Published on January 19th, 2018 | by Tony Mallett0
No business like snow business
Are you thinking of a ski-ing holiday this winter but need to brush up on your skills on the slopes? Or, maybe, you’re already an accomplished skier and just want to take to the slopes without having to fly to faraway places this year? Either way, there is a place not far from Brussels that is just the thing for you, writes Martin Banks.
SnowWorld, just over the Belgian-Dutch border, boasts what is said to be the world’s biggest indoor ski slopes and certainly the biggest in Europe.
It is here that you can quickly learn to ski or snowboard for the coming winter sports season via a crash course, lasting just a week. The courses are open to anyone aged more than 13 years
As well as offering the world’s largest indoor ski resort, SnowWorld (which is actually based at two locations: Zoetermeer and Landgraaf) also offers a unique experience to young and old.
As it is also open all-year-round you can enjoy yourself on the slopes at any time, be it winter, spring, summer or autumn.
For anyone looking to brush up on their ski-ing (and snowboarding) skills, SnowWorld is ideal but it is also great for families and complete novices looking for a gentle introduction to the sport.
The slopes are open 356 days-a-year from early morning till late evening and there are also advanced technique lessons for the more experienced skier or snowboarder.
SnowWorld is actually more than just a ski centre, though, as the site also comprises a 4-star, 100- room hotel, meeting rooms, plus fitness and wellness facilities and an enormous outdoor fun park which is just the job to keep the kids entertained when the adults are all done on the slopes.
It makes for a great day out as it’s very easily accessible from Brussels by car in under two hours. One of the centres is situated at Landgraaf, near the famous Dutch town of Maastricht.
It boasts several records: it is Europe’s biggest indoor winter sports resort and is also the biggest climbing park in Europe. At 400 metres, its longest slope is also the longest in Benelux.
A snowboarding school, skiing lessons and kids’ courses are also available at Landgraaf and Zoetermeer (there’s even a fondu restaurant to get you really into the alpine mood!).
SnowWorld was, originally, the brainchild of Dutch businessman Koos Hendriks who admits that when he first came up with the idea of opening a ski slope in the Netherlands, “many people did not think it would work”.
He can now reflect on how wrong they were.
Since it opened over 20 years ago, SnowWorld has proved to be a big, big hit, not least with the many Belgians who have become regular visitors.
SnowWorld, it should be noted, is also doing more than its bit for the environment, for example, using LED lighting wherever possible.
Some10,000 solar panels have been installed at the Landgraaf site alone, making it the largest solar power project in the Dutch leisure industry.On sunny days, the sprawling site is completely self-sufficient.
Having conquered the Low Countries, the innovative Hendriks wants to set up similar centres in Paris and Barcelona with the aim being the first to operate such a business on a European scale. A branch in Milan is also part of the plans with the construction of a 300 metre-long ski hall in the Italian city expected to start this year.
Hendriks said: “It might take a while but eventually it will pay off.”
That’s for the future but, for now, try not to leave Landgraaf without experiencing the fine outdoor climbing park which, as well as being thrilling, also affords some great views across a wide and very pleasant area of South Limburg.
It boasts yet another record – at 25,000 square metres, it’s Europe’s biggest.
The temperature on SnowWorld’s slopes is -5°C so wearing warm clothing is highly recommended and gloves are compulsory.
Check the website for pricing, special rates and also the winter packages which, starting from just €59.50 per person, are remarkably reasonable.
Landgraaf, Witte Wereld 1, Landgraaf
0031(0) 45 54 70700