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Real Indoor Snow Slope vs Dry Slope

For many people, getting access to a real snow slope is difficult, which is where a dry slope offers a great alternative. They’re also great for ski lovers who can’t wait for the winter months to showcase their skills on a snowy mountain. While both dry slopes and real snow slopes offer the same end goal of being able to ski, there are huge differences between the two. So, dry slope vs real snow slope - what’s the difference?

What is a dry ski slope?

A dry ski slope is a man-made ski slope that runs down a hill outdoors constructed with materials that allows snowboards and skis to slide on top. Modern materials differ from the first attempts to artificially emulate a ski slope.

The most common modern material for dry ski slopes, Dendix, features plastic bristles arranged in a hexagonal shape on top of a length of mat with a hole in the middle of each hexagon to reduce friction. In order to maintain a smooth ski experience, the mats are kept wet with a sprinkler system, which further reduces friction and helps to reduce wear and tear to skis.

A dry ski slope typically runs about 150 metres in length, but there are longer ones. The longest dry ski slope is currently located in Veduchi, Russia, which runs for 1,130m.

Dry slope vs real snow slope

For ski lovers, the feel of real snow under their skis or snowboard is a different experience than a dry slope. While a dry slope provides a similar level of enjoyment, allowing children and adults to experience the thrill of skiing, a lot of ski lovers state that it is nothing in comparison to the real snow of the mountains.

There’s also the issue of falling while skiing when comparing the two surfaces. On a dry slope, there is risk of tears and abrasions from the wet plastic material you’re falling on. However, a real snow ski slope provides a much softer surface upon impact.

Real snow slopes allow individuals to learn and experience the slopes without having to worry about ruining their kit and hurting themselves. If you can’t get to the snowsports mecca of Aviemore in Soctland’s Cairngorms, the largest real snow ski slope in the UK currently resides at Chill Factore in Manchester.

This softer, indoor arena allows for beginners to get to grips with the slopes, either on skis or snowboards, before heading to a ski resort on a mountain. It allows for a larger margin of error and can often be a lot easier to learn on.

However, a dry ski slope is often a cheaper alternative than a real snow slope. But purists would argue that the difference between them both is clear.

Another advantage a dry snow slope holds over a real snow ski slope is its adaptability. A dry slope can be installed and used at any point of the year, moved to different locations, and adapted in shape and size to create more interesting experiences.

It opens up the joy of skiing for people who otherwise would not be able to experience it. And for many skiers, dry slopes were their first experience with the sport, eventually leading them to enjoy real snow slopes.

Quieter slope vs feel of a real mountain

If you’re looking to avoid long queues at snow lifts and get more runs in during the winter season, then dry ski slopes are perfect. Dry slopes tend to be a lot quieter than indoor snow centres.

However, nothing allows you to experience a snowy mountain in the UK quite like an indoor snow centre. With cool air and fresh snow, it provides everybody with both the look and feel of skiing and snowboarding on mountainous terrain.

A skiing purist will still argue that real snow slopes provide the better experience as nothing quite beats the feeling of real, crisp snow under their skis.

Can dry slopes damage skis?

Due to dry slopes being made from man-made materials, they’re not as soft and smooth as real snow ski slopes. As a result, this can lead to the edges of skis and snowboards drying out. In a bid to prevent any damage to your skis or snowboard, it’s recommended that you use wax specifically designed for dry ski slopes. This can help to protect the base of your gear.

Fortunately, with the increased popularity of dry slopes, the materials that are used are constantly being developed to help decrease damage to skiing equipment.

What to wear when dry slope skiing

When it comes to clothing and equipment, not much differs between real snow ski slopes in the UK and dry slopes. You’ll still want to dress with layers to protect against any falls and to keep you warm. If the weather is warm, you should still wear a long sleeve item of clothing.

You should also wear waterproof and windproof outfits. These are a good way of ensuring that a little bit of rain doesn’t grind your skiing session to a halt.

Other important skiing accessories include sunglasses and some gloves. Sunglasses help to prevent sun glare from disrupting your vision while skiing down the slope, while gloves are just another layer of protection from injury and help to keep your hands warm.

Chill Factore’s real snow ski slope in the UK

Looking for a real snow slope for you and the kids in Manchester? We have everything under one roof here at Chill Factore. No need to haul the whole family from one location to another, you can please everyone, from the adrenaline enthusiast to the chilled observer.

Chill Factore, near the Trafford Centre, is packed with fun things to do for the whole family. We’re home to the longest real snow slope in the UK. And what says fun more than real snow – and lots of it? From sledging to ski lessons and private tuition, we’ve got something for everyone. There’s even a comfortable viewing gallery for the less active, so you can sit back, enjoy a coffee, and watch the excitement unfold.

All you need to do to get involved is to contact us on 0161 749 2222 or email us at to book a family day out.

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