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500 metre long indoor snowslope planned for Wales

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Poster: A snowHead
Plans to build one of Europe's longest indoor ski slopes in Merthyr Tydfil have been revealed.

Potential good news for any sHs based in Wales or bordering English counties. snowHead
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When was the last time (as in Year) did a rumoured indoor ski slope actually make it to construction?
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They should speak to the Dutch when it comes to indoor slopes.
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I suppose like Landgraaf it will be built on a old pit heap and like Landgraaf hope to attract all the international teams for summer training now the glaciers are disappearing.

ps. I really like Landgraaf
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So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!
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It will complement the Ebbw Vale race circuit perfectly Toofy Grin
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johnE wrote:
I suppose like Landgraaf it will be built on a old pit heap ...
Up the side of the valley some of which will have pit spoils on it, but not purely built on industrial reclamation. One things Wales has to offer is plenty of natural slopes Happy There used to be a dry ski slope at Merthyr, on the opposite side of the valley to this current proposal, but it went bankrupt and closed. Road access to the proposed site is pretty good, but I wonder if the population density within driving distance is sufficient to make an expensive facility viable? I'm sure the local council would be only too pleased to support the proposal, but as with all the other sites that would like this kind of facility it will come down to whether the developer has the finance in place. I'd love to see it built and no doubt would visit my parents in Merthyr far more often than I do now, but I can't see it happening.

If by some good fortune it does get built, along with the proposed waterpark and surf centre, Merthyr would increasingly become a good destination for adventure/activity trips, with downhill and mountain biking at Bike Park Wales, skiing, indoor surfing, hang gliding, some gentle white water rafting/canoeing on the Taff, plenty of serious walking in the Brecon Beacons, etc.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!


Clevedon? I haven't heard about that one! Got any linkies?
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rob@rar wrote:
I wonder if the population density within driving distance is sufficient to make an expensive facility viable?


Cardiff and Bristol are in easy striking distance (closer to Bristol than Hemel is) plus the more hardy souls from towards Exeter and Plymouth. Certainly think there'd be enough interest over the winter but not sure about sustaining it over quieter months. That's possibly why the plan is to wrap it up with a larger development, make it more attractive to groups who want to have a crack at different stuff over a weekend.
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@martinm, IIRC the big "Bristol" one that was touted a few years back was in Clevedon... what with it being a suburb of Bristol rolling eyes
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@martinm, R-S must be referring to the Weston Super Mere one.
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cad99uk wrote:
@martinm, R-S must be referring to the Weston Super Mere one.


That would be my guess. As a Clevedon resident I'd probably have heard about a Clevedon one!
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@cad99uk, @martinm, I stand corrected - it was the WSM one I was thinking of which was marketed as Bristols Snowdome.
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http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=8124

Previous real snow slope at Merthyr
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!


You forgot the massive ones in Ipswich and Stratford Wink
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skimottaret wrote:
and Stratford Wink


I travel past there every day looking longingly out of the train window wondering what might have been Sad Sad
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!


At this rate there'll be no space left to house the flying pigs!
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rob@rar wrote:
johnE wrote:
I suppose like Landgraaf it will be built on a old pit heap ...
Road access to the proposed site is pretty good, but I wonder if the population density within driving distance is sufficient to make an expensive facility viable?
.


Cardiff, Swansea, Neath-Port-Talbot and Bridgend are all within 40 mins away; as is Brecon and Builth Wells.
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Quote:


So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!


You'd still have to live in Newport though.
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Charliegolf wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
johnE wrote:
I suppose like Landgraaf it will be built on a old pit heap ...
Road access to the proposed site is pretty good, but I wonder if the population density within driving distance is sufficient to make an expensive facility viable?
.


Cardiff, Swansea, Neath-Port-Talbot and Bridgend are all within 40 mins away; as is Brecon and Builth Wells.
Sure, plus Bristol, Gloucester, etc. But is there enough of snow sport audience in that combined area to sustain the capital investment and running costs of something which might be twice the size of any other slope in the UK? I think that several of the UK's existing indoor slopes have struggled financially at some point (XScape group, Braehead) and they have a larger potential audience that a slope in Merthyr. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see an indoor slope there, it's about two miles from where I grew up and maybe my company might be able to deliver courses there, expanding our reach to that part of the world. Sadly I'm just a bit sceptical that it will happen.
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If my recent introduction to the dry slope racing scene is anything to go by, then there'll be plenty of interest.

Would be great.

Fingers crossed.
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There were plans put forward a few years ago for a 500m long slope to be built in Llanberis. Needless to say it came to nothing.
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skimottaret wrote:
Richard_Sideways wrote:
So in addition to the MASSIVE one going in at Cardiff (soon honest), and the MASSIVE one going in Clevedon(yeah really soon too), there's this MASSIVE one going in at Merthyr... If you live in Newport you'll be spoiled for choice!


You forgot the massive ones in Ipswich and Stratford Wink


Not to mention Swindon....

Wasn't the Bristol one going to be just a Skiplex machine? That must look increasingly unlikely now..
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Awdbugga wrote:
There were plans put forward a few years ago for a 500m long slope to be built in Llanberis. Needless to say it came to nothing.


More to do with access and population base I suspect.
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may suffer with brexit, as when I was talking about this a lot of the cash was going to be EU redevelopment money for deprived areas... Sad
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rob@rar wrote:
Charliegolf wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
johnE wrote:
I suppose like Landgraaf it will be built on a old pit heap ...
Road access to the proposed site is pretty good, but I wonder if the population density within driving distance is sufficient to make an expensive facility viable?
.


Cardiff, Swansea, Neath-Port-Talbot and Bridgend are all within 40 mins away; as is Brecon and Builth Wells.
Sure, plus Bristol, Gloucester, etc. But is there enough of snow sport audience in that combined area to sustain the capital investment and running costs of something which might be twice the size of any other slope in the UK? I think that several of the UK's existing indoor slopes have struggled financially at some point (XScape group, Braehead) and they have a larger potential audience that a slope in Merthyr. Don't get me wrong I'd love to see an indoor slope there, it's about two miles from where I grew up and maybe my company might be able to deliver courses there, expanding our reach to that part of the world. Sadly I'm just a bit sceptical that it will happen.


I lived in Dubai for several years and was a regular at SkiDubai (400m length) and I am led to believe it runs on a loss. The government subsidises it because it's good for tourism, good for saying "we can build a snowdome in the middle of a desert" and would kind of look pretty bad if it had to sit in one of the country's huge shopping malls all dark and vacant.

So yes I am intrigued to see how a 500m slope in rural Wales can be profitable when a slope in one of the richer cities of the world apparently can't. SkiDXB is usually pretty busy in the evenings and although well priced (£25 for 2 hours, £35 for all day) gets the people traffic to make that alright I reckon. There's quite a few more tourists in Dubai who call in for a 2 hour session during a shopping trip, than there are in Merthyr.

So whilst I think that the energy costs in Dubai are no doubt higher (being that the ambient temperature outside never goes below about 25ºC) that is traded off by the fact that the staff are paid very poorly (a lot of the non-teaching staff get paid well under UK minimum wage) so I am intrigued to see how a larger site with presumably less footfall will actually be able to achieve a profit unless it's heavily subsidised by somebody else.
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The current UK slopes are a completely different construction to Landgraaf and Amneville, I haven't been to any others. I don't think any of the earlier threads have established how much of an effect this has on the costs of building and running them.

Landgraaf doesn't have anything under the snow, if you drill down you just hit frozen earth.
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I think that @rob@rar is right in that a ski slope would fit in with that area's desire to portray itself as an "adventure playground", what with Bike Park Wales and the Beacons close to hand. Would love to see it built (easy drive from the 'Diff) but I cannot see the numbers stacking up.
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[quote="dp"][quote="rob@rar"][quote="Charliegolf"][quote="rob@rar"]
johnE wrote:


so I am intrigued to see how a larger site with presumably less footfall will actually be able to achieve a profit unless it's heavily subsidised by somebody else.


The Parish Council (Welsh Government) has a very long track record for giving huge wedges of dosh to dubious ventures. They might turn out to be the 'somebody else'; and Merthyr is a very deprived area- the promise of (hugely inflated) permanent jobs often wins. That said, there was an outbreak of common sense over the Circuit of Wales.
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Quote:

johnE wrote:


so I am intrigued to see how a larger site with presumably less footfall will actually be able to achieve a profit unless it's heavily subsidised by somebody else.


I cannot recall ever writing that!

There is in fact a big catchment area for Merthyr. With the developments of the head of vallies road the catchment area extends north to Birmingham and the West Midlands.
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@johnE, but only 30 mins from Birmingham to Tam'uth.
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dobby wrote:
@johnE, but only 30 mins from Birmingham to Tam'uth.


Tamworth isn't 500 metres long!
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@Charliegolf, true enough
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There was a dry-slope on the outskirts of Merthyr in Pentrebach in the '80s but it closed down after a few years. It probably wasn't the best place to build it considering the economic deprevation in the surrounding area at the time.

There may be greater demand for an indoor snow-slope on the same site these days as it's only 1/2 an hour's drive from the M4 and there's quite an extensive catchment within a couple of hours drive. It would be even better once the Severn bridge tolls get removed in 2018.
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I'd love love love to believe this will come to fruition but I just can't realistically see it working. I don't think there's the catchment with sufficient cash to be happy paying snowdome prices.
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johnE wrote:

I cannot recall ever writing that!


You didn't. I did. I think somebody just got their quote tags in a mess

Charliegolf wrote:
dp wrote:


so I am intrigued to see how a larger site with presumably less footfall will actually be able to achieve a profit unless it's heavily subsidised by somebody else.


The Parish Council (Welsh Government) has a very long track record for giving huge wedges of dosh to dubious ventures. They might turn out to be the 'somebody else'; and Merthyr is a very deprived area- the promise of (hugely inflated) permanent jobs often wins. That said, there was an outbreak of common sense over the Circuit of Wales.


Government subsidies I can believe

But I mean honestly, do they have any idea of the cost of operating and maintaining a 500m ski slope? We are talking basically a fridge 3-4 times the size of a football pitch. Electricity bill will be that of a small town.

I can't believe a subsidy will even then get them to the 0 mark. Snowdon's got an artificial surf area which is one thing but after start up it only costs money when it's surfing. The problem with a ski slope is it costs money 24/7
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The Welsh Gov have made many spectacularly bad, no-jobs money eating deals since 1999; and before that, the WDA was in charge of wasting money. But I did say there had been an outbreak of common sense recently...
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Trying to make money out of skiing in Britain seems to be pretty near impossible.

Skiing works here only around the margins and usually because of substantial voluntary effort and public financial support.
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LittleRos wrote:
I'd love love love to believe this will come to fruition but I just can't realistically see it working. I don't think there's the catchment with sufficient cash to be happy paying snowdome prices.


9 million people living within 2hr radius of Merthyr.
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dp wrote:
johnE wrote:

I cannot recall ever writing that!


You didn't. I did. I think somebody just got their quote tags in a mess

Charliegolf wrote:
dp wrote:


so I am intrigued to see how a larger site with presumably less footfall will actually be able to achieve a profit unless it's heavily subsidised by somebody else.


The Parish Council (Welsh Government) has a very long track record for giving huge wedges of dosh to dubious ventures. They might turn out to be the 'somebody else'; and Merthyr is a very deprived area- the promise of (hugely inflated) permanent jobs often wins. That said, there was an outbreak of common sense over the Circuit of Wales.


Government subsidies I can believe

But I mean honestly, do they have any idea of the cost of operating and maintaining a 500m ski slope? We are talking basically a fridge 3-4 times the size of a football pitch. Electricity bill will be that of a small town.

I can't believe a subsidy will even then get them to the 0 mark. Snowdon's got an artificial surf area which is one thing but after start up it only costs money when it's surfing. The problem with a ski slope is it costs money 24/7


Aim is to build a water storage facility above the site for snowmaking. Free water, gravity fed.

Layer of articial snow on natural terrain, so artificial snow needs not as much per sqm as other 'fridges' who have to build the pitch of the slope.

Electricity generation through solar panelling.
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