It's winter somewhere
It's summer and the snow has all melted away. Unless, of course, you're inside a temperature-controlled snow dome, where a winter-all-year paradise exists in a few lucky spots around the globe. Pro skier Will Wesson explored a few indoor ski areas around Europe.
Grooming the English Alps
Many indoor areas have miniature sized snow cats to groom and resurface the snow, but at Tamworth Snow Dome in England, they used tractors and a team of shapers. They only offer park features on select nights and it was very impressive to watch them change a flat slope into a fun rail park in about half an hour.
Harry Lovell, Manchester Chill Factor
We were not on your average skiing schedule in the UK. Many snow domes are only open for park skiing at night, so we became nocturnal. Every day we would sleep till noon, drive a few hours to the next snow dome, ski from 8 p.m. to midnight, then drive till 3 a.m. and then repeat.
Monty Wright, Xscape Snowzone
During our week and a half trip, we got to ski with many different people from across the UK. The level of skiing is pretty amazing for a country with no mountains and just a handful of indoor parks. Here we are at Xscape Snowzone in Milton Keynes, England.
Rob Heule, Manchester Chill Factore
Manchester Chill Factore is a massive building that can be seen from miles down the road. At 180 meters across, it's the UK's longest indoor ski area and it was the farthest north we traveled during our 10-day trip.
Rob Heule, Xscape Snowzone
Xscape Snowzone in Yorkshire has a skate park, indoor surfing and body boarding, restaurants, shops, a movie theater, a bowling alley and a fitness center. While riding up the Poma lift, you pass by windows with people running on treadmills and lifting weights on the other side.
The Snow Centre, England
Many indoor snow domes have large photos of mountain backdrops on the walls advertising skiing in the Alps. If you blur your eyes just a little bit, it almost feels like you're outside ... until you look up and see the roof.
Snow Dome or Spaceship?
From the outside, Xscape Snowzone in Milton Keynes looks more like a spaceship than a ski area. On the inside you'll find a massive mall and entertainment center complete with restaurants, retail stores, a workout gym and more.
SnowWorld Landgraaf, Holland
SnowWorld Landgraaf in Holland is the largest indoor ski area in the world, and one of the few that has a permanent full sized terrain park. It has a six-person chairlift and "mid mountain" lodge along with the world's largest indoor jump. Multiple surface lifts also service different parts of the slope.
The Snow Centre, England
The Snow Centre in Hemel, England, had the biggest turnout of UK skiers and snowboarders. It was a lot of fun hot lapping the park with a big crowd while overhead speakers blasted loud music. There was always someone to watch from the Poma lift with many good tricks and unpredictable crashes.