Whether you're a competitive or casual skier -- or even a beginner -- indoor slopes let you spend more time honing your skills when the weather refuses to cooperate.
When a skier needs to train, sometimes the outdoors aren’t enough. Weather, snow quality, terrain, and more are all variables that make pinpoint training difficult on the slopes. Sometimes to train for the outdoors, it’s best to stay inside.
The Alpine Factory is a brand new, state-of-the-art indoor skiing facility in Arden Hills, Minnesota. It’s the first of its kind in the state and boasts two “infinite revolving slopes” to simulate the feel of skiing or snowboarding down an actual mountain.
Each slope is essentially a massive treadmill coated in special carpeting that shares similar texture and friction with snow. “The movements are the same as on the snow,whether for skiing or snowboarding,” said co-founder Jessica Parchenta in an interview with Press Publications. “You are able to practice your turns in a controlled environment, using our mirrors [located at the bottom of each slope] to see your performance and make adjustments to improve your technique.”
Up to three people can use the slope at any given time. Depending on their skill level, the speed and pitch of each slope can be adjusted. It replicates slopes from the easiest green runs to the full black diamond experience. Instructors supervise skiers at all times to adjust and stop the slopes as needed.
Parchenta and her husband, Dan Parchenta, brought the technology to Minnesota after being introduced to the revolving slopes at a 2011 international ski instructor conference. They say what makes them the perfect duo to run such a facility is their combined teaching experience of more than 35 years. They have also received the highest level of certification given by the Professional Ski Instructors of America.
All that experience creates a conducive learning environment for developing all skill levels. “For the ‘never-evers,’ it’s a great way to get introduced into the sport with ease, and the skills you learn on our slopes translate to the snow seamlessly,” said Jessica Parchenta.
Besides the obvious benefit of year-round practice for winter sports, the absence of a chairlift allows a lot more concentrated time on the slopes. Just one hour at the Alpine Factory equates to one full day on a mountain.
For anyone in the area, the Alpine Factory is open seven days a week, with day and evening sessions available. Full pricing details are available on its website.