Dubai builds world's largest indoor ski slope on edge of heat-baked desert

Emirate already holds the record with 400-metre slope but new run three times as long will form part of huge hotel, residential, shopping and marina complex.

Dubai, the Gulf emirate known for extravagant projects and scorching temperatures, has announced it will build the world’s largest indoor ski resort, with a 1.2-kilometre run.

Dubai’s current indoor ski resort, opened in 2005 in the Mall of the Emirates, remains the largest in the world, according to the Guinness World Records website, boasting a 400-metre slope.

The slope runs year-round despite summer temperatures in Dubai that can top 45C (113F).

The new covered ski resort comes as part of a scheme dubbed Meydan One, also to include the world’s tallest residential tower at 711metres (2,333ft), a dancing fountain sweeping up to 420m (1,378ft), a vast shopping centre, 350-room hotel and marina, according to a government statement.

Estimated to cost of up to 25 billion dirhams (£4.4bn/US$6.8bn), the project would extend from the Meydan race track in the emirate’s desert to Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest tower, reported Dubai daily Al-Bayan.

“In a city which never stops innovating, today’s announcement is significant for the future of Dubai and the UAE,” Meydan chairman Saeed al-Tayer was quoted as saying in UAE-based newspaper the National.

The first phase of the project, eventually to house up to 78,000 residents, should be completed in the next five years, in time for the UAE’s hosting of World Expo 2020, according to its promoters.

With its reputation as a liberal city in a conservative environment, Dubai has become a business and financial hub attracting businesses and expatriates seeking to establish themselves in the Middle East, while its rulers have embarked on large developments.

The emirate, which has also emerged as a tourist destination, logged 13.2 million visitors in 2014 and aims for 20 million by 2020.

Source: Agence France Press, 2015, The Guardian, 5 August: