Indoor vs. Dry Ski Slopes- Which is Best?


If you find yourself eager to try skiing for the first time, or simply wanting to practice your technique between ski trips, you might be wondering where is best to go to ski when you’re not near a real slope!

This is where both dry ski slopes and indoor ski slopes can be great alternatives to provide you with similar conditions to the slopes, but can be found far from the snowy mountain tops!

You might be wondering what the difference really is between indoor ski slopes and dry ski slopes, and if this really makes a difference to the overall experience? You might also wonder if either one might affect your technique or ability to learn new things, and also what to wear to each of them!

If you find yourself wondering about any of these questions, keep reading for the ultimate guide and comparison between indoor ski slopes and dry ski slopes!

Indoor vs Dry Ski Slopes

Indoor ski slopes feature snow created by snow machines whereas dry ski slopes can be either indoors or outdoors and do not have snow, but instead bristles which simulate the feel of snow on skis and snowboards.

Indoor Ski SlopeDry Ski Slope
LocationIndoorsNormally outdoors
Ground materialSnow from snow machinesPlastic bristles
Lessons availableYesYes
Common features of indoor and dry ski slopes.

What is an Indoor Ski Slope?

Indoor ski slopes usually feature snow created by snow machines to provide skiers with an experience as close to the real slopes as possible! Because of this, the whole building and in particular the area where the slope actually is can be kept in very cold conditions of approximately -4 degrees Celsius air temperature.

Slopes are usually indoors in large enclosed buildings where you are unlikely to experience cold wind of glare from the sun on the snow.

What is a Dry Ski Slope?

Dry ski slopes differ from indoor ski slopes mainly due to their ground material. Instead of snow generated by snow machines, dry ski slopes have bristles usually made from plastic lining the entire slope. This creates the feel of skiing on snow, without actually needing to produce and maintain any!

Clothing for Indoor vs. Dry Skiing

Because the conditions in indoor and dry ski slopes can be different, you might need to prepare and wear different clothes depending on what type of slope you are going to!

Indoor Skiing

Indoor ski slopes feature snow made my snow machines, where temperatures can be kept very low to maintain this. Therefore, it is recommended that you wear layers- a thermal under layer, topped with jumpers and a coat, to make sure that you keep as warm as possible!

You will also absolutely need to wear a helmet for protection, and gloves. These will keep your hands warm and dry, as well as protecting them if you fall over.

As the snow can melt when touching your clothing, waterproof trousers or ski pants or salopettes may be beneficial to make sure you clothes don’t absorb water and make you cold and wet. Gloves should also not be made from woolly materials, as snow can stick and melt into these, making your hands very cold and wet!

Dry Ski Slope

Dry ski slopes may not have snow, but if they are outside they are exposed to variable weather conditions! Therefore, the temperature and conditions will depend on where you are and can vary from day to day, so dress appropriately for the weather you are likely to experience!

However, helmets are still required on dry ski slopes for your safety. You may also need to protect yourself from injury from the plastic bristles which make up the slope in case you fall over.

Clothing that sufficiently protects you and mittens are definitely the best idea to protect you and make sure you have the best time possible when skiing!

Indoor Ski SlopeDry Ski Slope
ConditionsCold conditions to maintain snow
No wind
No sun glare
Outdoors so variable conditions
Require protection from falling on ground materialYesYes
Gloves/ mittens recommendedYesYes
Helmet requiredYesYes
Waterproof clothing recommendedYesWeather dependent

Technique

Lots of people wonder if the difference in ground material will affect your technique or ability to learn and to some extent, this is down to personal preference and choice.

Lots of people find that indoor ski slopes are more similar to the real slopes you will encounter on a ski trip due to the snow which will show relatively closely how your skis will feel on the piste.

While dry ski slopes can still be useful to practice some technique, ultimately your skiing technique may be affected slightly due to the fact that you are not skiing on snow.

However, dry ski slopes do have the benefit of often being in the open air outdoors (depending on the specific slope!) just like you will be on the slopes for real, so can get you used to other factors influencing your skiing like wind and sun.

Some people have also expressed concern over the possible damage to their skis of the plastic bristles of a dry ski slope. Lots of slopes like this recommend hiring skis to make sure that your own pair don’t suffer any damage when skiing there!

To Conclude

Indoor and dry ski slopes can both be great places to try skiing for the first time, improve your technique, or just to have a great time! However, there are come key differences in the conditions and recommended clothing at both places, as well as a potential for these to feel slightly different to the real slopes.

Make sure you prepare thoroughly and check with the slope you are looking to go to for advice on what gear you might need to take and what conditions to expect to make sure you have the best time possible!

Rosie

I have been a keen skier for a number of years, skiing in different locations around the world, and have a real passion for snow sports. My favourite skiing resort is in Banff, Canada!

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