There’s no business like snow business for homesick expats in the UAE

Dubai firm is offering private villa owners the opportunity to give their back gardens a snow dusting for Christmas.

Ben Elliott-Scott, managing director of Desert Snow, sprays a typical street side scene in Jumeirah with a artificial snow typically used on movie sets and stages to recreate a snow scene. Antonie Robertson / The National
Ben Elliott-Scott, managing director of Desert Snow, sprays a typical street side scene in Jumeirah with a artificial snow typically used on movie sets and stages to recreate a snow scene. Antonie Robertson / The National

 

DUBAI // Many expatriates staying in the UAE over Christmas say seasonal snow is one of the things they miss most at this time of year.

But a “winter effects” company is offering private villa residents the chance to make their back gardens a winter wonderland with a dusting of the white stuff.

Ben Elliott-Scott, managing director of Desert Snow, has several customers who are not going home and who want a Christmas feeling.

“This is our busiest time of the year, purely because to get that magic of winter, you need to have snow,” Mr Elliott-Scott said.

The company has 40 falling snow machines, all of which have been rented, several snowmen and a “forest” of 200 artificial fir trees.

One of the most popular attractions is a snow-dusting machine that uses biodegradable, cellulose-like material, a bit like wet paper, to imitate settled snow.

The material has been used in several shopping malls this year as a “snowball fight” attraction.

The company has imported and used 3.75 tonnes of the material across the country so far this month.

While most customers are malls and large-scale private events, the company also offers a service to transform your back garden.

Costing from Dh5,000, you can have 5 square metres of snow on your back lawn, about 5 centimetres thick, which can be used to make snowballs.

For up to Dh20,000, you can have fir trees, snowmen, and a machine to make falling snow.

Mr Elliott-Scott said most people who chose the package were homesick expatriates.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia among expats, who miss that part of home,” he said.

“There’s a Canadian family who are missing the snow from home. They’ve had a kid since they’ve moved here and that child hasn’t experienced a proper Christmas, Canadian-style with snow.”

Mr Elliott-Scott said the snow also had a “novelty factor” with local children, many of whom had never seen real snow before.

“I’ve always thought that snow is a magical thing,” he said. “That’s something that doesn’t happen here naturally. But more people are finding that cellulose snow is the next best thing.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Full article here: https://www.thenational.ae/uae/there-s-no-business-like-snow-business-for-homesick-expats-in-the-uae-1.658501