Now we come to our most meh experience of our entire trip – Ski Dubai – an indoor Ski center in Dubai.
This attraction is quite famous and we were really charged up to go there and experience real snow for the first time for ourselves. The penguin colony they have was an extra plus as Piglet really wanted to see some penguins.
So, we went all hyped up only to have a big letdown.
Partly, the disappointment was our fault, but mostly it was the place itself. I don’t know what I was expecting but after the fabulousness that was Aquaventure, Ski Dubai was a massive letdown.
- For starters, it was just so small. At no time, did we ever feel like we were in a real winter heaven. Throughout we could feel ourselves being gawked at by all the people pressing their noses to the glass wall from outside.
- Next, it was just so bloody cold. They were going to give us warm gear, and gloves, and so on, and so we didn’t bring along any extra winter wear. And while the gear they gave us looked warm, it was once we were inside and freezing our toes off (literally), that we realized just how inadequate it was.
- And lastly, as was pretty much the case with our entire trip, we hadn’t planned properly in advance. We really should have pre-booked the Penguin Encounter. Once we reached there, we realized that all penguin encounters were sold out. There went my dream of watching Piglet shake hands with a penguin.
Anyway, we shook off the Penguin disappointment and waited in queue for the regular entry tickets. And waited, and waited, until I realized Piglet had slept off on my shoulder.
We then divided ourselves into two groups. I sat outside with Piglet on my shoulder, and K shepherded Snubnose and my nephew through the changing room, and into the snow. Piglet and I joined them about a couple of hours later. I have to say that time during which Piglet napped on my shoulder was the best part of the entire day.
After about an hour, it got a bit uncomfortable for Piglet and he woke up very cranky. Hoping to divert his mind with the penguins I rushed him inside and through his change of clothes and into the snow.
Piglet threw one massive tantrum and refused to walk anywhere. Plus, the crowds had now increased so much that I could not find the others anywhere, not that I would have spotted them if they had stood next to me. Everyone looked the same wearing the Ski Dubai gear. So, I walked along everywhere carrying a getting heavier by the moment Piglet hoping to spot at least one familiar face. It took some time but when I finally spotted K, I thankfully dumped Piglet onto him and collapsed with exhaustion on to the snow.
Second big mistake!
All this while holding Piglet’s squirming warm body and walking around had me very toasty, but once Piglet was out of my arms, I realized just how terribly cold it was. The kids’ jackets had nice hoods, I had made sure they were wearing warm socks, and Snubnose was wearing some lovely gloves that she got with a Ski Dubai voucher that we got when we bought our tickets. Unfortunately, I had not paid the same attention to detail with my clothes.
My head was exposed and I was wearing their inadequate socks and I was freezing (people who know me know that I never get cold), so much so that I had to jump up and down to get some circulation going. To distract my mind from the discomfort, we focused on the penguins. Apparently, even if you don’t pay for the penguin encounter, you can see the penguins once in a while from a distance. They walk around for about five minutes or so and you can watch them through the net.
So, that’s what we did and the penguins were super-cute.
Btw, did you see the crowds watching us from the mall in the above photo? It felt like we were animals in a zoo!
So that was one highlight. Afterwards the kids did some winter sports – mostly some sledding and stuff.
Finally, we all queued up for the ski jump ride from where we hoped to capture some nice shots like the one below.
Only, the queues behind us were so much that we were all pushed and bumped randomly into different chairs and before we knew it we were all separated, and instead of relaxing and enjoying the views, I was peering anxiously behind to see how Piglet was faring with his dad. This ride although slow goes quite high up, and doesn’t have adequate (in my opinion) restraints for small children. I spent the ride terrified that Piglet would squirm out of K’s arms and tumble 20 feet below 🙁 .
Thankfully, Piglet behaved, and we finished the ride all in one piece. We had now spent almost three hours in there, and we just could not keep pretending that we were enjoying it any more.
We proceeded outside only stopping to take a quick shot in front of the ice dragon and tumbled out gratefully into the comparatively warm mall.
So far in, our time inside was ok, not very pleasant but ok (the kids had fun even if K and I didn’t), but what followed next really made my blood boil.
Here Comes the Rant
Ski Dubai has a very odd policy. When you exit the gates, if you return the tickets at a counter, you can get 20 dirhams back per ticket. That’s nice. But as soon as we were out of the snow and changing into our regular clothes, employees were all around us whisking away our snow wear.
Now, we (and many other disgruntled people like us), don’t take bags into Ski Dubai. To keep our hands free, we put our tickets into the snow suit’s pockets. So, if people whisk away our snow clothes before we have the chance to remove our tickets, we have essentially lost 20 dirhams (330 rupees) per ticket, and when there are five of us, well you do the math.
I was boiling mad and insisted that they search everywhere, and though they did look around, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t find it. I was even angrier when we went to the security desk to find a whole bunch of people with the same complaint.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well because I realized that I had absent-mindedly actually put my tickets in my own jeans pocket instead of the snow jacket’s and so we were able to get our money back. But those other people didn’t get anything and I felt very bad for the one woman who left the counter in tears after having lost nearly a 100 dirhams.
But that does not take away from the fact that the security was lax. In fact, the security was so laid back that Piglet managed to pocket away a little toy (you know the McDonald’s happy meal freebie ones) from right under the security dude’s nose.
It was only once we were on the Metro ride back that I noticed Piglet was hiding something tightly between his legs. Turned out to be this sheep.
Oh, well! I am not going to get all guilty about that.
It’s not worth it. I mean you really need to be a snow bunny, and if you are one, what are you doing visiting Dubai for Chrissakes? If you are from India, go to Auli for a more authentic experience.
And if you’re from the Europe or Americas, happily skip this. You are not missing anything.