top of the chair lift. Easy enough....you would think. So we're going along, everything's just fine and dandy, Evan and I are watching the skiers and inventing commentary for their possible thoughts. We get to the top of the chair lift. A nice man tells us to raise our feet when we go over the bar. We approach the bar. Suddenly there was some sort of disconnect in my brain. I thought, "I'm just going to tap the bar with my toe as we go by." I mean really MaddiE?! REALLY?! Yea so I "tap" the bar with my snow boot and the entire chair lift stops. Whoops. I was slightly mortified and Evan was about ready to push me off the chair lift right there. The guy reset the bar and had us moving again in about one minute. But still. Only one of the other hospitality girls had seen what actually happened. Everyone else just thought it was some normal procedure. 
Either way, I felt like an idiot! 

View of Ski Dubai from the top of the chair lift.

Me and Evan at Ski Dubai. 

By the time our tour had ended, my gloveless fingers were starting to go numb. It reminded me why I was so happy to be living in the desert this winter quarter, no offense to Rochester of course. Seeing how everything works at Ski Dubai was so cool (again, no pun intended) but I wasn't exactly dying to stay out on the freezing cold slopes to ski.

After the tour a lot of the hospitality students decided to do a few hours of actual skiing on the slopes. Evan and Traci decided they had seen just enough of Ski Dubai so the three of us wandered around the mall instead. 

The group had to meet back at the hotel at 2:30 for their desert safari adventure. Rick said I might be able to come along so I hung out until the meeting time to see if there was going to be an extra seat for the safari. There was. 
The desert safari was so fun that it deserves a blog post of it's own. I know, two posts for one day, craziness.


  1. Dubai is beautiful destinations in the world. It looks like heaven on the earth. I love Dubai.
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  2. Thank you for sharing this article. Its become a fact that Dubai has all good potentials and advantages that made it deserve . Desert Safari Dubai