Over the years, the use of artificial ski grass has become more and more popular as a means to bring skiing to places where it would never be naturally possible. How? The artificial ski grass simulates real snow conditions onto a dry slope so that visitors can practice skiing or snowboarding closer to home. As there is so much more to ski grass, we’d like to give you an insight into the concept of artificial ski slopes, the best practices for treatment, and the new ProSnow® artificial ski grass.
What is an artificial ski slope?
An artificial ski slope, commonly known as a dry slope, mimics the attributes of snow by using materials that allow people to ski or snowboard without having any mountains nearby. Consequently, sport enthusiasts from all over the world can practice their favorite sport on a year-round basis without having to worry about long travels to the white slopes. In particular in countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom where mountains are as rare as hens’ teeth, outdoor dry slopes and indoor ski centers with ski simulators are being repeatedly visited. Over the years, numerous firms such as Dendix, Skitraxx, and Neveplast have found their way in manufacturing artificial surfaces for dry slopes that allow skiing and snowboarding. From molded plastic to upturned bristles, several variations in the surface of the dry slope exist.
What are the differences? Well, these are mainly present in the materials that are used for the slope, the grip on the surface, the slipperiness of the slope, the safety of the user, and the durability of the ski matting. For instance, since 1961, Dendix developed ski matting in a hexagonal pattern using strips of bristles. Although at the time it was a remarkable invention, the slope provided minor impact protection to slope users and even caused damage to ski and snowboard equipment. In an attempt to improve the conditions on the Dendix slopes, people started lubricating the slopes with water. Yet, as concerns about the safety, the costs, and the quality of the slopes arose, slope operators started looking for better alternatives.
Different approaches to creating ski surfaces came from German manufacturer Skitraxx and Italian manufacturer Neveplast. The 2 pin system of Skitraxx for instance, features a fast glide and improved grip for carving turns. Before the placement of the ski matting, a fleece is placed as a subsurface to which the SlopeTrax are attached with special twisted pegs. The different height of pins result in a low friction artificial ski surface that causes less damage to equipment and does not require any form of lubricant. Moreover, since 1999, Neveplast has been manufacturing and developing the NP30 ski surface that uses a concentric arrangement of conical stems. This type of ski matting does not require any form of lubricant and provides skiers with maximum safety and satisfying side grip. Clearly, over the years, the safety, durability, and quality of the artificial dry slopes have been enhanced by numerous firms to enable skiing when there are no mountains nearby.
Why are ski simulators beneficial?
Obviously, skiing or snowboarding on a dry slope is a proper equivalent to descending the real mountain slopes. In fact, it is a great solution for those that do not have a mountain range on their doorstep.
Yet, artificial ski grass is not only used for dry slopes in particular, but also for indoor revolving slopes that offer a different perspective to snow sports. Indoor ski simulators can offer unique advantages in comparison to dry slopes that are worth addressing:
Adjustable angle and speed
Making the indoor ski simulator suitable for all ages and skill-levels.
No ice, no cold, no wind, no bumps, the circumstances are supreme!
Simulators are not weather dependent, so you can practice whenever you want!
Interactive slalom projections bring new dimensions to skiing!
Video playback options help to spot imperfections.
A certified instructor provides accurate feedback from close distance.
How to maintain artificial ski grass?
When you are managing or willing to open your own snow sports center by investing in ski simulators, please take the following into account. All indoor ski simulators are covered with a fine layer of artificial ski grass that requires and deserves the right treatment! Since the ski carpet is of high value, it is of high importance to maximize the product longevity of the artificial ski grass. First, we highly recommend investing in the right models of skis and snowboards that will be used on your ski simulators. Acquiring the right equipment is needed because the type of base underneath the skis and snowboards will determine the lifetime of your artificial ski grass. What are the right type of skis?
First things first, our advice is to supply skies and snowboards to your customers as this is usually the best way to control the experience of riding a SkiMachine simulator. Second, the best type of skis to use are rental skis because of their durability, easy adjusting, and hard base that works best with artificial ski grass. Another advantage of using rental skis is that the condition of the skis can be monitored by the instructors, and blisters that can damage the artificial ski surface can be avoided.
To provide some more in-depth information concerning the preferred equipment, there are two types of bases for skis and snowboards: an extruded base and a sintered base. For the extruded base, polyethylene pellets are melted together at an extremely high temperature. This results in a base that is completely non-porous. Therefore, the base is more difficult to wax, more durable, and cheaper to maintain. The sintered base is created by using the same resources, however the pellets are not melted together but are crushed together under great force. This results in a base that is porous and more capable of retaining wax. Since the friction heat that comes from skiing on artificial ski grass will increase during training sessions, the wax underneath the skis will begin to melt. Therefore, we recommend using rental skis as these are more resistant to friction heat build-up and as a result, the durability of both your skiing gear and artificial ski grass is optimized.
In addition to using the right gear, it is essential to maintain your ski grass in the best possible way. Try to keep your simulator as clean as possible to prevent damage, to optimize the skiing conditions for your visitors, and to extend the lifetime of your rental equipment. Please do not use any chemical lubricants to moisten your ski grass as this will most certainly harm your artificial ski grass in a severe way. Instead, moisten your ski track with water, which is sufficient to keep things running smoothly and appropriately!
Need more information?
The new ProSnow® artificial ski grass
The new ProSnow® Artificial Dry Slope Ski Grass is a synthetic artificial ski turf material for an infinite dry slope that offers a feeling similar to real snow. What differentiates ProSnow® artificial ski grass from regular artificial ski grass types is that several different low friction fibers are woven into a stable base section that covers the dry slope and mimics the effect of snow. As we cannot emphasize enough, a good quality top layer is crucial for your ski simulator. Our ProSnow® ski carpet has a high fiber density and offers gliding and grip like real snow does. The synthetic ski surface on your revolving dry slope can be used by alpine skiers and in reverse mode by cross country athletes or mountain bikers.
To provide your visitors with the best possible experience, you need a freshly groomed ski slope to ensure visitors can ski and snowboard without having to worry about anything. Therefore, it is rather important that your artificial ski grass is placed correctly as imperfections on your infinite dry slope must be prevented at all costs. At SkiMachine, we have a team of experts waiting to fit your ski grass. We will cut it to size and lay it at a time that will not interfere with your operating times.
As time goes by, the artificial ski grass on your infinite dry slope ski simulator will naturally start to wear out, but don’t worry! Our team is always on hand to replace your existing surface with our long-lasting ProSnow® Artificial Dry Slope Ski Grass.
With numerous positive reactions from clients, our ski simulators are proven to be a guaranteed crowd magnet and a solution to increase customer satisfaction in a unique and fun way. 100+ SkiMachines installations worldwide and over 25 years of experience have allowed us to create a wealth and know-how in creating the highest quality indoor simulators in the industry. We are more than happy to provide you with professional input and additional information about our products at any time!