Typically when we think of indoor skiing, it's in the form of massive, resource-intensive indoor ski resorts like the Skipark 360 being built in Sweden. German company SkyTec Interactive offers a more streamlined type of indoor skiing: simulated ski training with virtual slopes. SkyTec debuted its first public facility in the United States this month.
SkyTechSport Ski and Fit provides indoor ski training in warm, sunny Beverly Hills. The club currently has two different machines: the 18-foot-long (5.5 m) President Lux simulator with a mirror and 10-foot (3 m) screen and the Olymp simulator, a 24-foot-long (7.3 m) machine with a large panoramic display and 3D capability. Later in the year, the facility plans to add a smaller 10-foot Leader Pro model to round out its offerings.
The globally patented ski simulator system from Munich-based SkyTec Interactive combines exercise equipment with a large virtual reality ski simulation. The system includes a pair of skis or snowboard mounted to rails on a long, lateral surface. The equipment allows the trainee to move like they would on the slopes, essentially carving from edge to edge and schussing down the slopes. Through a series of sensors and a computer system, the trainee engages with the virtual ski environment.
The system mimics the centripetal forces experienced during skiing or snowboarding and relays the same G-force to the user, according to the company. Despite the fact that movements on the simulator are lateral, compared to the arcing curves that skiers perform on actual ski slopes, the forces and inertia involved are the same.
In terms of fitness, SkyTec says that its machines offer a combination of strength training and cardiovascular training. The training strengthens leg, back and stomach muscles while increasing muscle coordination and flexibility. The machines can be tuned for various levels of strength and fitness - with more powerful turns, skiers can increase muscle mass, while they can burn fat more effectively with quicker, less powerful turns.
SkyTec systems are designed to be all-season training tools for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. They prompt users to keep skis parallel, remain on their edges, control their bodies and improve balance. They can help beginners to become comfortable with the form and movements required in skiing, and help advanced and expert skiers improve their technique, work with an on-site instructor, and stay in better shape and form during the off-season.
While you could purchase a SkyTec system on your own, if you had the will, space and money for it (a SkyTec rep told us they retail between US$20,000 and $100,000), an easier solution would be to set up a session at the Beverly Hills training facility. All equipment is provided, but you can use your own boots if you prefer. A single session costs $129, and discounts are provided by way of 6, 12 and 24 multi-session packs. Sessions include oversight from an instructor, who observes your form, instructs on techniques and changes simulator settings like snow conditions. They last 50 minutes.
During the months of February and March, the new facility is offering a 30 percent discount on training sessions in celebration of its grand opening. If you do decide that you'd like to own your own SkyTec system, Beverly Hills SkyTec doubles as a dealership and showroom.