The single most annoying thing about snow sports is that they’re seasonal. If you only hit the slopes local to home you have three months of white stuff at best. For most of us when you do hit the slopes it is without any training whatsoever and you can only afford to board for a week (or two) every season unless you have a trust fund or a 1%er job. Your first few days, while heaps of fun, will leave your legs in another world of pain as your body adjusts to working the crap out of near dormant muscles. To make things a little easier in Sydney, Off-Piste Ski and Snowboard Simulators have launched a “lodge” in Moore Park. We headed along to be given a lesson in just how incredibly unfit we were.
The first thing you notice when you enter the Off-Piste venue is that it mimics a chalet, in fact, your greeting will most likely be “Welcome to the Lodge.” It has faux fur, snow memorabilia, white carpet throughout, lots of wood and candles and it even smells like a chalet. I was half expecting the staff to offer us mulled wine, we did get coffees and free water bottles though. You can buy a limited range of snow clothing here and one wall is mostly dedicated to your rental boots. Throughout the venue is three simulators; two smaller and one larger. They can both be converted for skiers or snowboarders and they look like a sideways treadmill with screens in front of them.
They will destroy you. They look like fun and only really offer sideways movements back and forth but the workout you receive is on another level, you’ll discover muscles you have never felt before. Dan lasted the full fifteen minutes on a snowboard and I didn’t even get close, maybe ten on the skis and I was destroyed, drowning in my own sweat. If it hurts and makes you sweat it’s definitely doing the right thing right?
THE OFF-PISTE STORY:
Owners Chadia and Pascal started Off-Piste Ski and Snowboard Simulators out of their own passion for the slopes and their inability to cope with local snow for only three months of the year. They wanted to be able to do it year round and with the virtual reality screens in front of the simulators, they were able to achieve something very close to the real thing. They are now the only snow sports simulator option in Sydney and are the sole distributor for SkyTechSport’s world-class equipment in Australia. The equipment is what the U.S. Ski Team trains on, Australia’s Emily Arthur trains and I believe even works here, and in May even Shaun White paid them a visit.
While we were there a few people came in to train and were doing about three training sessions a week. If I lived closer I would be doing the same. Its real strength in training is you have to generate the side to side movement yourself, you have to build up and maintain the motion, there is no downhill slippery slope to help you. What the machine can do is take you to any slalom slope in the world via its operating system. You can do the slalom from the most recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as well as many others. It can then be adjusted to take into account slippery or dry conditions, your skill level, and can even add moguls and bumps. The operating system also offers a long list of stats on your skiing or boarding to help improve your style and stamina.
It is ideal for people wanting to start out and get an idea of what they are in for before hitting the mountain. It is also suitable for people who want to keep their fitness up and be snow-ready and it is ideal for people recovering from an on-mountain accident, rehab for the slopes if you will. People wanting to learn some advanced carving techniques and pros who just need to repetitively do some hardcore carving will find it all on the simulators.
Check out Off-Piste Ski and Snowboard Simulators Yourself:
We had a fantastic time at Off-Piste Ski and Snowboard Simulators. For something that we both thought would be a gimmicky ride mainly for kids we were quickly surprised and put through the ringer. I will be returning soon and my suggestion would be to buy a 5x pass. It makes the tickets a little cheaper and will get you more adapted at the end of five sessions.
Big thanks to the people from Off-Piste who hosted us for a morning of chats, coffee and simulator training.
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