World’s Oldest Indoor Snow Centre Closed in 2020 for Renovations
What is regarded as the world’s oldest surviving indoor snow centre, Sayama in Japan, is closed this year for renovations, according to the SnowJapan.com website
Sayama first opened in 1959 and has a 300 metre long slope with a roof on it. However the slope has partially open sides, covered with hanging clear plastic to keep the cold in in its not-normally-snowy location. It is also believed not to be refrigerated, unlike the indoor snow centres of the modern era which began opening in the late 1980s. Sayama operates in winter with snow making machines and an artificial ski slope surface beneath the snow if it melts. Initially it is reported the centre used crushed ice brought in from outdoors before snow making was installed.
SnowJapan.com notes the Sayama is particularly popular for night skiing and even stays open right through the night sometimes.
The centre is part of the larger MetLife Dome complex (Seibu Dome) home to the Saitama Seibu Lions, a professional baseball team.
“It appears that the whole Seibu Dome (stadium) facility is getting some kind of ‘large scale repair work’ and being part of the complex that is the main reason the ski area is closed. At the same time, the company is also saying that there is some kind of ‘renewal’ happening at the ski area, but they have not given any specifics,” said a spokesperson for the SnowJapan.com website which has been the source of skiing in Japan for more than 20 years.