Originally Posted by COBillsFan
An actual indoor ski hill is pretty asinine IMO. Outside of park rat skills, I would argue that the training advantages would be unnoticeable.
Indoor slopes make good business sense for large cities that aren't particularly close to the mountains. In addition to the benefits for park rats, they're really good for never-evers up to intermediates looking for a lot of lessons/practice.
Whenever someone around here talks to me about learning to ski, I always suggest they start off in the indoor slopes (this town has two within about 30 minutes' drive). It's far cheaper and more convenient to learn the basics in there for 1 or 2 hours at a time over the course of a few months than to slap down a wad of cash for a trip to the mountains, where you try to cram all of your lessons into a few days (or just forego lessons altogether). Also, when you learn those hard lessons about painful boots and clothes that don't breath, you're only suffering through the mistakes for short periods of time. And, the controlled environment means you won't be trying to learn in fog, heavy snow, heavy winds, rain, or extreme cold.
I think they're far better at drawing new skiers/boarders to the sport than relying on never-evers to invest heavily on trips to the mountains. Also, it gives decent skiers a chance to make a few turns throughout the summer and autumn so that they're ready to hit the ground running on their first days on the mountain. But mainly, it's park rats and lower-level skiers that make up most of the customer base.