We can all agree that being outside during summer in Florida is pretty much the worst. What if I told you there is a place you can go that would place you right in the middle of the Swiss Alps, skiing down the slopes like a total pro? That place is real and its name is WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard.
The facilities at WinterClub include two different ways you can participate in winter sports in a region like Central Florida where there are absolutely no mountains to be found.
The ski simulator
The infinite slopes
The ski simulator combines virtual reality and movement to make you feel the real physical forces you would experience when skiing or snowboarding. I decided to try out one of the infinite slopes, which is basically a giant treadmill covered in white, spongy turf and made to look like snow. Up to three skiers or snowboarders can ride the slope at once and the instructors control how steep the slope is and how quickly it moves.
I spoke with the owner, Michelle Farah, about the origin story of WinterClub and she explained that they brought the infinite slope technology from overseas when they saw there was nothing similar in Florida. Farah clarified, "No one in Europe learns on the real slopes. They all start out on one of these."
I have to warn you—snowboarding is no joke. It's a pretty intense workout if you have no experience with it. Luckily, the instructors know this so they split the hour up into alternating segments of 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off the slope. You'll learn the basics slowly and gradually move up into more complicated moves based on how quickly you catch on.
Farah says, "it's much easier to learn this way rather than on a mountain."
This was my first time ever trying to snowboard and my instructor Austin was completely comfortable working with beginners. "I've taught skiing to a two-year-old and snowboarding to a four-year-old. We even have people over 80 come in here and do just fine," he said.
Bonus: WinterClub has a $10 off promotion for introductory hour-long lessons, making them only $39.
If getting out of the heat and into the slopes isn't enough to convince you to check out WinterClub, they also have 24 flavors of gelato made in-house at their cafe. They worked with an Italian chef to engineer the flavors and the multi-talented ski instructors make it themselves. I tried the birthday cake flavor and it was both colorful and tasted amazing.
WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard
2950 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792
Tina Fleming is a partner at Townie Tourist and an Orlando-based travel and lifestyle blogger at Tina In The Sun. She's a cat mom, self-proclaimed foodie, and moonlight singer in an a cappella group called Geekapella.