Modern Living: Snowless Skiing

When they first appeared in the U.S. almost a decade ago, no-snow slopes covered with slippery plastic were hailed as a ski buffs salvation during the long, hot summer. But most schussers were quickly turned off. The stiff, molded bristles that were supposed to substitute for snow ruined their skis, and falling on the stuff felt something like falling on a rake.

Outside the U.S., however, various kinds of synthetic ski surfaces have been more successful. A 400-meter nylon-covered ramp at Edinburgh's Hillend Ski Center is jammed with people during the winter months; so...

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