Before heading for the vast slopes of the mountains, it’s always a good idea to hone your skills on something a little less daunting. Indoor ski centres are ideal in this respect. Indoor ski centres also offer the advantage of being open all year round, allowing regular practice on piste if you aren’t lucky enough to live near the mountains. With this in mind, we have put together a compact summary of all the indoor ski slopes in Germany and the Netherlands.
Indoor skiing in Germany
Measuring in at some 640 metres in length, the Alpincenter Bottrop is currently the longest indoor ski slope of its type worldwide. Moreover, this 30-metre wide indoor trail is the only indoor slope to boast a real corner along its course. Magic carpet lifts carry skiers back up to the “mountain station”, while freestyle fans will find everything they need for some freestyle fun in the centre’s very own terrain park. Absolute beginners can find their feet in a practice area before graduating to the main slope, and the centre boasts around 100 ski and snowboard instructors to help show them ropes. There’s lots to eat and drink here too, with the “Hasenstall” ski lodge and “Großglockner Alm” Alpine disco offering plenty in the way of authentic après-ski atmosphere.
Germany’s most northerly indoor ski centre is in Hamburg-Wittenburg. The centre is home to the nation’s steepest indoor run, with a gradient maxing out at 31 percent. In the crisp ambient temperature of -1 °C, you can take your pick between red-marked or somewhat simpler blue-marked trails. There’s also a practice area for beginners and a resident ski school here. And the fun doesn’t end with the ski slopes either: hit the 60-metre tubing run or the ice rink for a great change of pace. In an effort to ensure that all skiers and snowboarders get that special Alpine feeling, the walls of the hall are adorned with vast mountain panoramas and the Kupferdach’l restaurant and Gletscherstubn bar are geared up to offer a truly authentic Alpine experience.
The Alpenpark Neuss near Düsseldorf weighs in with a truly unique feature – real powder! The roof of the hall features twelve integrated snow cannons, dusting the slopes with freshies at regular intervals. The runs include a mellow trail for beginners and kids, and a more challenging main run with a 28-percent gradient. A 4-person chair lift, two surface lifts and several magic carpet lifts are on hand to take skiers back up the hill. The terrain park is equipped with a range of features like rails and jumps, offering plenty of fun for freestylers of all abilities. And if you should get hungry, the cosy atmosphere of the “Salzburger Hochalm” or “Jausenstadl” is never too far away.
It wouldn’t be a reach to call the Snow Dome Bispingen (around one hour’s drive south of Hamburg) one of Europe’s most state-of-the-art ski halls. The ski centre features a “Snow Area”, sledding run and terrain park. Beginners and children should head for the small easy run served by a magic carpet, where local ski and snowboard instructors are always on hand to help out. If you are already confident on two skis, then you can make for the 300-metre main run. The upper section is moderately steep with a gradient of some 20 percent, though the trail becomes relatively mellow lower down. The head of the “Heide glacier” is conveniently served by a 6-person chairlift. The terrain park with an array of jumps and rails is located at the heart of the ski centre. The Snow Dome Bispingen is also a great destination for lovers of authentic Bavarian cuisine, home as it is to a branch of Munich’s original Hofbräuhaus.
The German state of Brandenburg also boasts an indoor ski centre in the shape of the Snowtropolis Senftenberg. Its 130-metre indoor slope maxes out at 25 percent and also features a terrain park with jump and jib features as well as a resident ski and snowboard school. If you’d prefer to pull on a pair of skates, then Snowtropolis also has you covered, as it features an adjoining ice rink. At the weekend, the ski hall’s restaurant transforms into a breathless après-ski party location.
Indoor ski centres in the Netherlands
The SnowWorld Landgraaf is just half an hour from Aachen and boasts five indoor runs (including the world’s largest), eight lifts and even an FIS World Cup run. On top of that, visitors will find everything you would expect from a real ski area here: a terrain park with multiple jumps, rails, boxes and even an “Indupipe”, a ski school, a ski rental centre, a separate children’s area, several restaurants, après-ski lodges as well as – last but not least – its own 4-star hotel. After enjoying the slopes, you can even unwind at SnowWorld’s very own wellness centre or spend some time climbing in the outdoor park.
If you’re up for a challenge, then look no further than SnowWorld Zoetermeer (20 minutes’ drive from Den Haag). It is home to the Netherlands’ steepest indoor slope and one of Europe’s most challenging. If you’d prefer something a little gentler, then head for the red and blue-marked runs. Five surface lifts, four magic carpets and one rope lift are on hand to take skiers to and fro, while a terrain park and ski school nicely round out the service package.
The De Uithof Den Haag ski hall boasts a constant ambient temperature of -5 °C all year round and therefore ideal snow conditions from top to bottom. The indoor run here is 211 metres in length and is served by four lifts. The lower section of the slope – served by its own dedicated magic carpet lifts – is ideal for beginners and kids, while advanced skiers should head for the top of the hill on one of the two surface lifts. It goes without saying that there’s also a terrain park here for freestyle fans, with the popular “Big Airbag” feature taking centre stage – an ideal and safe way to practice new tricks. In addition, three cafés and an après-ski bar ensure that nobody goes hungry here.
At SnowWorld Terneuzen (Zeeland province), there are a total of 300 metres of runs to enjoy and hone your skills on. The hill here is served by three lifts, and there is also a local ski school if you need some professional instruction. Similar to the centre in Den Haag, the SnowWorld Terneuzen features a “Big Airbag” as well as several rails and kickers.
The SnowWorld Rucphen (Noord Brabant province) is run by the same operator as the Skihalle Terneuzen and offers a similar array of features. This ski centre is some 30,000 square metres in size, boasting blue, red and black-rated runs as well as a relatively new terrain park complete with a “Big Airbag” jump. The excellent service range also includes a ski school, rental, waxing service and no less than six restaurants.
SnowPlanet is a slightly more compact option in Zuid-Velsen, which is really close to the metropolis of Amsterdam. Here, skiers and snowboarders can look forward to 300 metres of runs, two surface lifts and a beginners’ area served by magic carpet lifts. There’s also a local ski school for absolute beginners. Please note, however, that the terrain park is only opened during the summer months (April to September).
The 200-metre run at the Snowcenter Montana (30 minutes’ drive south of Eindhoven) is a great place for warming up before you ski holiday. This ski centre also boasts a designated practice area with magic carpet lift for beginners as well as a decently-sized terrain park. Thanks to the resident ski rental and sports shop, this small ski hall has just about everything you need for an enjoyable few hours on the slopes.