Skiing in Dubai
Making the most of a 12 hour layover
I flew home to Boston for one week during the holidays. I was SO happy to spend time with my family and friends. One week was far to short to see everyone I wanted to catch up with, so I was not quite ready to return to Thailand when it was time for me to head out. I absolutely love Thailand, but being home for a week was such a tease! I barely survived the six hour layover in Dubai on my way home to Boston, so I was dreading the 12 hour layover in Dubai on my way back to Bangkok.
Before the plane took off, I quickly Googled "layover in Dubai" and was not disappointed with the results. Intrigued, I purchased wifi for the flight and planned a little excursion for myself. Since I hold a US passport, I was able to enter Dubai for free! Dubai is home to the world's only indoor ski facility, so naturally, I had to check it out!
I got off the plane and nervously made my way through customs. Knowing I wouldn't have cell service, I was anxious about getting to and from the ski resort. However, communicating in Dubai was easy- everyone speaks English! I sat down at a cafe with wifi and quickly downloaded Google Map's directions, so I'd know to bail if my taxi driver deviated from the route. I was also nervous about getting in a fake taxi and getting abducted.
There is only one taxi service that the airport uses- they have standard rates and accept credit cards. I waited in line for a cab, then told my driver to take me to "Ski Dubai". It took about 20 minutes each way and cost about $25 each way. It was all super easy.
I followed the English signs through the ritzy mall to Ski Dubai. It was the strangest, coolest experience skiing at Ski Dubai. I arrived just as the "mountain" was opening, so there were no lines! I bought a 120-minute ticket for $60, got dressed in a ridiculous ski suit that everyone is required to wear, and stood on a machine that fitted me for ski boots. They obviously didn't fit great and the skis weren't waxed or sharped, but I had low expectations and was satisfied.
Skiing in Dubai was absolutely worth it for the experience, but the skiing was not great. I don't know what I expected, but the pictures look way cooler than the place actually is. The longest run is 400 meters, so I did probably 20 runs before I felt like I got my money's worth of skiing. They say the maximum capacity is 1500 people, but it felt crowded with less than 100 people when I left. The chairlift took 10 minutes to the top and the run takes 15 seconds to complete. Most people take the chairlift up and down- like a ride at an amusement park. There is also a little tow lift that got me up to the top in about 1 minute, so that was kinda fun.
All in all, it's pretty cool that people in the desert have the opportunity to play in the snow and learn how to ski. It looked like a lot of fun for younger kids. Having grown up skiing, I'm a brat and thought Ski Dubai was the dinkiest hill ever. However, I have to admit, it's amazing that they got that room so cold when it is 90+ degrees outside. I didn't have gloves and my fingers were freezing! I definitely wouldn't go back because you can see all there is to see in one visit, but I'm so glad I went.