Giant Indoor Snow Centre Built Within Former Mining Pit to Open this Year

One of the world’s largest, and most impressive yet, indoor snow centres is due to open later this year in China’s southerly Hunan province.

“Xiangjiang Joy City Snow World” will have a 30,000 square metre indoor snow park – placing it in the world top five in size, of more than 90 indoor snow centres that are now open on six continents.

However what is more impressive than the centre’s size, is that it is being built in a massive suspended building constructed within a huge underground pit, that was created by decades of mining.  The pit is reported to be over 300 metres long, 200 metres wide and 100 metres deep.

The picture top was taken last summer, this is the vision of the completed building:

The Discovery Channel has rated the construction project, being undertaken by China Construction Fifth Engineering Division Corp (CCFED), as amongst the nine most difficult currently underway in the world.

The teams have had to work with a steep rock face, complex geological features such as lava flows and build an extremely heavy steel structure within the deep pit, weighing an estimated 200,000 tonnes. This is suspended in the middle of the pit by using 48 pillars, each with a diameter of 4.3 meters (over 14 feet) to support the weight.

The indoor snow park was designed in 2014 by CTC Ice & Snow, a Canadian company who have been operating in China for 20 years.

According to the company the complex is themed on the Alps, with a snow playground designed to ensure a whole recreational experience in a multifunctional facility that hosts activities like skiing, skating, snow sliding and ultimate challenge.

The ski run, leaning against the slope of the mountain, which is 120m long and 45m wide is at the heart of the resort. Other areas include an indoor mountain covered in snow, a penguin zone and a winter village. There will also be plenty of snow activities available including a snow maze, snow castle, snow sliding and penguin performance.

Work on the complex began in 2014 and hopes of an initial opening in 2016 are now long gone, but the 2019 target doers look more likely as the complex nears completion.

As well as the indoor snow centre, the facility will feature a water park on the roof of the snowdome and many other tourist attractions and facilities.

The City of Joy is reported to have cost around 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) to build, although 75% of this cost was apparently used to pay fees for house demolition and the resettlement of residents.  It is expected to create more than 8,000 direct job positions and 50,000 indirect jobs generating an annual income of about 3 billion yuan.

Hunan is China’s 10th largest province with a population of nearly 70 million. It is hoped that when it opens Xiangjiang Joy City Snow World will attract 15 million visitors annually from Hunan and neighbouring provinces.

A number of the world’s existing indoor snow centres, including some of Europe’s largest in Germany, the UK and The Netherlands have been built on the site of former mines, but most have used spoil heaps built up above ground for their ski slopes, not the mined area itself.