Started by J2SkiNews in Ski News 18-Mar-2017
The biggest indoor snow centre yet built will open in Harbin, China, this summer.
Around 100 indoor snow centres have been built over the past three decades in some 30 countries on six continents, with around 60 currently operating, but Wanda Cultural City will be the biggest yet by some distance.
Although the centre will not have the longest indoor snow slope, its longest run reported to be 550m long, beaten by two 600m+ indoor slopes in France and Germany, the 150 metre width of the snow area allowing for six different runs served by several indoor chairlifts gives it more than double the snow area than the current biggest, SnowWorld Landgraaf in The Netherlands. The Dutch centre has 35,000 of snow slopes, the new Harbin centre more than 70,000 square metres.
The previous 'largest ever' was the SSAWS centre built in Tokyo in the early 1990s which was demolished more than a decade ago having failed to turn a profit. Japan's first Ikea store now stands on the site where it once was. Long with being the biggest ever indoor snow centre with 50,000 square metres of snow cover, SSAWS was notable for having special earthquake-absorbing support towers to prevent the danger of an indoor avalanche being caused by seismic activity.
Work on Wanda Cultural City began four years ago and the complex is reported to have cost more than £2.2 billion to build. New pictures from the centre show it as largely complete with snow being made and groomers in location indoors, as well as a mountain mural, very different to the mountains in the region, along the sides of the centre. It was previously reported that the centre is aiming to open in early August.
Harbin has long being the hub of China's rapidly expanding ski business with the country's biggest resorts, Yabuli, and dozens more smaller centres located around the city.
The area is infamous for its low winter temperatures, with -30C not being unusual, meaning that the indoor snow centre's year-round temperature of around -5C will actually be much warmer than outdoors for a sizable part of the year.
China currently has six indoor snow centres operating and another 8 under construction giving it the most in the world.
The Wanda group behind the new centre (and several other indoor snow centres also under construction) is one of the world's biggest companies and also operates several of China's larger conventional ski areas.