There is no stranger sensation than skiing in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts on a 30-degree day in Sydney.
‘Off-Piste Simulators’, is a modern approach to ski and snowboard training and teaching where outdoor conditions play no role. Located in The Entertainment Quarter of Sydney’s Moore Park, merely a 15-minute drive from the CBD, lies the elegantly designed simulator.
When I first entered the establishment, I was welcomed by very friendly and helpful staff, who swiftly fitted me with new and high quality ski boots. I was then taken to the simulator named The Avalanche. There is also a smaller one named The Summit, which is however, mainly for children and complete beginners. The simulators are said to have various training benefits. This includes everything from learning the basics of skiing, improving carving technique, and post injury rehabilitation.
The Avalanche Simulator, courtesy of Off-Piste Simulators
As soon as I clicked my boots into the bindings, the machine was switched on and I felt like all my years of training were pointless. Initially, it was highly unnatural as the simulator only allows you to move side to side while the bindings remain facing forward. I was a clumsy mess, having to grab the support bar in front of me while my feet violently swung from side to side without any control. The staff taught me to slowly angle my boots in either direction and the motors would then swiftly move me in that direction.
After gaining a better understanding of the simple mechanics and physics of the simulator, I was moved on to slalom style skiing. This is where everything began to make more sense. The wrap around screen showed the various gates I had to navigate around. The more gates I successfully passed, the wider they became and the faster the simulation moved.
I was then able to properly test my ability and work up a sweat. It became increasingly realistic and competitive once I was given the opportunity to do a timed race of one of the simulated slalom tracks.
Even though there is nothing that beats actually skiing, this simulator provides an enjoyable and resourceful form of technology that I believe can be a viable training source for athletes in the off season or perhaps serious skiers wanting to prepare for a ski trip. It may also be a viable option for complete beginners but it does not capture the entire experience, meaning it may be difficult to translate it to the snow.
Prices: 15 Mins: $45, 30 Mins: $70, 60 Mins: $100
Address: The Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Road, Moore Park, Sydney, NSW.