Snowdomes

Over the past 30 years in excess of 100 indoor snow centres have been built in more than 30 countries on six continents at a combined cost of many billions of Euros/Dollars. They’ve also taught hundreds of thousands of people to learn to ski and board between them.

Here’s an A – Z of the world’s 98 currently operational indoor snow centres, sorted by country.  Former centres now closed are listed below.

Belgium, Ski Aspen

Built in 2017 on the site of a popular dry slope, one of Europe’s newest indoor slope is 240 metres long and 50 meters wide with a total slope area of 12,000m² with a height clearance of 15 metres above the snow which allows for freestyle tricks indoors.

Belgium, Ice Mountain

Ice Mountain’s 210m long slope was the ‘largest slope in Europe’ when it opened in 1999. Located on the border of Flanders, Walloon and France, Ice Mountain’s 10,000sqm snow surface includes a second 85m piste with a Sunkid wonder carpet added in 2006.

Belgium, Peer, Snow Valley

Built in 1997, in 2017, the centre’s main slope was extended from 223 metres to 350 metres long, taking it from the 19th longest indoor snow slope in the world, to the 9th longest at the time, as well as being the longest and steepest indoor ski slope in northern Europe’s Benelux region. .

Brazil, Snowland

The first indoor snow centre in South America opened in 2013. It offers more than 30 sliding activities including skiing, boarding, airboarding, tubing and sledging.  There is also an indoor ice rink next to an indoor Alpine street complete with shops and restaurants and a 350m long electric snowmobile circuit.

China, Beishan All-Weather Cross-Country Ski Resort

Asia’s first year-round ski tunnel for cross-country skiers opened in northeast China’s Jilin Province in 2019. It features a 1,308-metre indoor ski run and a 1,616-metre outdoor ski run. The facility is reported to have cost 990 million yuan (148 million U.S. dollars) to construct. Chinese, Japanese and Korean athletes train at the centre which is also open to the public.

China, Manzhouli, Four Seasons Ski Hall

Formerly known as the Manzhouli Donghu Dayongshan Siji Ski House and located in the Dayongshan Comprehensive Tourism Scenic Zone in Inner Mongolia close to the Russian border this 200m slope was one of the first indoor snow slopes in China to open.

China, Funiushan Four Seasons Ski Centre

At 200 metres, one of China’s longer indoor snow slopes opened in 2009 in Henan and was amongst the 15 longest in the world at the time it opened. There is reported to be outdoor skiing available here also.

China, Ice Town Seven Ski Luquan

One of China’s larger indoor snow centres opened in 2015. The complex covers an area of 300 acres including a 2km long outdoor ski slope as well as the indoor ski area. There’s a Tuscan-style commercial street, cave, alpine slide and other facilities.

China, Jihua Park

The largest indoor ski hall in Chongqing, Liangjiang New Area Jihua Park Indoor Ski Hall opened on July 24th, 2018, a little over a year after construction began in 2017. With two slopes, one 140m long, the other 100m, with 21 metres of vertical, served by two double chairlifts, its snow area covers about 13,000 square metres and has a daily capacity of 5,000 people.

China, Liaoning Guan Xiang Ice and Snow World

Also known as Glacier Century Ski Resort, this was the first large-scale, well-equipped indoor ice and snow playground in Liaoning province and the first four Seasons ice and Snow park to open in northeast China in 2014. With an indoor floor space of 18,487 square metres the complex also includes indoor bumper cars on ice, ice slides and ice sculptures.

China, Beijing, Qiaobo Ice and Snow World

In 2005 Tsinghua University in Beijing built Beijing’s first indoor ski and snowboarding centre which at the time of opening was one of the five largest in the world.

China, Qiaobo Snow World Shaoxing

Opened in 2009 in this city of 4.4 million people, located in the Zhejiang province of northern China, like the country’s Beijing indoor slope, it is named after ice skater Ye Qiaobo.  The facility also includes a hotel, congress and wellness centres.

China, Qinling Four Seasons

Qinling Four Seasons indoor ski centre in Shanaxi has a 200 metre indoors lope that was designed to replicate natural terrain and compliment existing water sports facilities at its location. Opened in May 2016 facilities include a children’s play area, snow circle slide and ice sculpture display over an area of nearly 3,000 square metres.

China, Ruixian

At 180 metres and covering 8,000 square metres this is one of China’s mid-sized indoor snow centres. It was also one of the earlier ones to open back in 2010.

China, Sida Happy Valley

This indoor snow centre opened in Guizghou in September 2017 with indoor snow making supplied by Chinese company Fahrtec.

China, Swan Castle Ski Resort

Wencheng Swan Ski Resort, the largest indoor ski resort in East China, opened in 2015 with a 180 metre slope. The facility uses artificial refrigeration and snowmaking technology imported from Australia, the indoor temperature here always remains between -2 and -5C

China, 3 Bears Ice Kingdom

The three Bears indoor snow centre which opened in 2015 is also home to an ‘ice museum’ as well as boutique shops and a multi-functional conference room. The 180m long snow slope covers an area of about 20,000 square metres including runs for beginners and  intermediates with 10-20 degree gradients. It is located in the core business district of Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan, close to Changsha Ecological Zoo and Friends of Ao Te Lai Si Shopping Park.

China, Harbin, Wanda City

The world’s largest indoor snow centre by slope area (72,000 square metres) opened in 2017. It’s one of the few indoor snow centres that requires a piste map and to be located in an area where it is colder outdoors than inside it in winter.

China, Windows on the World

China’s original indoor ski snow slope opened in 2000 as part of a miniature world theme park. Painted with a blue sky on its ceiling, the chilly dome has music piped in over loudspeakers. The main trail measures 80m long with a vertical of 16m.

Egypt, Cairo, Ski Egypt

The first indoor snow centre for Africa opened in 2017 following the awarding of a $400m (US) construction contract by MAF Properties, the company behind Ski Dubai. 

Finland, Paippi, Finnfoam Ski Tunnel

A six metre (20 feet) wide, four metres high ski tunnel for cross country skiers with a length of 700 metres and located 140km from Helsinki.  The snow inside the tunnel is described as “coarse-grained machine made snow” kept at a temperature of around -3 ° C degrees in the tunnel, with the internal air temperature slightly below the freezing point.

Finland, Helsinki, Kivikko Halli

Helsinki’s first indoor ski facility, was originally sponsored by one of the country’s top ski area, Yllas, and called YllassHalli. Mostly for XC skiing with 1,050 metres of track, the 10 million Euro centre has a small downhill slope for tubing and offers other facilities like ice skating, curling, an ice climbing wall and biathlon.

Finland, Jämi Ski Tunnel

Finland’s second cross-country ski tunnel opened in 2002, five years after the original at Vuokatti, following an investment of €2m.  The 1250m long track is 8m wide and 3.5m high with 11 metres of vertical over its length. The tunnel is a non-profit business run by volunteers in which the majority share owner of Jämijärvi municipality, in addition to companies, individuals and municipalities.

Finland, Ivalo, Test World Oy

Not for snowsports Alpine or Nordic, the 160m long, 15m wide Ivalo Test Centre opened in 2012 for winter tyre testing. The indoor snow centre is the world’s most northerly indoor year-round snow centre, as Ivalo is located almost 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, but it is too warm outdoor here for seven months of the year for winter tyre testing.

Finland, Vahterusring

The Vahterusring opened in 2005 and offers a kilometre-long tunnel with diverse terrain open from 6am to 10pm daily. It has circular structure and height differences of 16 metres and attracts 30,000 visitors per year.

Finland, Leppavirta, Vesileppis Ski Tunnel

Owned by the Spa Hotel Vesileppis with its entrance within the hotel, opened in 2004 and located 340km (210 miles) north of Helsinki, the 300m long tunnel is up to 40m (130 feet) wide and 10m high.  Snow is made by 60 snow guns and the temperature maintained a few degrees below zero.

Finland, Vuokatti Ski Tunnel

The world’s first skiing tunnel was completed in 1997 in Vuokatti. Conceived in the 1980s and built to improve the opportunities for practising skiing during the summer months. The first skiers enjoyed indoor cross-country ski track on 13 June 1997 which was eventually extended to 1.2 km long and 8 m wide.

Finland, Snowboard World Vuokatti

Opened in 2000, this 80 metre long, 20 metre wide and 10 metre high underground tunnel with a 14 degree pitch was a revolutionary concept at the time and remains unique. Many of Finland’s top freestyle stars perfected their skills here.

France, Ski Hall Amneville

One of the world’s longest indoor slopes at 620m.

Germany, Alpenpark Neuss

Opened in 2000 with a 260 metre slope and formerly known as ‘Allrounder’ then more recently the ‘Jever Fun Skihalle’ the slope was sponsored and part-funded by Austria’s Salzburg Tourism Company (SLTG) who see it as a way of growing their destination ski market. The centre’s slope varies in steepness from 8 to 28 degrees and theirs is also a terrain park with kicker box and rails.

Germany, Bottrop, The Alpincenter

One of the claimants of the title ‘longest ski slope in the world’ at 640 metres, opened in 2001. In 2011 one of the world’s largest photovoltaic systems was completed covering the entire roof of the indoor ski slope and consists of 18,600 solar panels covering an area of ​​13,400 square meters.

Germany, Alpincenter Hamburg–Wittenburg

Built with the support of Europe’s largest ski club in 2006, with a pitch of up to 31 degrees, it has one of the steepest indoor slopes in the world.

Germany, Jever Fun Skihalle

Opened in 2000 and originally known as the Allrounder Hall, the centre’s slope varies in steepness from 8 to 28 degrees and there is also a terrain park with kicker box and rails. In 2010 the centre added another 1000sqm of indoor snow space which houses beginners terrain and a snow play area. 

Germany, Oberhof, DKB Skisporte Hall

Germany joined Finland and Sweden in offering year-round indoor cross-country skiing and biathlon in 2009. The 1.23km long tunnel provides for an exciting and varied 2 km long trail invites professionals and enthusiasts alike to test their skills with gradients and slopes of up to 12% and a constant temperature of -4 °C.

Germany, Snow Dome

At 100m wide at its widest point the indoor slope which opened in 2006 is believed to be the widest in the world. The slope length is 300m, gradients range vary between 9 and 20 degrees, and are served by a Doppelmayr six-seat chairlift with a capacity of 3000 skiers per hour.

Germany, Senftenberg, Snowtroplis

Located between Berlin and Dresden, close to the Polish and Czech borders, Snowtropolis opened in 2003 with a 130m main slope covered in 3,500 cubic metres of real snow. Other facilities on site or in the vicinity include bowling, swimming pool, sauna, ice rink, restaurant and bars and Snowtropolis has its own ski and board school.

India, Abirami Snow World

Opened in 2012, Abirami Snow World in southern India offers indoor snow experiences including an ice slide. Its snow dancing with milti=coloured lighting of the snow is claimed to be a world first.

India, Imagica Snow Park

The Imagica Snow Park in Western India offers a wide range of indoor activities on snow including  playing basketball, a toboggan slope, “climbing the rocky snowy mountains,” snow rafting and  snowball fights.  There is also a dance floor, snow castle, ice igloo and its sculptures.

India, Noida, Ski India

The biggest indoor snow park in India with 9,300 square metres and an unusual sci-fi theme.

India, Hyderabad, Snow World

A snow experience centre which opened in 2004 with snow slides, snow and ice play as part of new entertainment complex created with the consultancy of Unlimited Snow, Netherlands and technology from Woomera Snow guns, Australia.  Additional facilities include indoor go-karting and a 4D theatre.

India, Snow Kingdom Mumbai

Mumbai’s largest snow theme park opened its doors in 2017, in R City Mall, Ghatkopar West and, at 9000 square metres, is three times the size of its closest competitor in Mumbai. The park is themed on the snowy landscape of Switzerland and includes an ice climbing wall.

India, Mumbai, Snow World

Mumbai’s Snow World opened in 2012 at Phoenix Marketcity shopping mall and combines snow and ice features made of plastic, such as the giant snowballs at the entrance to the facility on the ground floor of the mall and an igloo shaped structure, and in a separate snow experience section real snow 30cm deep.  There is also an ice rink, a sledge “pulled by employees” and snow slides. 

India, Chenai, VFP Snow Kingdom

The ‘NAMMA VGP Universal Kingdom’ theme park at  Injambakkam in Chennai, working in collaboration with Snow King India, opened in May 2015.  The complex includes a snow slope and snow themed attractions and is the first in the Tamilnadu region.

Japan, Seibu Sayama

First built in 1959, the 320 metre long slope is open (with snow) from October to April each year and has an artificial surface at other times. The centre is a claimant to the ‘oldest in the world’ title, although as it has no refrigeration and is not open year round. 

Japan, Snova Hashima

Back in the 1990s there were around 10 SNOVA indoor snow centres in Japan, each with short mini-terrain park style ‘sloping ice-rink’ type slopes using the original Snova chemical snow mix on top of the ice for a snowy surface. Several have survived more than 20 years including this facility which opened in 1998.

Japan, SNOVA Mizonokuchi – R 246

A snowboarders’ only slope that opened in 1998.  Slope features include a kicker, half pipe, and a flat area. Varieties of school lessons are offered such as for beginners to learn basics and for experts to improve techniques.

Japan, SNOVA Yokohama

Like most Snova indoor slopes, Yokohama measures 65 metres long and has a consistent 15-degree slope pitch with a moving walkway transporting riders to the top. Features include a rail, a tabletop and a quarterpipe, as well as a general snowboarding area with a halfpipe running the entire length of the run.

Lithuania, Snow Arena

Opened in 2011 and unique in the world, the Snow Arena has a conventional indoor snow slope which at 460 metres is one of the world’s longest, but also a connected curving 654 metre outdoor run which opens when it’s cold enough outdoors.

Malaysia, Shah Alam, 4 Seasons Temperate House

Not for indoor snow sports the room has snow created between July and September so that temperate plants can be grown.  This 1300m2 research facility simulates a temperate climate by controlling air temperature, lights intensity, carbon dioxide, and so on to enable temperate plants to grow in the tropical climate of Malaysia. First opened 1990.

Malaysia, SnoWalk

First opened in 2011, SnoWalk was fully revamped and doubled in size in December 2018 to cover 4,500 square metres, around twice its original size.  Ice sculpture is a major theme in the development with 10,000 tonnes of ice used and a team of 30 ice sculptors from Harbin in China  flown in to create sculptures.  There is also a ‘ski zone’ and a ‘real snowfall’ area.

Malaysia, Genting Highlands, SnowWorld

A 2000m2 European-street-themed winter area within a theme park. Attractions include ice sculptures, indoor snowfalls, igloos and a toboggan slide.  There’s also a mish-mash of European attractions including an italian pizzeria, Dutch clogs, Swiss chocolates, a French boulangerie and relics of ancient Roman castles.

The Netherlands, Montana Snowcenter

Operating since 1998, the centre run by leisure holiday company Center Parcs and consists of two ski runs, one of which is for families and beginners. In May 2016 the centre installed some 3,000 solar panels to its roof which now provide much of the energy required to refrigerate the interior of the building, and its other energy requirements. 

The Netherlands,
Skidôme Ruchpen

Originally Skidome Nicky Broos, then Skidôme Ruchpen, the centre has 10,000 m2 of snow slopes and was Europe’s biggest and longest indoor snow slope when it opened in 1995, built on an existing dry slope. There are four skiing slopes, including two new (2012) slopes parallel to each other and Europe`s first indoor snow-playground. The centre was purchased by the Snowworld Group in 2019.

The Netherlands, Skidôme Terneruzen

Originally named ‘Snowbase,’ The Netherlands’ eighth indoor ski centre made it equal with Japan for the greatest number of snow centres in one country for a while when it opened in 2008, as the number of Japanese indoor snow centres was declining and the number of centres in China had not begun their rapid rise.  There are two slopes, the longest 220m, and a terrain park.

The Netherlands, The Hague, Snow Dome De Uithof

The 200m slope at Uithof has a curved floor, two drag lifts and the facility includes a 400 metre ice skating rink, an indoor ice hockey rink, a go-karting facility, an outdoor biking circuit and an indoor and outdoor climbing wall. 

The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Snow Planet

Snow Planet had the  ‘longest slope in Europe’ at 270 metres when it opened in 1999, with a  maximum slope gradient is 16 degrees. Unlike most existing domes it is built on a gentle hillside (former dry slope) in a series of sloping buildings.

The Netherlands, SnowWorld Landgraaf

Europe’s biggest by area, largely solar powered. It also had the world’s longest ski slope when it opened at the beginning of 2002 right on the Southern Dutch/German border close to Belgium, Luxembourg and France.  It has three slopes, the two longest of which are each 520 metres in length. They’re still among the four longest indoors in the world. 

The Netherlands, SnowWorld Zoetermeer

At opening in 1996 this was Europe’s largest indoor snow centre. Built on reclaimed land that was formerly a rubbish dump, SnowWorld Zoetermeer now has three slopes, besides the main slope which was extended in 2016 to 300m and claim longest in the world on stilts.  This is another centre with its roof covered in solar panels to meet most of its energy needs.

New Zealand, Christchurch, International Antarctic Centre

Established back in 1990 this is one of the world’s longest established indoor snow rooms. Visitors experience -18C wind chill in the ‘storm room’ – official visitor advice is that wearing sandals is not advised.

New Zealand, Snow Planet

The world’s most southerly indoor snow centre has a 202m long main slope, aims to attract 100,000 locals annually, and has a terrain park, big jumps and “table tops”, to cater for freestyle enthusiasts.  Slope gradient varies between 7 and 24%.

Norway, Oslo, Sno

The concept for this centre in Lorensburg, close to Oslo, was first envisaged in 2010. With 36,000 square metres of year-round snow covered slopes it is Europe’s largest by area although the 505m long slope is a little shorter than existing slopes in France and Germany. However the 100m slope width served by five lifts gives a huge indoor snow area. Along with the downhill slopes the complex includes an indoor ski jump and indoor cross-country ski track capable of use by 1000 people at a time.

Qatar, Doha, Snow Dunes

Located within the Doha Festival City Mall, Snow Dunes has an indoor snow area of 9,500 square metres.  The centre is themed on an Arabian City and a legend about snow there. Outdoor daytime temperatures are currently in the range of +38 to +42 degrees Celsius.  Indoor temperatures are set at -4C. Snow Dunes offers a wide variety of fun snow and ice activities including a tubing hill, a tube roundabout for small children and an ice slide where it’s possible to reach 50kph. Skiing and snowboarding are not thought to be offered as a regular activity but it appears from images that they could be possible on the tubing hill if permitted.

Russia, Moscow, Snej.com

The 360m long, 21,600 square metre slope was the world’s fifth longest at the time of opening (fourth in Europe) and seventh by area (fifth in Europe) when it opened in 2008.

Saudi Arabia, Snow City Riyadh

Opened in 2016 and spread over 5,000 square metres, Snow City, Riyadh has 12 indoor snow themed attractions, including bumper cars on ice and a short ski and snowboarding slope.

Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, SnowMagic

A small facility with a 50-metre slope set up in 2006 by American all-weather snowmakers Snow Magic with tubing, learn-to-ski and snowboard, and a snow play area.

Scotland, Glasgow, Snow Factor

Built to the same design as Xscape Castleford in England and part of a massive £500m project to redevelop a 200 acre site near Glasgow, Scotland.  The centre was branded SNO!zone Braeheead when it opened in 2006 and jointly promoted with Milton Keynes and Castlefore SNO!zones but in 2011 it came under a new operator and was re-branded. Includes indoor ice climbing.

Singapore, Snow City

Snow City attracts around 150,000 visitors each year and is located adjacent to the Singapore Science Centre.  There are themed exhibitions on subjects including cryogenics and the lifestyle of the Inuit peoples. Next to the slope there’s a snow play area.

Slovenia, Planica Nordic Centre

Planica Nordic Centre offers 800 metres of cross-country skiing track in an underground snow tunnel. The snow tunnel extends over 3 floors, the interior temperature is around -2°C.

South Korea, One Mount Snow Play

This facility, north of Seoul, opened in 2013 and contains a number of Arctic and Antarctic themed snow slides but does not offer any skiing or snowboarding. The facility is part of the large new One Mount complex which includes retail and other activities including a large ice rink and indoor swimming pool

South Korea, Woongjin Playdoci

First opened on July 7, 2007 as Tiger World, with a 270m long main slope. It is located due south of Seoul and also offers an indoor water park.

Spain, Madrid Snow Zone

Spain’s only indoor snow slope with one of the longest slopes in Europe. It was originally operated by North American company Intrawest which ran resorts including Whistler at the time.

Sweden, Fortum Ski Tunnel

The 1.3km long, 8 metres wide and 4 metres high Fortum Ski Tunnel was Sweden’s first and the world´s longest ski tunnel with the only indoor biathlon arena in the world when it opened in 2006. The track continues outdoors with a further 700m of ‘cool track’ – suitable for outdoor snow making. The tunnel follows the natural topography and projects halfway above the ground surface.

Sweden, Gothenburg, Skidome

Part of a multi-sports facility that features seven floors of multi-sport activities, including a 1.2km long year-round snow track for cross country skiing and two more separate tracks for skating style skiing. The indoor temperature is a constant minus 2-4 degrees Celsius.

Thailand, Bangkok, Snow Town

A fairly steep (by indoor snow standards) 50 metre toboggan snow slope and snow play centre located within the Dream World theme park (in the adventure land section) and first opened in 1997.

Thailand, Bangkok, Hokkaido SnowTown

Named after the Northern Japanese island, Snow Town has been created by Japanese lifestyle mall Gateway Ekamai . The complex is spread over 3,000 square metres in the Thai capital’s Gateway’s fifth floor and is divided into three zones: Snow Playground, Snow Restaurant and Snow Shopping Store.

Turkey, Istanbul, Deepo Mall

Turkey was the 26th country to add an indoor snow centre. The $3m facility in the Deepo Shopping Centre incorporates a 70m long ski/snowboard main slope, plus a beginners slope (20m) and toboggan slope (10m). For the more adventurous there is a 90m ice slide which meanders from the highest level and terminates in front of the glazed curtain walling to the shopping Mall.

UAE, Ski Dubai

Often mistakenly claimed to be the world’s biggest, it is one of them with five ski runs, the longest 400m, served by a quad chairlift and a large snow play area.

UK, Manchester, Chill Factore

The £31 million Chill Factore development was built next to the existing large Trafford shopping centre in 2007 and includes three interconnected snow slopes – each catering for different abilities – with a combined length of 180m, vertical drop of 40m and a slope capacity of 250 people.

UK, Milton Keynes, Snozone

Originally named ‘Crystal Mountain’ when it was first conceived Snozone opened in 2000 and its 170m main slope was the longest in the UK at that point. Apart from the snow slope there’s a  24 screen cinema, ten-pin bowling, night club, restaurants, extensive  shopping, electronic theme park and children’s play area.

UK, Snozone Castleford

The structure of Snozone Castleford, built with glass and aluminium rises up to 40 metres (130 feet) at its highest point above the former mine workings it is built on, which had been in operation for more than a century. It has a 150m slope and opened in 2003.

UK, The Snow Centre

The existing artificial surface ski slope at Hemel Hempstead in southern England announced plans to redevelop their site to create an indoor snow centre in 2005, and the centre opened in 2009 with a 150m main slope under a unique grass roof.

UK, The Tamworth Snowdome

A claimant to the ‘first indoor snow centre in the world’ title, although it opened more than six years after the first ‘giant fridge’ style indoor snow centres, the Tamworth Snowdome, which also copyrighted the word ‘Snowdome’, makes its claim on the grounds that it was the first to offer what it considers ‘real snow’ indoors.

USA, New Jersey, Big Snow

North America’s first indoor snow centre was built in 2008 but didn’t open until 2019 as the $5 billion mall, originally called Xanadu then The American Dream, commenced in 2002, it is part of was mothballed after the global crash.

USA, Tennessee, Pigeon Forge Snow

The first indoor snow centre to open in North America in 2018, (the last continent besides Antarctica to get one), after many dozens proposed over 30 years before never made it, offers snow tubing only.

Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh City, Snow Town

Viet Nam joined the list of 80 or so countries where you can go skiing on snow in 2018 with its first indoor snow centre. Activities offered include skiing, boarding and tobogganing on a short slope and making snow sculptures. Many visitors have never seen first-hand or felt snow before.


Former Centres Now Closed

Australia, Mt TheBarton 1997-2004

The indoor snow was one of, if not the, world’s first, using the first indoor snow system, Permasnow, but later changed to the ‘Prosnow’ system. Later called, The Snowdome Adelaide, the 120m slope closed due to spiralling operating and insurance costs.

Austria, Vienna, Schneeplast, 1927-28

What is believed to have been the world’s first ‘indoor snow centre’ opened in Vienna in 1927.  In fact this was not an indoor snow centre in the modern sense of the word, in that real snow was not used, but a ‘snow-like’ mix of material was used and it was indoors.  A similar facility is believed to have operated in Germany at about the same time.

Belgium, Antwerp, Casablanca, 1986 – 2009

Casablanca is one of three centres that claim to be the first in the world, opening with a Permasnow snow-like-gel surface in 1986, 15 years after it first opened with a conventional artificial ski matting slope.  Permasnow itself was used from 1989. In common with Mt Thebarton the original ‘snow’ surface was not hugely popular in the longer term and it switched to a ‘ProSnow’ type of ‘sloping ice rink’ system. 

China, Shanghai, LongZhu Hokkaido Shanghai Dashung Indoor Snow, 2002 – 2009

Located in Xinzhuang, some 5km from Xinzhuang subway station, the Shanghai indoor ski centre had three 80-metre wide slopes, with a total length of 380 metres, and was one of the world’s largest ski centres, as well as the largest in China and Eastern Asia, for most of the first decade of this century.

Indonesia, Batam, Waterfront City, 1996 – 2000

Indonesia once offered the opportunity to ski on a very short snow slope in the morning then swim at a tropical paradise beach resort a few minutes later, year round. The complex, located 23km south of Singapore, was part of a short-lived shopping and leisure complex where you could also go karting, bungee jumping, jet-skiing and paintballing but closed when a recession hit.

Japan, Big Air Fukuoka, 1999- 2009

Located at Bayside Place along the Hakata Pier, Big Air Fukuoka was a snowboarding-only snow dome that featured 100 percent natural snow about 60 metres long and 25  metres wide. It was located within a huge three-story structure with quarter-pipes, half-pipes during the off-season, and slopes as steep as 13 degrees.

Japan, Kamui Ryugasaki Snowboard Park, 1997 – 2011

A long-standing indoor snow slope that operated for more than 16 years and was reportedly restricted to snowboarders only.  Users paid per ten minutes of slope access at 150 yen per ten minutes.  Terrain features included a jump and it was close (within 40 – 45 minutes) to everyone in the Kofu area. 

Japan, Kyoto, Daigo Boarders Land, 1995 – 2003

SNOVA opened Japan’s first indoor snow slope exclusively for snowboarding in Kyoto in 1995.  The slope was quite small, 40 metres long and 20 wide.

Japan, Tokyo, Coolval

The Coolval Indoor Snowboard Park opened in a distant outpost of Tokyo’s vast area with a 65 metre half pipe and a normal slope.  Coolval was for snowboarders only. 

Japan, Shigenobu, Kuma Ski Land, 1999 -2012

Also known as Across / AXS Shigenobu, this was one of Japan’s most modern indoor snow centres with a 90 metre long slope and aimed at the snowboarding market.

Japan, Tokyo, Ski in Tsudanuma, 1988 – 95

One of the three claimants (With Australia’s Mt TheBarton and Belgium’s Casaablanca, to the title of “first refrigerated major indoor ‘real snow’ ski slope”, and described as “surprisingly attractive” by visitors by the standards of both typical snowdome and typical Japanese suburban industrial architecture at the time.  It had a 120 x 30 metre slope and is believed to have actua\lly been the second in the world and first in asia.

Japan, SNOVA Ashikaga, 1998 – 2008

A standard SNOVA 65m long terrain park targetting the snowboarding market.

Japan, SNOVA Hiroshima, 1997 – 2007

Another of the SNOVA indoor centres with the standard 65 metre long slope, terrain park features and snowboarder-only admittance policy.

Japan, Tokyo, SSAWS, 1993 – 2002

A spectacular $300m centre built on reclaimed land in an earthquake zone near Tokyo which was for 25 years the largest built on earth, even after it closed, until China’s Wanda slope in Harbin opened.  ‘SSAWS’ stood for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Snow and had a special earthquake-proof design to prevent danger of internal avalanche. The centre ceased trading having never been economically viable and was demolished a year later to make way for Japan’s first Ikea store.

Malaysia, Butterworth Megamal Snowland, 1998-2010

The Snowland on level 4 of the Megamal, was originally going to be an ice rink but the owners (Megaleisure) wanted to build a unique facility for the region. The Wong Bros refrigerated centre was very small and had to be “shoe horned” into the available space.  It had a curved, shorter, run on site in addition to the main 42 metre long slope and a snow play space for children.  

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Mines Snowtown, 1996 – 2011

The snow house at Mines Wonderland, 5km (3 miles) south of Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, had  no real skiing facilities.  It gives locals the opportunity to experience a snowy winter in a tropical climate.  There was an ice carving display, ice slide and snowflake falling area.  

The Netherlands, Riviera Ski Village, 1999 – 2012

Located about 80km east of Amsterdam. Snow Village Biddinghuizen (formerly ‘Rivièra Snow Village’) had a 40 metre slope and also incorporated a small children’s snow play area, 10 metres by 15 metres in size.  This was intended primarily for children to snowball fight, built snowmen, igloos and so on. There was a heat exchange between snowmaking and warmed water.

UK, Kent, Medway Snowbowl, 2001-02

The UK’s fifth indoor snow facility and the third ‘proper’ dome in England, Medway opened in March 2001 in the restored number 7 slip of the World Naval Base following a £3 million ($4.8m US) upgrade.  Proposed facilities of the complete complex included skating rink (plastic), curling rink and an ice climbing wall but sadly the project eventually had to call it a day.

UK, Telford, World of Snow, 1988 – 2002

One of four slopes in the world claiming to be the world’s first indoor ski centre the Telford facility operated from a unit in The Stafford Park industrial estate within a mile of Telford town centre. Telford World of Snow was established in 1988 as a Research and  Development facility for Acer Snowmec’s indoor real snow and for ten years from 1992 the slope also marketed itself as a fun centre for children with snowy fun including tobogganing as well as skiing.