Ski madness in Dubai at 32 degrees. Last week, slalom races were held in the 223,000 square meter “Mall of the Emirates” shopping center. A hall became a ski area. Tons of artificial snow, gigantic air conditioning systems that guarantee a constant temperature of minus four degrees, and a chair lift provide the necessary winter atmosphere. A setting that takes getting used to, in which a piece of ski history was written. For the first time, FIS races will take place in a hall.
Part of this insane spectacle is also a Swiss: Carlos Mäder (43). The skier from Ghana was adopted by a Swiss family at a young age. Raised in Obwalden, he now speeds down the ski slopes of the world for his country of birth – including in the United Arab Emirates.
Blick reached him in Dubai via video call. With a lot of gestures and full of energy, he describes his impressions from the “largest refrigerator in the world”, as he himself says.
Trumpets set the mood
It was surreal when he skied down the hill for the first time. But it wasn’t spectacular: “After an hour I got bored.” In the race, the athletes completed three rounds, each with a running time of around 20 seconds. Mäder almost fits the format together: “You make two or three turns and then you’re down.”
What can the athletes expect in the finish area? There can be no question of yawning emptiness. This also has to do with the world exhibition Expo, which is currently taking place in Dubai. «The organizers of the Expo got wind of our race and created a great atmosphere. Even trumpets were used. ”
As a reward, a “coffee schnapps”
It will be really pompous on Saturday. Then a prince from the royal house of the United Arab Emirates is a guest in the ski hall. “He’s watching the state championships.” An event that tramples the climate with its feet.
The giant slalom specialist, who placed in the lower midfield in the race, also sees it that way: “It’s anything but a great feeling. Especially because of the climate. “
The reward for appearing in the ski hall is far from glamorous. “On Friday there was a trip to the Swiss mountains for the third-placed.” In Europe the prices are even more modest. “There you can get a coffee schnapps.”