China, a country where snow is often regarded as a luxury and not a guarantee, will soon become home to the world's largest indoor snow and ski resort known as "Wintastar Shanghai."
Located right in the heart of Shanghai, the country's biggest city, the resort will span over 227,000 square meters with 99,000 of those meters reserved just for the powdery slopes. Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based retailer helping with the resort's development, explained that there will be a total of three ski slopes for visitors to use, but one will be specifically for Olympic training — definitely not a bunny slope for beginners to attempt.
If extreme snow sports aren't really your thing, don't worry; there will also be 25 snow attractions to satisfy all visitor preferences, as well as a gondola, theatrical performances, ice sculpture shows, retailers, food establishments, and more. This resort will likely become the ultimate winter wonderland getaway that can be enjoyed all year around.
The project was designed by award-winning Italian architect Massimo Mercurio who heads the Singapore-based company, Mercurio Design Lab. His team came up with the designs for the resort's elegant structure which he claims drew inspiration from icebergs, other European resorts, and the alps. Three ice hotels at varying price points and accommodations will allow guests to lounge in luxury as they enjoy their immersive experience.
In addition to wintery attractions, Winstastar Shanghai will also offer a 28,000 square meter indoor Viking-themed waterpark, according to KOP Limited, the Singapore-based real estate development and entertainment company who are working in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim to develop the resort. On their website, the company explains this two-level waterpark will house record-setting waterslides to deliver the most exciting water-play experience to thrill-seeking guests.
Wintastar Shanghai will join the ever-growing number of indoor ski resorts that Majid Al Futtaim have developed, including Ski Dubai, the first indoor slope in the Middle East, and Ski Egypt, the first in Africa. Shanghai's resort will be three times as big as Ski Dubai, which held the world record upon its opening in 2005.
To put it into perspective, the current record holder is the Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort, located nearby in China's city of Harbin. This resort, opened in 2017, spans an estimated 80,000 square meters, which makes it less than half the size of Wintastar. Clearly, this will be the winter tourist spot that will rival all others.
The ground was officially broken at the end of August for the new resort, and while there's currently no firm date of completion just yet, officials estimate it will likely be finished in the year 2022 — just in time for the Winter Olympics hit Beijing that year.
According to the 2017 report from the China Ski Industry White Book, only 12.1 million Chinese people reported having tried skiing at least once in their lifetime. Considering the country's population is 1.38 billion people, that's really not a huge amount. Hopefully, this new luxury skiing spot will encourage more people in China to partake in one of the world's most beloved winter pastimes.