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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 18:29 GMT
Snow comes to deserts of Dubai
By Julia Wheeler
BBC News, Dubai

The largest indoor snow park in the world has opened in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai.

Built on what was previously desert sand, the slopes will be covered with manufactured snow all year round.

The centre has green, blue, red and black runs, chairlifts and snow patrols, like any other ski resort.

The area under snow is the equivalent of three football pitches, with runs built inside a giant, slanting metal tube around 25 floors high.

Ski school

A snow park next door has tobogganing, icy bobsleigh runs and a ski school.

Anyone wanting to ski on the main slopes will have to prove their competence before being allowed to do so.

All clothing and equipment is provided in the entrance price of $35, including black, knee-length padded coats for any Arabs who prefer to wear their traditional kandouras to visit the snow - but skiing in the robes will be banned.

The snow is made by shooting water at high pressure into an atmosphere maintained at around freezing point by coolers both below and above the slopes.

Until now Dubai has been a destination for warm beach holidays.

But the ski slope is likely to be most popular, especially for residents, during Dubai's harsh summer when temperatures reach well above 40C.

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