One of the biggest downfalls of snow sports is the seasonal nature of the games. Having to hang up the skis or snowboard for six months of the year is devastating to many extreme sport fanatics. While there is not a large presence in North America and Europe, because of year round access to snow in parts of both continents, the United Kingdom has a number of dry ski slopes that allow for year round activity.The material used to create these artificial slopes has evolved over time. One of the biggest challenges is creating a surface that provides both quality movement and doesn’t ruin equipment. A type of plastic with small spikes for added grip was one of the first dry slope materials used. Skiers and Snowboarders who try these slopes have to use excessive amounts of wax to protect their equipment. Improvement of this technology has facilitated the use of this in both indoor and outdoor slopes. A recent invention is a product called Snowflex, made by a British company. Made of polymer composite, this tile-form material is said to create an authentic feel and incorporates a misting system to help reduce the problems of friction. Snowflex is used at more than 30 slopes. This material can even be found at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.In addition to the demand of snow sport enthusiasts for a place to go year round to practice their hobby, there is a need for training facilities for professional athletes. No matter what time of year, snow-covered slopes can be found somewhere, but having quality, authentic dry slopes is a great advancement for this sport.
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