London’s first indoor ski centre will feature several runs of varying difficulty, snowboard ramps and an ice-skating rink.
It is believed the project, which will cost up to £200?million and is being funded by shopping centre developers Westfield, could be ready to open in 2015.
The longest run will be 300 metres — twice the length of the next biggest one in the UK — recreating Alpine skiing conditions. There will also be toboggan runs and snow-play zones where children and beginners can get used to the sub-zero temperatures.
The east London site is expected to provide about 20,000 square metres of piste which will be covered with thousands of tonnes of “real” snow, all year round. It will be double the size of other British snow centres at Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead and on a par with Ski Dubai, the world’s biggest, in the United Arab Emirates.
The Stratford dome aims to attract up to three million visitors a year. Westfield Stratford City will submit a planning application to the London Legacy Development Corporation by the end of the summer. Mayor Boris Johnson, announcing the plans today, said: “One year on from London's Olympic and Paralympic Games and we are defying the sceptics who prophesied a herd of white elephants.
“This weekend, elite athletics returns to the magnificent Olympic stadium and major contracts are now in place to transform the venue into a multi-sport arena. In further good news, Stratford’s status as a stunning new destination is confirmed by Westfield’s plans for a world-class indoor ski centre. This underscores the massive confidence in this area from investors which is delivering a real payback for taxpayers in terms of jobs and the regeneration of east London.”
Neale Coleman, the Mayor’s Olympic legacy czar, said the centre is expected to pull in millions of visitors a year. It comes as the Mayor confirmed the legacy development corporation is in talks with University College London to create a postgraduate campus on the Olympic Park. He also announced several multi-million-pound contracts to convert the Olympic stadium, including a £41 million deal with Balfour Beatty to put in a new roof to cover every seat in the ground and improve acoustics for matches and concerts.
This weekend the site will host world-class athletics for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, marking a year since the London 2012 opening ceremony.