How does a dry slope work?
Dry ski slopes are a great way to sample a skiing experience if you’re unable to reach a snowy mountain resort and would prefer the outdoor setting to an indoor slope. The only issue they have is they they’re not real snow, which is a real problem for many purists. However, they’re still a fantastic opportunity for the general public to enjoy skiing. So, what is a dry ski slope?
What is a dry ski slope?
A dry ski slope is a man-made slope that runs down a hill outdoors and is constructed with materials that allow snowboards and skis to slide over it.
It’s a great alternative to real snow slopes that many people do not have easy access to, either due to location or price (paying for a trip to a ski resort).
A typical length for a dry ski slope is around 150 metres. The longest one in the world right now is based in Russia and measures approximately 1,130m.
How does a dry ski slope work?
Modern dry ski slopes are made from materials such as Dendix and Snowflex. Dendix features plastic bristles arranged in a hexagonal shape on a mat. Each hexagon contains a hole in its centre which helps to reduce friction when skis and snowboards make contact. To maintain a free-flowing, smooth skiing experience, the dry slope is kept wet with a sprinkler system. This further reduces friction and helps to also reduce wear and tear on skis and boards.
Snowflex is a lot more natural-looking than Dendix. It’s a polymer fibre fixed to a pad that looks and feels more like a carpet than a tile, and also includes a layer of padding. Snowflex allows the dry slope to look a lot more like a real snow slope while having the properties of a dry slope.
The fantastic thing about dry ski slopes is that they’re able to be moved, remodelled and added to. This is unlike a natural real snow slope which exists purely from nature and, of course, cannot be moved to a separate location.
Are dry ski slopes safe?
It’s commonly known in the skiing world that dry ski slopes are much more abrasive than a real snow slope. At some point in your skiing or snowboarding adventures you’re likely to take a fall and land on the ground. On a natural, real snow slope, the snow should cushion your fall and make taking a tumble a tad easier, if not making you wet from the snow.
However, a dry ski slope is made from manufactured materials so a fall, especially on Dendix, is likely to hurt a lot more. There is also the possibility of wear and tear on your clothing as well as your skis and snowboard.
Snowflex, though, has eliminated many of the safety concerns associated with Dendix. It’s much more pleasant to take a fall on and has since become extremely popular for park skiing and boarding. The safety improvements in dry ski sloping are great. The carpet-like flexibility allows it to be easily installed in a wide range of shapes too.
Real snow at Chill Factore
Despite the availability and the fun you can have with a dry ski slope, nothing quite beats the feel of real snow. At Chill Factore, we’ve managed to make it snow - indoors - every night! To make our snow we use the same ingredients as Mother Nature: air and water.
At night, snow falls for four hours from the 14 snow cannons above our slopes. The mounds and dips created by Chill Factore guests during the day are removed by our expert snow groomers using the famous Chill Factore Pisten Bully.
All of this means you can expect a well-groomed snowy slope in the morning with prime conditions on our main ski slope before 10am. There’s good terrain in the afternoon with temperatures around -4°C and, later on, there will have been many runs throughout the day, so expect slightly variable conditions.
So, how is the snow actually made?
Real snow gives Chill Factore guests an altogether better experience. The snow is made from compressed air and water, which are blasted into a chilled atmosphere. Upon hitting the freezing air temperature, snowflakes are formed and snow pours from the sky!
The composition of real and artificially produced snowflakes is the same; the physical difference can only be spotted under a microscope. However, while real snowflakes take hours to form, our artificially produced real snow takes only a matter of seconds.
Our ability to create so much snow in such a short period of time makes the experience and quality of our slopes at Chill Factore incredible, and well worth a visit with the whole family!
Dry ski slope lessons or snow slope lessons?
So, now you know the answers to ‘how does a dry ski slope work?’ and ‘what is a dry ski slope?’, you’re in a much better position to make up your mind on your preferred skiing surface.
If you’d prefer to sample some real snow slopes, check out Chill Factore’s largest indoor real snow slope in the UK. We offer ski lessons for a range of ages and abilities on a real snow slope. Whether you’re a first-time skier or you’re looking to polish up on your technique, we’ve got you covered. Learning to ski has never been more fun!
Chill Factore is packed with fun things to do for the whole family. From sledging to ski lessons and private tuition, we’ve got something for everyone. There’s even a comfortable viewing gallery for the less intrepid , so you can sit back, enjoy a coffee, and watch the excitement unfold.
Skiing is an exciting sport that builds both confidence and fitness. Get in touch with us if you have any queries about skiing lessons and learn to ski today!