Endless Ski Slope

Endless Slopes: The Ultimate Guide To Ski Treadmills

Last Updated on March 24, 2021 by James

The demand for skiing across all corners of the globe has never been higher, leading to an ever-increasing amount of artificial skiing alternatives.

Among these alternatives, ‘endless slopes’ (also known as infinite ski slopes, ski treadmills, revolving ski slopes, ski simulators or ski decks) are becoming one of the most successful options.

This article is a comprehensive guide, covering everything you need to know about endless ski slopes.

Skiing And Snowboarding On A Ski Treadmill.
This Is The Most Complete Information About Endless Slopes (Photo: Ski Indoor 4810)

What Is An Endless Ski Slope?

The term ‘endless slope’ refers to an artificial, mechanical ski slope. They consist of a constantly revolving ‘carpet’ that is positioned at a sloping angle, representing a ski slope.

Like a treadmill, the idea is that you are able to ski while maintaining your position on the revolving surface (not going up or down). This has led to them being called ‘endless slopes’, with the possibility to ski for an infinite amount of time.

Endless slopes are often referred to as; ski treadmill, infinite ski slope, revolving ski slope, ski simulator and ski deck.

Maxxtracks Infinite Ski Slope
It’s Basically Just A Giant Treadmill That You Ski On! (Photo: Maxxtracks)

How Do Endless Slopes Work?

Endless slopes can simply be defined as a ski treadmill. However, they are slightly more complex than your average piece of gym equipment.

In this section, we will look at each part of the slope and how it operates.

The Surface

The revolving ski slope surface is made from specially developed ‘ski grass’.

The ‘grass’ is made from a synthetic low-friction material, designed to give a similar sensation to hard packed snow while you are skiing.

The grass fibres are woven into a stable and flexible base section. This makes a typical endless slope surface comparable to those found on various dry ski slopes.

Once the slope is in operation, the surface is periodically sprayed with an oil-based lubricating solution to keep it extra ‘slick’. Usually, the slope will also be sprayed with water multiple times throughout the day to maintain the slopes slippery surface.

Skiing On An Endless Ski Slope
The Revolving Artificial Surface Is Made From ‘Ski Grass’ (Photo: Carve Ski, Board & Bar)

Controlling The Slope

Endless slopes are designed to mirror real life skiing conditions and accommodate skiers of all ability levels. With this in mind, many of them are designed to be versatile and adjustable.

Most ski treadmills are designed with the functionality to fully control the speed and angle (pitch) of the surface. This makes them perfect for skiers of all ages and abilities.

The slopes are usually fully remote controlled. This means an instructor can hold the remote and adjust the speed and angle as necessary during a session.

With safety in mind, revolving slopes always feature a bar at the bottom of the slope. This acts as a barrier to stop out of control skiers from flying off the bottom of the slope, while also providing a useful handle bar for nervous beginners.

Infinite Ski Slope
The Bar At The Foot Of The Slope Should Stop You From Flying Off The End! (Photo: Ski Indoor 4810)

Who Makes Endless Ski Slopes?

Since the first infinite ski slopes were presented to the world in the 1960’s, many different companies have been trying to create the perfect product.

Competition between manufacturers has accelerated technological advancement, with modern slopes now being far advanced from the earliest models.

In this section, we are going to take a look at some of the main revolving ski slope manufacturers.

Maxxtracks

Maxxtracks are a Netherlands based company who focus on sport, recreation and infinite ski slopes. Established in 1991, they have risen to be one of the most prominent artificial slope providers around.

There are currently more than 200 Maxxtracks ski slopes in operation. These slopes are spread across roughly 30 countries, spanning 4 continents.

Maxxtracks are a company that look to perfect the whole artificial experience. They offer slope installation, management, consultancy, in-house ski waxing, ski instructor training and even have their own computer booking system.

Maxxtracks Infinite Ski Slope
Maxxtracks Are One Of The Biggest Names In The Endless Slope Industry (Photo: Maxxtracks)

Proleski

Proleski started manufacturing endless slopes in 2007 and have seen rapid growth, becoming one of the most prominent providers in the industry.

They have since installed more than 130 slopes across Europe and Asia. They have continued to grow in recent years, both through the opening of franchises (or ‘Proleski Clubs’) and the exporting of their ski slopes.

Proleski are constantly pushing to be at the forefront revolving ski slope technology. They currently offer around 15 variations of endless slope, with each one differing in size and function.

Proleski Endless Slope
Proleski Are Always Trying To Improve Technology (Photo Proleski)

SkiWorld-Pro

Established in 2016, SkiWorld-Pro are one of the newest endless slope manufacturers in the market. However, they are striving to become one of the biggest brands in the industry.

Based in the Austrian Alps, they are taking advantage of their location by working with professional skiers to make their slopes ideal for every training requirement.

SkiWorld-Pro have based their slopes on a sturdy and robust design that is set to provide an excellent training base for skiers of all levels. They also offer a ‘mobile’ slope that can be set up at special events and locations.

SkiWorld-Pro Ski Treadmill
SkiWorld-Pro Are New To The Endless Slope Market, But Are Quickly Progressing! (Photo: SkiWorld-Pro)

Alpine Engineering

Alpine Engineering started life as a ski centre called Alpine Sports BV in 1995. The centre was unique, with the owner designing and building their 3 endless slopes himself.

The ski centre was a success, so it wasn’t long before companies started approaching Alpine Sports BV with requests for them to manufacture more revolving ski slopes.

Following the demand for these slopes, a new manufacturing company called Alpine Engineering was set up with the sole focus of building more slopes.

Based in the Netherlands, Alpine Engineering are now one of the biggest endless slope manufacturers and have exported their slopes across the globe.

Alpine Engineering Endless Slope, A7-Indoor Ski
Alpine Engineering Have Come A Long Way Since Their First Ski Venue (Photo: A7-Indoor Ski Using Alpine Engineering Slope)

Where Are Endless Slopes Popular?

Endless ski slopes have seen exponential growth in recent decades and are now being shipped across the globe.

It’s difficult to get the exact figures for how many endless slopes are in existence. However, from our research, we have established that around 35 countries currently house at least 1 endless ski slope.

Here, we will look at the countries currently housing the most endless ski slopes.

China

The Chinese government have been making a huge push to increase participation in snowsports, largely due to their hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

This has lead to major investment into improving the ski infrastructure within China. In an attempt to make skiing more accessible, artificial ski alternatives have seen a huge increase.

China now houses by far the most endless ski slopes in the world, with 400 slopes spread across 140 venues. Considering they only had 6 slopes in 2015, this is a remarkable increase in such a short time frame.

Proleski Endless Slope In China
China Have By Far The Most Endless Slopes In The World (Photo: Proleski in China)

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country full of keen skiers. However, they don’t have any natural ski resorts; making it one of the most popular places for artificial ski slopes.

The Netherlands is also home to two of the most prominent revolving ski slope manufacturers – Maxxtracks and Alpine Engineering.

These factors have contributed to The Netherlands installing over 30 endless ski slopes within their borders, which is the second most in the world.

Additionally, they also have the largest indoor endless ski slope complex in the world. The SnowSport Center Utrecht is home to 5 endless slopes, 2 ‘Revolving Disc’ ski slopes and a smaller ‘mobile SkiMachine’.

Endless Ski Slope In The Netherlands
Some Of The Most Well-Known Infinite Slope Manufacturers Are From The Netherlands (Photo: A-7 IndoorSki)

Belgium

Belgium is another country that has a high population of skiers with limited access to natural ski resorts. This makes it another popular location for artificial skiing.

This lack of snow has lead to Belgium opening more than 8 endless ski slopes, which is the 3rd highest in the world.

Belgium were one of the earliest adopters of revolving ski slopes, with many of their installed ski slopes dating back to the 1990’s.

In recent years, refurbishments and new slopes have seen the country continue to improve its artificial skiing infrastructure.

Ars Valendi Infinite Ski Slope Belgium
Belgium Is A Country Full Of Skiers But Lacking Mountains! (Photo: Ars Valendi Belgium)

USA

The USA was one of the earliest adopters of endless slope (or ‘ski deck’) technology. Their first artificial ski centre, known as ‘Ski-Dek’, opened in 1962.

Ski-Dek featured 9 ski slopes that consisted of ‘a nylon rug like conveyor belt that moved downhill at various speeds’. Despite the best efforts of Ski-Dek’s early developers, it would take a few more decades for the idea of revolving ski slopes to really catch the public eye.

There are currently more than 5 ski decks spread across the country. This is a number that can be expected to rise in the future, with the artificial ski industry seeing some development in recent years.

Many of the current slopes are part of a larger ski shop set up, such as Bill Jacksons (Florida). Additionally, slopes have been set up in areas with no easy access to natural snow – allowing skiers to learn the basics before travelling to the mountain environment.

Bill Jacksons Ski Deck
Ski Decks Can Prove An Integral Part Of A Larger Ski Shop (Photo: Bill Jacksons)

Rest Of The World

Artificial slopes have the ability to bring skiing to parts of the world where it was previously never thought possible.

It’s now possible to find at least one ski treadmill across 5 of the worlds 7 continents.

With appropriate climate and terrain no longer required to ski; endless slopes brought skiing to countries where it would previously have been beyond the realm of possibility.

Some of the nations with access to a ski treadmill include; Thailand, South Africa, UAE, Turkey, Australia and many more. This mix of countries proves the global and growing reach of the industry.

Skiing On An Endless Slope, Ski365 Thailand
Endless Slopes Have Brought Skiing To Countries Across The Globe (Photo: Ski365 Thailand)

Why Have Endless Ski Slopes Become Popular?

The demand for skiing has increased across the globe in recent years. Along with this, the amount of artificial slopes has continued to climb at a similar rate.

In this section, we will take a look at some of the reasons behind the success of infinite slopes.

Skiing In Any Climate

Endless slopes are built indoors, meaning that they can be used in any climate. This has lead to them being installed in countries where skiing was previously never thought possible.

Artificial slopes have seen some of the most prominent growth in countries where the climate does not support natural skiing, such as The Netherlands and Belgium.

They have also seen popularity by bringing skiing to countries renowned for having a tropical environment, including; Thailand, UAE and Hong Kong.

Snowboarding On An Endless Slope, Ski365 Thailand
Infinite Slopes Allow You To Ski In Countries With Tropical Climates (Photo: Ski365 Thailand)

Skiing On Any Terrain

Using a ski treadmill does not require a natural sloping surface, removing the need for a mountain environment.

This means that endless slopes can be brought to flatland countries that do not have the natural terrain to support skiing. Additionally, they can also be set up in flatland areas – bringing skiing closer to the cities.

This has brought skiing to countries where it was once impossible and has made the sport easily accessible to people living in built up areas.

Easily Accessible

Artificial infinite ski slopes can be installed in any location, regardless of climate or terrain. This means they are generally placed in areas of high population with good transport links.

Unlike other forms of artificial skiing, such as indoor ski slopes and dry ski slopes, ski treadmills use a very small amount of space. This means they can easily be built in city centres, or located within shopping malls or sports complexes.

In previous years, most skiers would have been required to travel huge distances in order to reach the slopes. However, with artificial slopes, skiing is now on the doorstep of many.

Proleski Infinite Ski Slope
Infinite Ski Slopes Can Be Installed Almost Anywhere (Photo: Proleski)

Year-Round Skiing

Endless slopes remove the need for snow, making skiing a year round sport.

Previously, skiers would have needed to travel to crowded glaciers in order to gain some valuable summer ski time. Now, it’s possible to stay in your hometown and ski all year thanks to artificial technology.

Endless slopes have seen popularity with skiers who are looking to maintain their fitness and improve their technique during the summer.

Skiing On An Endless Slope
You Can Ski All Year On An Infinite Slope! (Photo: Ski Indoor 4810)

Cost Effective

One of the biggest advantages of revolving ski slopes is their ability to offer skiing at a significantly lower price than mountain resorts.

Since they are easily accessed, they remove the necessity for travel and accommodation expenses that are associated with visiting a ski resort. Also, endless slopes are situated indoors, removing the need to purchase potentially expensive ski clothing.

The hourly ski lesson rate is usually significantly cheaper than on the mountain. Within this price, you will often find that equipment rental is also included.

You don’t need to buy a lift pass for an endless slope. Click To Tweet
Snowboarding On A Maxxtracks Infinite Slope
Even If You See A Ski Lift, You Don’t Need To Use It! (Photo: Maxxtracks)

Smaller Class Sizes

Due to the smaller size of revolving ski slopes, class sizes tend to be smaller. With most ski slope centres, you will find that the maximum amount of skiers per session is around three.

This small class size means you get maximum attention from your ski instructor, leading to higher quality ski lessons and better technical ski advice.

Speaking From Experience: Most mountain resort ski schools allow up to 12 skiers in a group lesson!

Proleski Revolving Ski Slope
Endless Slopes Generally Have Smaller Class Sizes Than The Mountain (Photo: Proleski)

Maximum Ski Time

One of the biggest unique selling points of endless slopes is the ability to ski continuously without needing to stop – hence the name ‘endless slope’!

In a regular ski resort, many people will find that they actually spend more time using the lift than skiing down. However, with an endless slope, this is not an issue.

Example: If you book a 1-hour ski session, you could be skiing continuously for a full hour!

Endless slopes are one of the most efficient ways to improve your ski technique. With the lift lines out of the equation, you are able to do a lot of skiing in a short amount of time.

Ski Indoor 4810 Endless Ski Slope
With Endless Slopes, You Don’t Get Many Breaks! (Photo: Ski Indoor 4810)

What’s It Like To Ski On An Endless Slope?

Beginner

Revolving ski slopes provide a great learning environment for anyone who is new to the sport.

Learning the basic ski stance, snowplough stopping and snowplough turning (and more!) can all be done using the exact techniques you would use on the snow.

Most endless slopes have a handle bar you can hold at the front, making those daunting first moments on skis a little bit easier.

In addition, the slopes usually have a mirror at the front, giving you the ability to watch yourself ski. This is an extremely useful tool; allowing you to see your own technical faults and work on an effective ski posture.

The amount of practice you can gain in a short time frame is another factor making endless slopes one of the best places to learn basic ski technique.

Maxxtracks Infinite Ski Slope
Endless Slopes Are A Great Place To Learn The Basics (Photo: Maxxtracks)

Intermediate

If you are trying to progress through the intermediate stages of skiing, then using an endless slope can be a challenge.

Going from snow plough to parallel is one of the most difficult parts of ski progression. If you are learning to do this on an infinite ski slope, the difficulty of this task is increased – mainly due to lack of space on the slope.

Once you have passed the beginner stages, skiing on an endless slope is generally more challenging than skiing on snow.

This means that if you can master the skills needed to progress your ski ability on the artificial surface, you should be more than capable of performing the same technique on the mountain.

Advanced & Expert

If you are already an advanced skier, the first challenge you will face is adapting to the revolving slope. Although the technique used is primarily the same as on the snow, it does take some time to become comfortable with the revolving surface.

Once you have found your feet, endless slopes can provide a great place to work on many of the minor technical deficiencies you struggle with during the winter.

Skiing on the artificial surface requires all of the same technical aspects that you would look to demonstrate on snow, including; correct posture, balancing on the correct ski, pressure control and more.

You will find these slopes are a great way to recognise the technical deficiencies you might have. It will also help you discover if there is any aspect of your ski technique where you have been ‘cheating’ while you’re on the snow.

Endless slopes are extremely unforgiving, so any technical mistake is sure to be punished.

Skier Skiing On A SkiWorld-Pro Infinite Slope
Infinity Slopes Are Unforgiving, So Make Sure Your Technique Is On Point! (Photo: SkiWorld-Pro)

The Pros And Cons Of Endless Slopes

Pros

  • Easy to access. The convenient locations of the slopes make them one of the easiest ways to access skiing – providing you have one in your region!
  • Cost effective. Learning on a ski treadmill is one of the cheapest ways to ski. This is especially true when you factor in ‘cost per hour skiing’, with your money not being wasted waiting in lift lines.
  • Work on your technique before arriving in resort. Whether you’re learning for the first time, or an advanced skier trying to fix a technical issue; endless slopes provide a place to improve your technique so you can arrive on the slopes ready to perform at your best.
  • Maximum attention from a ski instructor. Small group sizes allow the instructor to give you maximum focus during your lesson. Additionally, you are always in close proximity with your instructor, giving you the ability to ask questions and get constant feedback.
Endless Ski Slope
Endless Slopes Allow You To Get Focussed Attention From Your Instructor (Photo: Bill Jacksons)
  • Maximum skiing time. The ability to ski continuously without needing to wait in lines or get on lifts is a huge plus. This allows you to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
  • Skiing all year. With snow no longer necessary, endless slopes provide a great place to practice during the summer.
  • The technique is the same as the snow. Although the feeling is somewhat different to skiing on the mountain, the ski technique used is exactly the same. This means that all the skills you learn are directly transferrable to the ski slopes.
  • Less equipment needed. Since infinite ski slopes are indoors, you don’t need to buy any ski gear to start skiing. Usually, all you need is a pair of long socks – everything else will be provided for you.
  • Provides a great ski fitness workout. Skiing on the slope non-stop for just 5 minutes will be tiring for most skiers (honestly!). Ski treadmills provide a great cardio workout, while also keeping your ski muscles in top condition.
Ski Indoor 4810 Infinite Ski Slope
Endless Slopes Bring So Many Positives To The Ski Industry! (Photo: Ski Indoor 4810)

Cons

  • The feeling is different to the snow. Although endless slopes use the same ski technique as the snow, the feeling is different. Adapting from the mountain to the artificial slope (or vice versa) can present a challenge.
  • It’s difficult. Revolving ski slopes are much less forgiving than snow. Catching an edge is easy and recovering from mistakes can be difficult, so be prepared to take some falls.
  • It can be painful when you fall. Unlike the soft and fluffy snow you might find in a ski resort, the surface of an endless slope is completely solid – meaning falls can often be painful.
  • The repetition can get boring for some skiers. Endless slopes don’t provide much variation, so the repetitive nature of consistent turns while staying in the same place can get boring for some skiers.
  • No mountain view. One issue that endless slopes will never be able to fix is the environment. Many people predominantly enjoy skiing for the fresh air, scenic views and resort atmosphere; rather than the actual sport!

Summing Up

Endless slopes provide an accessible and affordable way to ski, while also bringing skiing to countries where it was previously impossible. They are a brilliant way to start your skiing journey or keep your passion going throughout the warmer months.

In my opinion: Endless slopes are going to become an integral part of the ski industry over the coming decade (and beyond!).

James King (SnowSunSee Founder)

What is your experience of using endless ski slopes? Leave a comment and let us know!