x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Abu Dhabi to get ski slope (briefly)

Skiing on 300 tonnes of snow, hot-air balloon rides and scuba diving will be featured at the Adrenaline Sports Live festival.

Barbora Furskog of Dubai practises for the wakeboarding competition at last year's Adrenaline Sports Live.
Barbora Furskog of Dubai practises for the wakeboarding competition at last year's Adrenaline Sports Live.

ABU DHABI // An indoor ski slope, with 300 tonnes of snow trucked in from Dubai, is expected to be one of the main attractions when an extreme sports festival opens today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Adventurous visitors can also try skateboarding, wakeboarding, hot-air balloon rides, scuba diving, jet skis and other activities at the Adrenaline Sports Live festival, which runs through Saturday.

Barbican Turbo, a custom car meet at which enthusiasts show off their lavishly modified vehicles, will take place at the exhibition centre simultaneously. It will include an appearance by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the 14-time Middle East rally champion from Dubai. "There's really something for all ages and interests," said Cressida Evans, the marketing manager for the event organiser, CMPi UAE. For the ski slope, Ski Dubai brought in snow on refrigerated lorries. Workers were scheduled to pump it on to the slope early this morning, getting ready for the first skiers and snowboarders.

The slope will be located in the main hall at the exhibition centre, which will also include climbing walls and an aerial ropeslide. The possibility of the snow melting is not as much of a problem as one might imagine, according to Ski Dubai. When the snow is compacted, a spokesman said, it becomes self-insulating and stays cold. "We expect that the snow will slowly melt and we will be monitoring this throughout the length of the show," the spokesman said.

Watersports will be offered in the marina in front of the exhibition centre. There will also be skateboarding and in-line skating competitions, and demonstrations of parkour, also known as "free running", in which practitioners navigate urban obstacles in smooth and creative movements. A free-fall tower, where people are strapped into roller-coaster seats, lifted 14m into the air and dropped, will be in operation if it clears customs in time, organisers said.

After trying out the attractions, which are included in the admission price, visitors can book lessons or adventure holidays. Barbican Turbo, which like Adrenaline Live is in its second year, is expected to draw car fans from across the region. The top 100 custom cars and motorcycles from across the Middle East will be on show, and visitors can enter their vehicles in a horsepower competition to determine the most powerful car.

"We've been absolutely inundated by people wanting to enter the competitions and volunteer at the Barbican Turbo event," Ms Evans said. "It attracts a lot of the young Arab population." There will be "drifting" demonstrations, in which drivers skid their rear tyres through turns at high speeds while keeping their cars under control, and a graffiti competition, in which aspiring street artists spray designs on the sides of 40-foot shipping containers.

Three-day passes, which allow access to both events, cost Dh100. Single-day tickets cost Dh50. More information is available at www.adrenalinesportslive.com and www.barbicanturbo.com. The National Dragon Boating Cup, with races between university, school and corporate teams of up to 20 people, will also be held this weekend off the beach behind the Shangri-la Hotel and Souk Qaryat Al Beri. lmorris@thenational.ae