As the summer has passed away (or did it even existed this year?) I felt that it is time to start moving towards the direction of mountains which for me means snowboarding. Of course, in the month of November, there is rarely any good snow to be found near Belgium, so I am always (well.. since I am learning snowboarding..) opting for the indoor slopes. I thought that I should share my experience about the best indoor slope that I have ever been to and additional information on indoor slopes in Belgium.
Snowworld, (Landgraaf, Netherlands)
This indoor ski resort has been recognized as one of the world’s best top ski resort (along with luxurious ski resort in Dubai Ski Dubai) and for sure this is the best one in the radius that I can reach. It has five slopes (two green, one blue and even a red one) and five lifts that make for a variety of descents. The longest slope is 520 meters long with the other four stretching over 500 meters and there are rails, jumps and kickers for all freestyle skiers and snowboarders that want to give them a go. The artificial snow at SnowWorld Landgraaf is said to be the best of all indoor ski resorts, with no ice and lush, it’s almost like the real thing.
It operates its lifts 365 days a year. Between October 1 and March 31 it runs between the hours of 9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday opening an hour earlier on weekends. Between April 1 and September 30 the slope operates 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the complex closing early on major holidays like Christmas. The cost of a lift pass is as following:
Rates slope access (from 1 October 2010 until 30 September 2011)
|Slope access||Children (4 until 12 years) & 65+||Adults|
|1 hour||€ 17,50||€ 20,50|
|2 hours||€ 26,50||€ 31,50|
|4 hours||€ 31,50||€ 37,00|
|8 hours||€ 34,50||€ 39,50|
There are monthly and all-year passes for sale as well. Skis or snowboards and boots are available for rent; the same goes for helmets and ski suits. SnowWorld features individual or group lessons.
Basically, in Snowworld Landgraaf (as they have another indoor ski resort in Zoetemeer) you can spend a day of fun. Not only the slopes are good, you have many restaurants that you can eat in and have a view at the slopes, there are couple of bars and if you stay too long, there is even a hotel (very nice one – it has been tested already) where you can spend the night. Is it better than in the real mountains? I will say no, but I can assure you that the experience there is 80% as good as in mountains (remaining 20% in the mountains I give to the fresh air and fresh snow).
Indoor ski resorts in Belgium
- Ice Mountain in Komen (1h30min away from Brussels). An indoor ski resort with 2 slopes. 1h for adult costs 14 eur. I have been there couple of years ago when it was my first time on the snow (at that point I was attempting to start skiing) and for the first time it seemed really fine. If your are experienced skier or snowboarder… It might get boring after 2 hours. There is a possibility to rent a gear and have skiing or snowboarding lessons.
- Snowvalley in Peer (1h10min away from Brussels). 1 slope. Last time I was there, it was very badly taken care of (too many bumps, too much ice and not coordinated flow of people on the lift) and seemed a bit chaotic… As there is only 1 slope, I think for the very beginners it is scary (as there are people that are rushing down) and for those who know how to handle themselves on the snow, it is not enough. If just for practice, it still could be fine. 1h on the slope: 15 eur. Possibility tor rent the gear and have lessons.
- Casablanca in Gravenwezel (50min drive from Brussels). Closed for the time being (they promise to be opened in 2011). It was the first indoor ski resort in Belgium that had snow on the slope. It was the place where I had my first snowboarding lesson (hence, you can rent the gear and have classes there) and it was perfectly fine for that purpose. I think it is rather good for the very very beginning of you being on the slopes and for children..
- Skiclub Zondal in Antwerp (40min drive). I personally have not tried this one, so this is a review from Ben who, when started learning skiing and snowboarding as a child, was training firstly on this one. Basically there is no real snow on the slope, instead they are putting soapy water and you are going down the slope on some kind of cover that is like a brush. He said it is OK for beginning your skiing practice but not as good if you would like to snowboard. Of course, the tempting part is that it is so close and 1h costs 7euros..
All in all I can say that indoor ski experience is a good one in preparation for the snowy holidays. Either you want to learn skiing or snowboarding, or just want to practice, it is all good. And I would say: try all of them out. That way you can find the one that suits you the best!