Plans for UK's longest indoor ski slope to be built in Wales gain momentum

Lucy Aspden
Merthyr Tydfil is on the edge of the Brecon Beacon's National Park - Graham Bell/Getty Images

Plans to build a 500m-long indoor ski slope in the heart of the Welsh countryside have had the seal of approval from leading figures in the snow sports community.

Marvel Limited, the company behind the proposal, is reportedly set to invest £450 million into the ski centre in Rhydycar West near Merthyr Tydfil, as well as a number of other leisure facilities. The plans span a 575 acre site on the edge of the Brecon Beacon’s National Park, 45 minutes from Cardiff.

If the proposal is successful the slope will become the UK’s longest, overtaking Chill Factore in Manchester, which has an indoor 180m real-snow slope.

Dan Hunt, performance director of British Ski and Snowboard, told the BBC: “I am very excited by the prospect of having a national training centre of excellence for snow sports in Wales.”

British Ski and Snowboard has been behind a number of initiatives to boost the nation’s interest in skiing and snowboarding, including talent searches for future Olympians and National Schools Snow Sports Week. The new centre in Wales will further the effort to turn Great Britain into a nation of skiers and snowboarders.

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Marvel is said to be working with Snowsports Cymru Wales to make the new centre suitable for athletes to train in, meaning it could join other indoor and dry slopes around the country as a training base for Team GB’s Winter Olympic hopefuls.

“We would really welcome the chance to be able to have access to more home-based training for our national team as well as the fantastic opportunities this facility would present in developing the next crop of talented athletes,” said Hunt.

The Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil Credit: Getty Images

The news from Wales follows the construction of the world’s largest indoor snow centre in China, which opened earlier this year and boasts two lifts and six different runs, across 80,000 square metres, in an attempt to prepare the country for its hosting role in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The proposed development just north of Cardiff will also feature the UK’s largest indoor water park with an indoor surf simulator, two hotels, an indoor bike and skate park and an equestrian centre. It has been reported that there could be a zipline, sports pitches and accommodation in the form of yurts and cabins too.

Leigh Large from Marvel said: “We have approached this scheme as a blank canvas and have spent extensive time and resource to understand in detail the unique ecological and heritage features of the site, and how we can design a scheme to work sensitively with these.”

“The site has unfortunately been closed to the public for a very long time due to legacy mining hazards, but our proposals would see large areas of the site opened up, including a series of heritage and nature trails,” said Large.

Consultation of the proposed plans will begin with the local community this autumn.


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