A massive new indoor snow centre in China, due to officially open next month, has had its ‘soft opening’.
Located in the Southern city of Guangzhou, population around 15 million, the centre originally named ‘The Cultural Tourism City’ was initiated by the Wanda Group, the same company that built the world’s largest indoor snow centre (by snow area) in Harbin, Northeast China, which opened in 2017.
The centre has four separate ski runs with a combined length of nearly 900 metres and what’s believed to be the world’s first indoor gondola lift.
The centre has four separate ski runs of 328m, 230m, 243m and 78 metres in length, however, in an unusual design feature, it is reported that the 328m and 78-metre slopes can be combined in one run via a flat 50-metre link area to create a 460-metre long descent.
The longest indoor ski slope of the 90 or so currently open indoor snow centres is in Germany at the Alpincentre with a 640-metre slope, but a longer slope is being built within the new Meydan One complex in Dubai, which has been variously reported as aiming to be between 750 and 1.2m in length.
Guangzhou is currently fifth in the world for slope length and due to drop to seventh when several other ‘under construction’ slopes open, but it is unlikely to lose its current second in the world for size, with 56,000sqm of snow-covered fun, behind Harbin, very soon.
The Guangzhou centre is expected to attract 20 million visitors per year, a big chunk of the Chinese president’s stated aim of getting 300 million Chinese people to try winter sports before the country hosts the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
One of the challenges with this aim is that although China famously has a huge population, the vast majority live in the warm, flat, southern part of the country with no snow. This complex helps resolve that conundrum.
Besides skiing the indoor snow playground, described as a ‘4th generation indoor snow centre’ offers around 30 snow entertainment activities such as snow slides, skate park, ice bumper cars, ski rotator and Santa sleigh, which doesn’t require any special sport skills, providing fun and recreation for the whole family.
The facility uses an S6 snowmaking system from Italian company TechnoAlpin. The Italian-based company says the system is ideal for indoor snow conditions as the system means a new layer of snow can be created daily, ensuring optimum snow conditions even for large numbers of visitors.
(Images credit Benny Wu)