Indoor skiing makes me think funny fake snow and blasting music so I was not in a rush to go and try out Malaysia’s first indoor ski centre, First Traxx in PJ. A looming trip to colder climes and my children who are Nordic only on paper in serious danger of having to take ski lessons with toddlers prompted me to give it a go – and they had a blast!
First Traxx has no fake snow, but a conveyor belt type of slope made of tiny brushes, that is a bit like a threadmill on a slope. There is a bar to hold on, useful in the beginning to get your balance and practice the right position of the skis.
The lessons need to be booked ahead and they last 30 minutes. A lesson is typically done in slots of ten minutes, alternating with another group – ten minutes on, ten off. We were a bit dubious of this but the skiing is actually quite tiring and the breaks were a welcome respite. Husband pointed out that on a real slope a lot of time is spent on getting back to the top of the slope. Especially with young learners getting to the lift area, getting on to the lift and staying on it until the top can be tiring and stressful.
The instructor we had was friendly and professional, and the ratio of three students per instructor made sure they all had enough attention, hand-holding and gentle guiding to avoid crashes. After their first lesson ever the kids had enough balance to to keep on going and knew the basics of stopping – a good start! We were told that the surface translates well to real snow, and if anything it is less forgiving that a real-life slope. This means that if you crack it here, you’ll be grand on snow.
The pricing seems quite high, at RM159 per session and a family session adds up quickly. But as the hubby pointed out, it should be not seen as an alternative for a cheap and cheerful weekend activity but really compared to a private sports lesson. Considering the small groups and equipment involved, it is probably not more than a ski lesson in a resort. Just doing it before heading there leaves you more time to enjoy the slopes and be more confident, we reckon.
Here is a short video of our first trial – not quite ready to conquer the slopes of Niseko yet =)