VIDEO: Camping in Ski Dubai – The good, the bad and the beeping
One night on a snowy man-made mountain inside a tent… we attempted a brief experiment in endurance with Ski Dubai.
Last week we got an invite to test out a new camping experience in Ski Dubai, which, if successful, would be repackaged as a new paid experience available to the public.
But before Ski Dubai could do that, they needed several, willing volunteers to see a) if it was possible for average citizens to withstand a night on the slopes without developing hypothermia, injury or death; and b) if it would be fun.
That’s where What’s On came in. While we love a good restaurant review, we’re all about the stuff that takes real courage, stamina and fortitude. Case in point right here. And here. Oh, and here, too.
Curiously, the office response rate to Ski Dubai’s invite was low.
As an appreciator of adventure and absurdly themed experiences, I’ve long held a strange fantasy of staying the night in a shopping mall. I imagine myself jumping on the beds at Crate and Barrel, running up the escalators the wrong way, and raiding Shake Shack’s milkshake machine.
In reality, a night inside Mall Of The Emirates is not like that – especially when you’re stuck inside an indoor snow mountain with nothing but a stack of nachos and a volleyball net as entertainment.
Here’s how camping in Ski Dubai panned out:
9.30pm: A group of 25 journalists and bloggers [The Guinea Pigs] arrive at Ski Dubai to sign several waivers.
10:30pm: The Guinea Pigs make their way onto the -4 degrees snow mountain, clambering half way up to base camp, with a small hut serving nachos and sausages on one side and a volleyball net set up in front. We’re each given tents, mats, sleeping bags and earplugs courtesy of Adventure HQ and asked to pitch up.
11pm: After a quick fire safety talk and a tour of the VIP room, complete with hot water bottles, tea and extra blankets (in case things get really tough), the ski Dubai team leave, with a wink and a promise of a hot breakfast in the morning.
12am: The main lights switch off and it gets noticeably colder, but it’s far from pitch black on this man-made mountain: The safety lights shine down on us like we’re the stars in our very own snow globe.
A photo posted by Laura Lai Coughlin (@uprootedadventure) on
1:10am: Enormous snowploughs make their way onto the slope, churning out fresh snow for the morning skiers. As they drive up and down the mountain the reverberations are felt through base camp and the incessant back-up beeping can’t be masked by even the toughest of earplugs.
1:15am: We try to forget the noise and the cold with a game of snow volleyball.
1:17am: We try to forget the noise and the cold by snacking on nachos and cheese.
1:19am: We try to forget the noise and the cold by making snow angels.
1.21am: Exhausted by our efforts, we clamber into the tent, and, huddled like sardines, wishing and hoping for morning to come quickly.
2.21am: “Make the noise STOP!” someone yells from another tent… I fear it’s about to get Lord Of The Flies up in here.
QUIT TIME: 3.05am
Dear readers, we failed. Not because of the cold, I must add. We could just about deal with minus seven degrees. But combine that with the relentless sounds of snowploughs and the bright lights, and it’s enough to make even the toughest go mad. I’m told that of the 25 people who went in that night, only six managed to stay until breakfast, and I applaud those tough-skinned journalists for their dedication to their craft.
Whether this experience will be made available to the public remains to be seen. Rest assured, we’ll be the first to let you know. One thing’s for certain: The balmy summer temperatures outside will never feel quite so good after a night in Ski Dubai.