Saturday, April 01, 2006

Extreme Ski Domes!

:: Snow domes are fast becoming an alternative to the expensive (and sometimes disappointing) pilgrimages to the mountains in search of the perfect snow!
++ Ski Tech: Arlington, Virginia, USA / Mills Corporation

Indoor skiing has been around for years, with about 30 snow domes already up and running in Spain, Germany, Japan and England, and dozens more are in the planning stages, in places as disparate as New Jersey and Dubai.

One of the newest ones is located in the Madrid suburb of Arroyomolinos (about 10 kilometres south of the Spanish capital). It is called Xanadu, (pronounced zan-ah-doo) and it is part of a huge, 1.4 million square-foot, 220-shop mall called Parque de Nieve Xanadu Madrid.

Two hundred and fifty metres long and 80 metres wide, it's big enough to accommodate two CFL football fields laid end to end, with room to spare. Featuring live bands, slopeside DJs, lasers, disco balls and colored lights, the electricity bill tops $57,000 each month! [To view a great video of the grand-opening of Xanadu, click here.]

Serviced by a four-person chairlift, it can accommodate up to 300 skiers on its perfect, daily-made snow in its constant, climate-controlled environment.

Xanadu represents the Spain of tomorrow. It has been drawing growing numbers of middle-class Spaniards. They may not have the euros to tackle the Sierra Madres, but they do like a little adventure, and a lot of flash, mixed with their shopping.

Building on the success of the Madrid Xanadu, a $1.3 billion, a New Jersey Xanadu is set to open in late 2007.

The American project has super-sized the blueprints of the Spanish complex with a planned 4.8 million-square-foot entertainment complex. Located just five minutes outside of Manhattan, the ambitiously sprawling venture has been under construction since March and also boasts a professional hockey venue, a skating rink, and an ESPN skatepark.

If built as planned, the Xanadu indoor snowpark will run 820 feet long, stand seventeen stories tall, and accommodate 300 riders at one time. Featured inside the chilled box will be four runs, two halfpipes, a user-friendly moving carpet, two quad chairlifts, moguls, kickers, and rails. For the big spender, Xanadu will provide rental equipment, VIP lessons with snow boarding pros, valet parking, freestyle workshops, and even a luxury spa!
Note from Technophile: The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority required $160 million in upfront lease payments for the Meadowlands Xanadu project. On March 22, 2006 the developers authorized paying the final $31 million owed, ahead of the March 31st deadline. It looks like there will be two Xanadus indeed! By the way, "Xanadu" was the palace of Kubla Khan (his empire covered much of Asia).
:: Source: [The Science Channel]
:: Innovation: Two high-tech complexes that allow humans to enjoy snow sports (and more) year 'round.
:: Available: Now (in Spain), 2007 (in the USA).
:: Cost: $1.4 million (in Spain), $1.3 billion (in the USA).
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea." ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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