By Andrew Liszewski
There’s something about gigantic indoor ski resorts that bring out the best in architects. Then again, a structure large enough to house a mountain steep enough for skiing is never going to be inconspicuous. So I guess you need to make them presentable. Or at the least, striking. Which Denmark-based firm C. F. Møller Architects has certainly done with Sweden’s new Skipark 360. When completed in a few years (construction starts in late 2013) the $220+ million structure will be the largest indoor ski resort on the planet. And with an almost 2,300 foot run that drops over 500 feet, it will actually be large enough to stage World Cup caliber ski events.
But you don’t build a structure this massive for just one purpose. In addition to the downhill course, the SkiPark 360 will also feature 2.2 miles of cross-country skiing tunnels, dedicated slopes for those no-goodnik snowboarders, ice rinks, spas, and conference facilities. And because it’s being built in Bålsta, a small town located about 40 minutes outside of Stockholm, it’s also got a few hotel rooms because I’m suspecting most of the clientele won’t be local.
Besides tourism, the Skipark 360 is being built as a response to climate change which has been detrimental to the area’s ski industry. So not only will it provide the perfect ski conditions to visitors and professional athletes all year round, but it will do so in a manner that’s environmentally friendly. Ideally the resort will be completely self sufficient using renewable energy sources like solar, wind & hydro power, as well as geothermal for heating.