Enduring winter, massive floods and snowfalls in June – the weather has not been very reliable this year and has caused lots of frustration. At least with some parts of the German population. Most winter sports enthusiasts however were delighted. Skiable pistes were to be found way into late spring. However by now the winter has finally subsided and summer has taken over – so skiers and boarders have to let off for a few months. Or maybe not? Exactly for this cause, many countries in Europe have invested in building ski halls to provide unlimited fun in the snow all year round. And this comes with a guarantee for good weather, as you will surely not find snowfalls and fog clouding your sight inside the halls.
If you think your next winter holiday is still too far away you can pull out your warm clothes and ski accessories and choose the ski hall instead of the outdoor pool, coasts and lakes.We have taken a closer look at Europe’s indoor skiing facilities and have put together a top 10 list with all those sports centres which offer the longest pistes (measured in metres).
No. 1: Alpine Centre Bottrop (Germany)
It may be hard to believe, but the longest piste is to be found in the industrial area of North Rhine Westphalia. At least the longest indoor pistes. With 640 m total length the Alpine Centre in Bottrop is number 1 in our top 10 list of ski halls. The centre is built on a former mining site and was opened in 2001. It is not only a magnet for skiers and boarder, but also attracts many après ski party animals. Besides a piste for the more experienced there is also a small slope for beginners and the snow park “Shredmill” for the pros amongst the visitors.
No. 2: SnowHall Amnéville (France)
Only 20 m shorter than the winner hall, with 620 m length, the indoor piste in Amnéville (France), not far from the borders to Luxembourg and Germany, is the second longest in our list, and the only of its kind in France. The beginner hill of the 2005 opened hall is 100 m long. Snow-lovers can also test snow-scooting here.
No. 3: SnowWorld Landgraaf (Netherlands)
With 250 m total length the SnowWorld, located close to the German border, is our number 3. It offers 35,000 m² space and therefore is the largest ski hall in Europe. Winter sports enthusiasts will find 5 pistes and 9 lifts available to enjoy. It’s unique selling proposition is set by the fact that it is the only ski hall which has the FIS permission to organise World Cup races on it’s racing track. A cosy, Swiss, mountain hut provides the right après ski atmosphere.
No. 4: Snow Arena Druskininkai (Lithuania)
The ski hall with ist 640 m long piste is located in the largest spa city of Lithuania. This piste is however not the only one visitors can enjoy. There is further a 150 m long beginner piste and an outdoor piste. This however is really only usable during the winter, however it offers an additional 640 m of skiing fun.
No. 5: Snej Krasnogorsk (Russland)
The first ski hall in Russia is situated close to the capital city of Moscow and was opened in 2008, boasting a 400 m long piste. Besides sports there is also a large focus on well-being and relaxation here. Visitors can choose between 6 restaurants, they can visit the spa oasis and if you want a break from the children you can leave them with a professional child-care service.
No. 6: Alpine Center Hamburg-Wittenburg (Germany)
Back to Germany: with 330 m of piste, and therefore our number 6, comes the second Alpine Centre division, approx. 80 km from Hamburg. It offers an all-round sports selection including Alpine skiing, cart and quad rides, water ski and high ropes course, as well as tubing and curling. The 6,000 m² large snow park was the host to the first indoor half-pipe World Cup organised by FIS in 2008.
No. 7: Jever Ski hall Neuss (Germany)
The dinosaur amongst the German ski halls: in 2001 the 300 m long indoor piste was opened in Neuss, as the overall first in Germany. 3 lifts take the skiers and boarders up the “mountain”. A special highlight is the indoor fun park. Outside, climbers will find a huge 1,000 m² vertical terrain to encounter (total height: 30 m).
No. 8: Snowzone Madrid (Spain)
Spain’s only ski hall is located directly at the popular shopping centre Xanadú. 250 m of piste for the more experienced and 100 m for beginners can be found here.
No. 9: Snowvalley Peer (Belgium)
A ski hall which has grown over the years: at the time of inauguration the piste extended over 160 m to attract skiers and boarders to Peer, however today the large piste extends over 235 m and the beginner piste is 100 m long. The Belgians are especially proud of their snow park, which actually was the first indoor snow park world-wide in 2001, and the trendy snowboard café “Boarders Paradise”.
No. 10: Snowplanet Velsen Zuid (Netherlands)
In Spaarnwoude, not far from Amsterdam, winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy 230 m of piste. The hall sets a focus on an extensive selection of lessons, including a lesson for overcoming fear of the piste.
As nice as our top 10 list now seems, it might soon be outdated, as Denmark is planning something big. Something really big! 100,000 square metres of ski terrain – the superlative indoor skiing experience – this is the big aim of the creators of the SkiDome in East Jütland. It is not yet clear as to when the new hall will be opening, however the plans foresee 6 indoor and 2 outdoor pistes with a maximum altitude of 110 m. This exceeds all already existing options.