All images: Wanda Ski Park-万逹娯雪楽園
We’re pretty au fait with the indoor snow centre concept over here in the UK. Other than dryslopes, they’re our bread and butter for easy access spots to session all year round.
But around the world, domes seem to be morphing – offering new levels of luxury and resort imitation at every turn – incorporating trees, actual chair lifts, and longer, more complex slope options for discerning snow-starved clientele.
The latest contender in the ongoing one-upmanship battle looks to be Chinese theme park masters Wanda, with their claim for the largest indoor ski centre in the world (by snow surface area). Launching next month – it’s boasting six slopes of varying gradients, the longest of which stretches on for 500m (dwarfing the UK’s current best of 180m at Chill Factore).
Take a look through the piste plan above and you’ll also notice a commitment to park features, beginners slopes, a full blown Euro-style castle build – with apparent toboggan runs sprouting from all sides – and more, all served by chairlifts as well as conveyor belts.
Capacity apparently stands at around 3000 people, but what really smarts for us personally is that the surrounding Harbin area already has 50 or so outdoor resorts for residents to choose from, and winter temperatures as low as -30°C. Gone are the days when indoor centres were reserved for flat lands where the snow hardly ever falls.
Naturally Dubai is already on path to out-do this leviathan, with plans for a new centre including a 1.2km run due to be ready to launch in 2020 – so don’t expect this to be the largest of its kind for very long.