Although it’s often hard to identify them behind the goggles, down parkas and ski beanies, Hollywood royalty has long taken to the slopes at such winter wonderlands as Aspen, Telluride and Park City, Utah.

With his $30 million, nine-bedroom Telluride mansion, Tom Cruise is no exception.

Until this year.

While filming Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol in Dubai, the long-time superstar took up snow skiing in the desert.

No sooner did Cruise, Simon Pegg and others in the cast arrive in the ultra-glamorous Middle Eastern city than they took to the ski slopes at Ski Dubai, a man-made ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates. Even though it’s 110 degrees outside, this indoor ski resort has all the amenities of its outdoor counterparts including ski lifts, challenging runs, a snow cave, ski lodges (complete with hot chocolate) and the opportunity for skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing.

According to Cruise who likes to perform his own movie stunts, skiing was a way to relax after hours of scaling Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building where several scenes were shot. After witnessing a couple takes of his daredevil suspension from the 160-story building, wife Katie Holmes and daughter Suri quickly decided their time would be better spent shopping.

When Ski Dubai opened in November 2005, the closest residents of the UAE had ever been to snow was pictures in magazines. In fact, finding staff to work in the minus-degree temperatures was challenging. Finally, the resort brought in teams from ski resorts in the French Alps.

Last month, Cruise returned to Dubai for the 8th annual Dubai International Film Festival where the fourth in his Ethan Hunt action series officially premiered.

And while it’s hard to outdo the popular U.S. actor, Ski Dubai is installing a flock of Antarctic penguins in early February.

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