The snowboard season will kick off in the most unexpected of places in exactly one month’s time – the desert!
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will host an official winter sport competition for the first time when the world’s best riders compete in the opening World Cup from 7 to 8 November.
World Para Snowboard race director Ted Martin who led the site inspections for all World Cup and World Championships venues tells us more about what snowboarders and fans will find at the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort.
“It is the only place I know that is 40 degrees outside and minus five or six degrees inside. Pretty interesting place attached to the Mall of the Emirates. Who would think about going to the mall and being able to go skiing or snowboarding? I know I wouldn’t.”
The ski resort has more surprises to the visitors.
“Who would think about an indoor ski area in Dubai that has real live penguins in it? That just blows me away,” Martin said, referring to the king and gentoo penguins who march through the snow three times a day.
The snowboarders competing in Dubai can expect a challenging track.
“It is a pretty interesting track. It has a little bent to it so it’s not a straight down banked slalom. It is going to have a curve right in the middle of it then takes us to the finish line. It should be an interesting test not only to the course setter but also the athletes in the World Cup.”
Martin believes the competition will also be a great opportunity to attract a new audience not familiar with the sport.
“We are going to draw a lot people wandering around the mall doing some Christmas shopping and coming to see a Para snowboard World Cup in Dubai. It is going to be very interesting.”
Following the UAE event, the World Cup season will continue at Landgraaf, Netherlands, on 14-15 November.
Pyha, Finland, will host the following World Cup from 30 November to 2 December. The Finnish city will also host the 2019 World Championships in March.
The full calendar can be found on the World Para Snowboard website.