Planned €3.1 Billion Mega-Mall Near Paris To Feature Indoor Snow Slope

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 26th June 2017

France is home to the world’s longest indoor snow slope at Amneville in the North East of the country (it’s 620 metres long – more than three times longer than Britain’s longest) but several plans to build facilities near the capital, Paris, including one from the operators of the two large SnowWorld indoor snow centres in The Netherlands, are yet to happen.

One of the current proposals is for a facility at the planned €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion) EuropaCity shopping and leisure complex put forward by grocery giant Auchan Holding SA, which runs nearly 4,000 supermarkets worldwide.

They began work on initial plans for the project over a decade ago (shortly before the global economic crash) but it has gained some momentum in recent months after the huge Chinese Dalian Wanda Group which is behind several indoor snow and conventional ski resorts in China, including the world’s largest by slope area in Harbin, announced they would invest in it.

EuropaCity, located 16km/10 miles north of the French capital, would be linked to the Paris Metro network, be ‘eco-responsible’ and aims to have around 500 shops, several hotels, conference centres and other attractions including a theme park with indoor tropical beach and a circus and aims to attract around 30 million visitors a year making it the most popular leisure destination in Europe.

The centre’s designers are the Bjarke Ingels Group who have been responsible for a number of ski-related projects, including the dry-ski-slope-on-a-power-plant project in Denmark.  100% of the energy used will be produced on site by exploiting green energy sources and much of the centre’s roof covered by an urban farm, with many of the attractions including the snow slope partially below the farm – as shown bottom left of the image at the bottom of this report.

There are no details on the indoor snow slope so far however according to plans on the project’s website, it does state that the indoor snow centre will exchange energy with the tropical swimming pool complex as part of the green initiatives, using heat produced by the freezing technology to warm the pool complex.  An animated promotional video shows quite a large indoor snow centre complete with indoor quad-chairlift.

However there is reported to be strong opposition to the project, including from two nearby malls, some local politicians, and from environmental campaigners.  Among the arguments against the proposals are that giant malls have ‘had their day’ and that people increasingly prefer smaller, local shops.

If the project does clear all objections however, and the election of pro-business President Macron is seen as another positive for that potentially happening, construction could begin in 2019 and the complex open in 2024, four years later than originally envisaged by Auchan.  According to reports it would not be expected to make a profit until the 2050s.

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