Work on a world-class freestyle dry ski slope is reported to be underway in Belgium.
Unlike most existing dry ski slopes, the centre will have the dry ski slope element on sloping structures built above the hill top in a similar way to the inruns on ski jumping towers, with the hillside where an old dry ski slope once existed covered with vast giant airbags for landing jumps.
The facility within the multi-activity Sport Vlaanderen Genk, is a major €3m re-make of a former dry slope that once occupied the site (pictured below) but closed more than five years ago.
Belgium’s Minister of Sport Philippe Muyters symbolically put the first spade in the ground to mark the start of construction.
The facility is aimed at all abilities but top athletes will be able to train to Winter Olympic level there, the company behind it believes.
Along with the ski slopes there will be terrain features including jumps and an airbag, the latter designed so that freestyle BMXers can also use it.
“We have no mountains and hardly any snow in Flanders, so we have to be innovative,” said Mr Muyters, “We build a mountain ourselves, and what a mountain! This dry slope will be a technical feat, the best in Europe. This will enable both our snowboarders and our BMX’ers to prepare for competitions in optimal conditions. We continue to invest in infrastructure so that our athletes can make maximum use of their talent. “
Snowboarders will be able to launch from a 40 metre long ramp, with a 30 ° pitch, at a height of 35 metres. The ‘kicker’ on the jump will be adjustable so that every ‘Big Air jump’ in the world can be simulated. The big air cushion for landing will have a huge surface area of 1300 square metres.
There will also be a practice slope 20 metres high, seven metres wide and 40 metres long.
The complex should be complete by the end of this year.