Wintastar Shanghai is set to become the world's largest indoor ski resort. It will have three slopes, including one of Olympic standard, according to its developer. It's nearly 100 years since the first indoor ski slope was built. Scroll though to discover more.
Majid Al Futtaim
No mountain? No problem. The Schneepalast -- Snow Palace -- in Berlin was supposedly the world's first indoor ski slope when it opened in April 1927. In November that year, another Snow Palace opened in the Northwest train station hall in Vienna, Austria (pictured). The artificial snow reportedly tasted like soda.
Wilhelm Willinger/Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek
In the 1930s indoor snow became all the rage, with small complexes springing up in France and England. Lillywhites, a London department store which sold ski wear, got in on the act by turning an old dance hall into an indoor ski slope in 1935. Not to be outdone, Saks Fifth Avenue did something similar in New York in the same year -- even offering customers ski lessons.
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
For those in search of spectacle and derring-do, the North American Winter Sports Exposition and International Ski Meet at Madison Square Garden, in New York, was the place to be in the 1930s. Pictured is Casey Jones mid-flight in the professional ski jumpers competition at the second annual expo.
Bettmann/Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
On the other side of the Atlantic, at Earl's Court in London, Sverre Kolterud took to the air in 1938. The Olympic medal winner participated in the "Winter Calvalcade" at the exposition space, which featured a 100-foot slope. British Pathe was on hand to capture all the antics on video.
Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Corbis via Getty Images
Indoor skiing centers took off in Japan in the 1960s. Pictured are children at the bottom of the nearly 1,000-foot run at the Sayama indoor ski slope in Tokorozawa City, circa 1960. The complex is still open.
Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
In the 1980s and 1990s Japan continued to build some of the world's biggest indoor slopes, including the Ski Dome, Tokyo (pictured, 1996). The SSAWS complex in Funabashi was the biggest in the world when it opened in 1993 at a reported cost of $400 million. As visitor numbers declined over time, it was eventually demolished and the site became an Ikea.
Dimitri Iundt/Corbis Sport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
In the mid-1990s, Canadian-born inventor Jim Rodnunsky debuted a contraption called the "Ski and Snowboard Simulator," a treadmill-style slope which could change gradient and tilt sideways. Its development took eight years and $4 million, according to Popular Mechanics magazine. This "endless slope" technology evolved into a training tool.
John B. Carnett/Popular Science/Popular Science via Getty Images
Snowboarder Jesse Augustinus at his Red Bull Outdoor Indoor project at SnowWorld Landgraaf in September 2017. The facility in The Netherlands opened in 2002 and today it has five slopes, eight lifts and claims to be the largest indoor winter sports resort in Europe. The freestyle run has numerous rails, kickers and boxes to work on your technique all year round.
Rutger Pauw / Red Bull Content Pool
The Amneville Snowhall, in France, opened in 2005, and has hosted to the French and European indoor ski championships. In 2016, its sub-zero temperatures became a place to cool down -- even for non-skiers -- during an August heatwave.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Ski Dubai also opened in 2005, in the Mall of the Emirates. When it opened, it was the first indoor snow center in the Middle East, the largest in the world, and the first to ever include a steep black run.
Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort in China's far northeast became the largest indoor ski park when it opened in 2017. China is creating a number of snow sport complexes in the run-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Dubai will have another indoor ski slope when the Meydan One Mall opens. A billion-dollar project originally touted for completion in 2020, this rendering shows a gigantic 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) ski slope -- that would be the longest in the world.
Courtesy of Meydan City Corporation
The US doesn't have a single all-year indoor ski and snowboard park with real snow -- but that will soon change. Big SNOW America is an upcoming 180,000 square foot, 12-story indoor resort and part of the American Dream retail complex in New Jersey. After a long gestation period, the resort plans to open in March 2019.
courtesy SNOW Operating/American Dream
Global Gateway

'World's largest indoor ski resort' coming to China -- via Dubai

Editor's Note — CNN's series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Our sponsorship policy.
(CNN) — China's latest import is snow. From Dubai.
Well, not quite. Dubai-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim -- the company behind Ski Dubai, the Middle East's first indoor ski slope -- has announced it is helping develop what it claims will be the world's largest indoor snow and ski resort for Shanghai.
The company says the snow park, called Wintastar Shanghai, will be 90,000 square meters (nearly 1 million square feet) -- or more than three times the size of Ski Dubai, the largest indoor ski resort in the world when it opened in 2005.
The city of Harbin in China's far northeast currently holds that title with the Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort. That resort opened in 2017 and is 80,000 square meters (869,000 square feet) in size.
In a news release, Majid Al Futtaim say the Shanghai complex will feature three ski slopes, each with a different gradient, with one described as "Olympic standard for training." What that entails is to be confirmed.
For those with an aversion to throwing themselves down a cold decline, there are 25 non-ski related activities also planned for the site.
A rendering of the ski complex, complete with cable car.
KOP Properties
The resort, in the Pudong New Area of the city, will be Majid Al Futtaim's first move into leisure and entertainment outside of the Middle East and North Africa, and comes off the back of Ski Dubai being voted "World's Best Indoor Ski Resort" in 2017 at the World Ski Awards.
"We're confident this represents the beginning of an extensive international footprint when it comes to indoor snow entertainment facilities," said Ahmed Galal Ismail, chief executive officer of the ventures division of Majid Al Futtaim, in the release.
Singapore-based KOP Limited will lead the development, announcing the project had broken ground on August 30.
The vast resort comes at an interesting time for snowsports in China. The Winter Olympics will visit Beijing in 2022, marking the first time the world's most populous nation will host the event.
But by and large, winter sports are not high on the agenda for most. Only 12.1 million Chinese people said that had tried skiing at least once, according to a 2017 white paper -- less than 1% of the 1.38 billion population.
Skiers in Zhangjiakou, several hours drive northwest of Beijing, enjoy the clear runs during a sunny weekend.
Matt Rivers
The government has taken measures including school grants, plans for at least 600 ice rinks, and encouraged private sector expansion, all with the aim of having 300 million citizens involved in winter sports by 2025.
Along with Genting Secret Garden Resort, a growing outdoor resort close to Beijing in neighboring Hebei province, the Wintastar Shanghai complex marks increased activity from private developers. Indeed, executive chairman and executive director of KOP Limited Ong Chih Ching has called winter sports "the next big thing in China."
Wintastar Shanghai will join a growing roster of indoor ski resorts Majid Al Futtaim has contributed to. As well as Ski Dubai, the company launched Ski Egypt in 2017 -- the first indoor ski resort in Africa -- while Ski Saudi and Snow Oman are also in development, according to a KOP release.
An estimated completion date for Wintastar Shanghai has yet to be announced.
Read more
More from CNN Travel