Artificial ski centres come in a number of different types, some of them don’t even slope, this is an A-Z List:
Conveyor Slope or Ski Deck
Sometimes known as a ‘conveyor’ or ‘revolving’ slope. These are machines similar in concept to a runner’s treadmill. The ski slope moves towards the skier so they can ‘ski forever.’ The slopes can move at different speeds and gradients depending on the ability/needs of the skier.
Cross-Country Dry Ski Centre
Although they are quite rare, there are a growing number of year round cross-country ski centres. Neveplast make a special surface for cross country skiing, NP50 SK (for skating technique) and NP50 TC (for classic Technique).
A similar concept to the Ski Deck, but instead of the slope being conveyor style moving towards you, it rotates at an angle but horizontally towards you. Only one of these slopes is known to exist at Utrecht in The Netherlands.
This is a regular ski slope with an artificial surface so that it can be skied or snowboarded on all year round.
Freestyle Centres (Indoor)
Freestyle sports halls that cater for bikers, skaters, trampoliners and snowsports enthusiasts – there are ramps for launch to practice freestyle tricks and foam pits or air bags for safe landings.
Freestyle Centres (Outdoor)
Most of these facilities have only appeared in recent years but have a ‘ski jump’ type in run with an artificial ski surface then a ramp and skiers and snowboarders launch on to a giant sloping airbag. Some have adjustable ramps for different angle launches. Read our feature here.
Grass skiing can be done on most slopes – the essential thing (besides knowing what you’re doing and having the slope owner’s permission) is the grass ski – a kind of skate with mini tank-tracks on its base with which you ‘ski’ over dry grass, down a slope. Grass skiing was invented by Richard Martin in Germany in 1966 and has spread around the world with enthusiasts in many countries, perhaps in particular Japan and Iran.
Inflatable Ski Slope
A 10 metre high inflatable ski slope known as The PearlJump is manufacturered and rented by the Belgian company PearlSnow. It comes complete with a kicker and airbag landing zone. Soap and water are allowed as lubricant. Pearl snow say that setting up the Pearljump takes three people three hours and packing up again takes three hours requiring three people.
Roller Ski Centres
Although not really featured in this site, a short cross country ski with wheels, not an entirely dis-similar concept to the grass ski, is used for summer training on a smooth asphalt surface. The centres with artificial surface cross country tracks also offer this option in most cases.
These machines use sophisticated computer technology to simulate the ski or snowboarding experience. Gradient, terrain, speed, snow conditions, racing and recreational levels and many other factors can be fine tuned to help or challenge the skier.