Researching for my new Dutch language ski website, I found that the Netherlands has a few indoor ski and snowboard areas. Of course, they do not compare to the Alps, but they have real snow and give you a good opportunity to try out a couple of turns. What’s more they are relatively inexpensive and try to have something of a ski resort ambiance.
There seem to be ski areas in a number of areas – see Skihal.com. Most convenient for me is the Snowworld ski and snowboard centre at Zoetermeer, on the route between Den Haag and Utrecht, so I checked it out one lunchtime.
The ski area is well signposted once you get to Zoetermeer, and boasts three slopes – a blue run, a park with rails and jumps and what is classified as a red run (20% incline). There are nine lifts and good long opening hours throughout the year. Conveniently the Snowworld web site is in English as are some of the brochures. Four hours would set an adult back 40 Euros, and a child or senior 34 Euros, with equipment hire between about 4 and 12 euros for the same period depending on what you want etc. As you would expect there are bars, restaurants, various discounts, specials, ski and snowboard school and even a hotel if you want to stay over.
The downside? Well for an experienced skier or snowboarder only the rails and jumps would set your pulse racing, and the runs are too short to really improve an already advanced technique, but it is good for finding your ski legs or for checking out some new kit. It is real snow, and so it is cold and you do need to bring a hat, gloves and winter clothes if you want to avoid getting cold. And, of course there is no sunshine – the entire complex is roofed.
For beginners, early intermediates and people wanting to perfect their technique in the park, however, it is ideal, and a nice way to prepare for the real thing.