Calling all skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Now you can practice and perfect your skills right here in tropical Singapore before you fly off to your next snow-cation. Urban Ski, located at Level 1 of Millenia walk, is Singapore’s first and only indoor ski slope. This gigantic tilted conveyor belt works like a treadmill, except it’s about 12.5m long, with a white astroturf that has added lubricant to simulate the feel of new snow.
Whether you’re a beginner, or a veteran on the piste, getting in a few runs at Urban Ski can help you master your techniques. The friendly and patient trainers there are always on hand to offer guidance, tips, and tricks. We follow the experiences of two customers to hear first-hand what it’s like to take on the slopes.
40, Designer, Skier
Like a growing number of people in Singapore, I’m an occasional skier. However, my opportunities to ski are limited to my end year holidays when I get to hit the slopes of Niseko. I did not manage to secure a trainer for myself on my first time on the powder-snow mountain, and if it wasn’t for a kind stranger (thank you Steve!) who took pity on my plight and taught me the finer points of skiing, I probably would have tumbled my way out of this fun hobby.
So when I heard about Urban Ski, I was thrilled. How could I pass up the chance to practice right here in Singapore? A phone call later, I had booked my session and I was ready to roll.
First, there were the boots. Having not skied since the birth of my boy, the familiar Robocop gait snapped me back to the snow slopes of Hokkaido. Ah, memories! Aside from the boots, the only other piece of ski apparel was the helmet. I was clad in just a T-shirt and jeans, and that was perfect. No need for winter wear and cold weather. Which meant no need to wipe frozen snot off the tip of my nose.
The platform itself is an adjustable tilted slope that mimics the different gradients found on the mountains. White astroturf wouldn’t be too far off a description of this. It was disconcerting at first because in real life, you start off from a relative flat surface before you push off to a descending slope. Here, however, you start on a graduated surface.
Before I actually commenced, Aaron, my Urban Ski trainer, took some time to explain proper postures. The full-length mirror definitely helped, and was useful in keeping myself in check. (Too bad there aren’t similar mirrors on the real slopes!) It wasn’t very long before Aaron pointed out that I was leaning too far back, an all too common newbie mistake, which leads to achy thighs and made it harder to do the parallels.
The hour ended all too soon and by then, I was increasingly aware of the lactic acid build up in my thighs. All in, I fell just once, but I quickly got into the swing of things after 3 minutes, and after I got over the slightly different experience of being on the simulator. I’m now yearning for the powdery snow slopes of Niseko to put what I have learnt into practice and I’m pretty sure I’d do fine.
Interestingly, the minimum age at Urban Ski is limited only by the smallest boots they have there. As the saying goes, “If the shoe fits…” So, maybe I should consider bringing my boy down the next time.
20, Student & Snowboarder
The moment I walked into Urban Ski for my first session, I was immediately transported to my childhood ballet classes. The full-length mirror and bars were so similar, as were the trainer, Jimmy’s constant reminders for me to check my position. (Not that I could have gotten to fifth position while strapped to a snowboard, of course.)
With my background and experience in skateboarding, I was able to find my balance easily. But I still had to remind myself to lean back. A couple of times, I fell forward and that left me very disheartened because it takes a lot of strength to get back up on the board once you fall. But Jimmy was very patient, and we stopped the slope for a while so I could get the hang of leaning backwards again.
The experience of moving while being stationary was unusual, to say the least. I learned that by bending and straightening my knees, I could move up and down the slope. It was hard to put all the motions together while remembering not to point the board straight down.
Eventually, I was able to snowboard from left to right, and back again. What an achievement! And the feeling was so rewarding. What wasn’t rewarding was the use of muscles in my body I never knew existed. While it was certainly good exercise for my abs and legs, I had to skip gym for the next three days because my legs hurt so much!
All in all, it was a fabulous experience. I’ll definitely go back again; maybe with some of my friends this time, and we can all dream about our first snow holiday!
Check out our video at Urban Ski: