One of the funniest South Florida phenomenons is, on those rare days the temperature drops below 35, the sudden appearance of hilariously out-of-date winter wear: puffy coats from 1993 ski trips, scarves that have clearly been shoved in a sock drawer for a decade, North Face gear no one's touched since college, and even (gulp) Uggs. We're instantly so 12 seasons ago.
But it might be time to upgrade: a local consortium is pitching a massive winter-themed indoor complex in Sunrise that would offer ski slopes, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and even snowmobiling, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Named Pelion Sunrise, the 31-degree 'mountain' would boast ski trails at least 2,700 feet long and come complete with lifts and moguls.
According to the website of Pelion Sunrise's transportation consultant, developers also plan to include "the largest indoor skate park in the U.S., high performance electric go-carts, laser tag, paintball, and more."
"I don't even know if this thing is for real or not," Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu told the Sun Sentinel. "I'm not even paying attention to this until I know it's a viable project."
Hey, at least it doesn't look like it could tip right over! Investor Norman Canter is again behind a chilly "immersive theme park" project after his plans to build the similar "Solar Mountain" complex at Miami's Biscayne Landing site were shelved in 2010. The company has not sought tax money, according to the Sun Sentinel, but may qualify for job creation or economic impact incentives for the property between Sawgrass Mills Mall and the former BankAtlantic Center.
What's it like skiing indoors? HuffPost blogger Patrick McGinnis hit the famous indoor slopes in Dubai last year and described the experience like this:
Skiing indoors is a novel experience. There is no wind and the snow has the consistency of a Mister Misty. While Mister Misty has always been one of my favorite non-brazier treats at the Dairy Queen (only second to the Peanut Buster Parfait), it's not a great surface for winter sports. I soon realized that the 5-minute ride on the lift yielded just 4 minutes of actual skiing (I timed it), and even less if you rock some Bode Miller moves.
While all of these factors were disappointing, the true indignity came when I noticed that there was a huge TGI Friday's overlooking the slopes. It was replete with large windows allowing diners to overlook the slope during dinner. Call me a purist, but when I ski, I prefer mountain vistas to the sight of a British tourist eating an order of Zen Chicken Pot Stickers.
Ouch. Don't worry, though: we're sure our indoor mountain will have a Flanigan's instead.
Check out these other indoor skiing spots:
With nine lifts and 35,000 square-meters of terrain, SnowWorld in Landgraaf, Holland is the indoor facility to best approximate an outdoor resort. SnowWorld has a terrain park, a ski school, fine dining and even a lively après ski scene. What more can you ask for in a ski experience? For additional cred, Langraaf houses an official FIS slope and is the only indoor area able to host FIS World Cup races.
So far all the "resorts" I've mentioned are found abroad. You might be wondering where you can do some indoor skiing stateside. Well look no further, since 1983 people have been learning to ski and snowboard indoors at Mini Mountain in Bellevue, Washington. At Mini Mountain students can get a taste for skiing without ever getting on the snow. A system of conveyer belts simulates sliding down actual slopes.
With average winter temperatures hovering in the mid-70s in arid Dubai, it's hard to imagine you'd be able to do any skiing there. But of course in the city characterized by man-made miracles, you can find a winter wonderland year-round at Ski Dubai. This 22.5k square-meter structure (the size of three football fields) boasts 5 runs from bunny slopes to a black diamond, as well as a high-speed quad and a rope tow. In addition to skiing, guests can enjoy playing in the snow, sledding or hanging out with penguins in the alpine-themed park.
Spanning 30,000 square meters, Snow Funpark in Wittenburg, Germany sports a luxury hotel, a huge sports shop and a competition-grade half pipe! The facility is equipped with the finest in artificial snowmaking technology so the conditions are always top-notch - leave it to German engineering!
This "resort" is not actually indoors, but skiing at Liberty does not require snow! Instead skiers and riders cruise down these slopes on a material called "Snowflex," which is best described as padded, suped-up AstroTurf that is then made wet by an irrigation system. This material, invented in Great Britain, is a close proxy for the slipperiness but also the stickiness of real snow. Guests can even practice bumps and jumps on Liberty's SnowFlex slope