Miss the mountains or prepping for a ski trip? You can now ski in Singapore, mama!
Yes, you read right. You can now go skiing (or snowboarding) in hot, equatorial Singapore. Hitting up Niseko or New Zealand’s slopes is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon, so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, mama! But before you lug the entire family abroad for that perfect, bank account-draining winter holiday, why don’t you give them a preview of what to expect by bringing the slopes to them? Welcome to Urban Ski, Singapore’s first ever indoor rotating ski slopes.
Having opened its doors a mere four months ago in Millenia Walk, Urban Ski is the only address in Singapore where you can perfect your skiing and snowboarding techniques indoors with professional (and very patient) instructors, and at a fraction of the amount that it would otherwise cost you on real slopes. My kids have never been skiing, so they were the perfect ‘guinea pigs’ for these artificial slopes and its unique experience. If they liked it, then there was some hope of them skiing on real snow someday. If not…oh well, another beach holiday in Phuket it is.
Urban Ski’s unique selling point is that there are no lift line queues to contend with as you would do on real slopes. Nor is there a chairlift, so don’t worry about wasting precious time waiting for your turn to come. Rather, the experience here is all about getting efficient, quality training as close to the real thing without actually being on a mountain, but with all the same conditions – and oodles of slippery fun.
Everyone is together with a dedicated trainer at all times, so expect an intense but progressive one-hour class. Prices include rental of top quality Rossignol boots and skis, so you don’t even have to worry about bringing cumbersome attire either (they even offer protective gear if you require it) — in fact the equipment is specially calibrated for the unique surface. And while the room is air conditioned, it isn’t freezing, so you can actually concentrate on technique without wearing thick winter jackets and snow pants. Urban Ski caters to everyone from absolute beginners to the professional level (either individually or in group classes), so don’t worry if this is the first time for you, as the gradient and speed of both training slopes can be adjusted to suit different proficiency levels. Note that children must be 4 years old for ski classes and 8 years old for snowboarding, so rest assured classes here are extremely safe.
Each class kicks off with you being measured for boots and skis. My boys thought the boots were super cool, like the ones in Iron Man! Thereafter, you’re straight onto the two slopes, which revolve continuously like a treadmill, simulating downhill skiing or snowboarding. The surface of the “slopes” is covered with advanced nylon tufts, constantly watered to change its viscosity to create that powder snow effect that you would expect on a real mountain – ideal for schussing. Each slope has a front bar to help beginners gain balance and confidence, as well as a two-way mirror in front of that, so that students are immediately aware of their posture and can see their progress firsthand during the class. Plus, the two-way mirror is perfect for parents to watch their children from behind, as the kids can’t see them and won’t get distracted.
Our instructor Aaron was terribly patient with the boys, and while they were naturally a bit nervous at the beginning (their skis were almost longer than them!), he made the class fun and kept repeating techniques till they got a hang of it themselves. Of course, likening ski positions to ‘French fries’ and ‘pizza slices’ helped immensely! At some point during class, they were even able to let go of the bar and practice maneuvering ‘downhill’ themselves, while Aaron controlled the speed of the slope – and they absolutely loved it! One of the twins kept getting his skis crossed and landing on his bottom, but it’s a soft landing and Aaron was always quick to stop the slope, so falling was actually good fun for him! I was amazed at how comfortable the twins were by the end of the hour, and if they could have, they would have kept going for many hours more. I have to admit, while the venue looks a tad small, the small slope and intimate group size (maximum of 4 people) is actually perfect for one-on-one feedback and great value for money.
Now for the numbers. A trial class is only $39, so try it out if you’re not sure what to expect. Public group sessions range from $90 – $770 per person, depending on the number of sessions you sign up for. Private individual classes start from $230 per person, while group sessions (2-4 pax) start from $310 per person. Newbies should consider signing up for the Kickstarter Program (5 private group sessions) starting from $1,400. In a nutshell, classes work out to an average of $77 per person / hour, so while it may initially seem expensive, it’s actually much better value than what you would have to pay if you actually took travel costs and cost of on-site lessons into account, not to mention using up precious annual leave.
Plus you get credits that work towards offsetting your next package, so it’s a win-win situation. However, if you are an avid snowboarder or skier and are able to get to Urban Ski before 5pm on weekdays, I highly recommend signing up for their Off-peak Season Pass (U.P. $1,288, but current promotion at only $888), which means that you can have unlimited sessions for three months at an absolute steal!
And finally, Urban Ski is not just for lessons – think of it as a fun venue to host your next birthday party or corporate event. It’ll certainly be a unique experience for everyone involved!
Urban Ski, Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-46/47/48/49, Singapore 039596, Tel: (+65) 6238 0575
Opening Hours: 1-10pm (Mon – Fri); 10am – 7pm (Sat – Sun)