UK to get huge new indoor ski resort as climate change melts Alps snow

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The new indoor ski slope will be built in Wales (Image: WALES NEWS SERVICE)
The new indoor ski slope will be built in Wales (Image: WALES NEWS SERVICE)

Winter sports fans frozen out of skiing by the melting Alps may soon be able to look a little closer to home for some action.

Plans have been hatched to construct a £300million "world class" resort including an indoor ski slope built into the hills and a water park in Wales.

It will have Britain's biggest indoor ski runs and be one of the biggest of its kind in the world, with one run 400m long.

The run at the Milton Keynes Snowdome is 170m, as way of comparison.

A 575-acre site south of the Brecons Beacons National Park - less than three hours drive from London and Birmingham - has been earmarked for the plans which include building three hotels and 30 woodland lodges.

Gales, snow and rain to batter country today with 80mph wind gusts eideeidediqxzinvGales, snow and rain to batter country today with 80mph wind gusts
UK to get huge new indoor ski resort as climate change melts Alps snowPlans for the £300million resort have been submitted (WALES NEWS SERVICE)

Bosses say the Rhydycar West scheme in Merthyr Tydfil will create at least 500 jobs in an area which has historically faced mass unemployment and could create up to 800 jobs.

Chief operating officer Richard Arnold said plans are likely to be submitted later this month.

They will be examined during a turbulent year for the traditional ski industry in Europe, which has been decimated by unseasonably hot weather.

"We wanted to get it in before Christmas so it would be a talking point. The legal review of the planning application showed no major issues, but there were small details that came up, so it has now been revised for the end of January," Mr Arnold said.

"We're at a point now where 80% of all the aspects of planning are complete."

Mr Arnold said the proposed 400m long indoor slope was being planned with winter sports experts.

UK to get huge new indoor ski resort as climate change melts Alps snowThe resort would be a good alternative to the melting Alps (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He said: "We've collaborated with Snowsports Wales and Team GB is in favour of the project. It will be the longest in the UK and the objective is to make it the UK Centre of Snowsport Excellence because that's where Team GB will bring their athletes in the summer months and (for) progressive training.

"It will be approved by the Federation of International Skiing so there will be international competitions. There is a full-size board park inside it too. It's a completely new ball game.

"It's conceivable - we like to think - that having these world-class facilities on the back door of Merthyr, it's only a matter of years before somebody from Merthyr will be a winter sports medal winner."

"We want to be a base camp for the uniqueness of the Welsh valleys area and there's no better place.

Weather maps forecast 750-mile blizzard dropping three inches of snow next weekWeather maps forecast 750-mile blizzard dropping three inches of snow next week

"We want to create that guarantee that will make people want to come and engage and stay longer - many trips here are one day trips or short trips.

"The real jobs are in the hands of local entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity and bring footfall into the town restaurants - we want the clientele to be roaming into the valleys having great accommodation. If the weather isn't good, they've always got something to do."

UK to get huge new indoor ski resort as climate change melts Alps snowIt would be built south of the Brecon Beacons (Getty Images)

Mr Arnold said that once the plans are submitted it should take up to 16 weeks for Merthyr Tydfil County Council to give a decision.

However the scheme is likely to be called in by the Welsh Government who could then take up to a year to give an approval.

If given the green light, the project is estimated to take two-and-a-half-years to complete.

Milo Boyd

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