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500 metre long indoor snowslope planned for Wales

 Poster: A snowHead
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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!


Had it on very good authority that the Cardiff slope is not going to happen.

Couldn't / wouldn't build a slope longer than 180m, which would not futureproof it against sites developed in SW England.

Would have become a 'white elephant / sheep Wink'
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stanton wrote:
They should speak to the Dutch when it comes to indoor slopes.


One of the factors. Currently Welsh National Championships held at Landgraaff.

Would have been good to move it to Llandaff, but Merthyr is a better site.
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dobby wrote:
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.


Bike Park Wales is definitely a factor.

Plenty of customers crossing the Severn Bridge to cycle here.

North Wales has done a great job of packaging a multi-activity short break in the Snowdonia area around Surf Snowdonia, Zip World, Bounce Below, coasteering, hiking & biking.

The Merthyr development is attempting to do the same for S Wales, but with better access and taking the elements out of the equation for a number of the activities.
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Snowsport Cymru Wales press release

http://www.snowsportwales.co.uk/news/plans-released-build-international-standard-indoor-snow-centre-wales?platform=hootsuite
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Links where I have recently read about this, although I will believe it when I see the doors open

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/plans-build-one-europes-longest-13574736

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-41167336
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Digging up an old thread, but is there anyone close to this project at all? Is it looking like it'll actually happen?

Have seen there's a fairly recent article on it:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/major-merthyr-tydfil-scheme-ski-17208610

Would be amazing if it happened. Yesterdays 2hr 15min drive to Hemel would be massively reduced to about 1hr, and it would be so much longer than anywhere else in the UK.

Fingers crossed!
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swskier wrote:
Digging up an old thread, but is there anyone close to this project at all? Is it looking like it'll actually happen?
Not close to the project, but I don't see any signs that it will get off the drawing board. If they get the finance package in place it might happen, but no sign that there is a finance package in place.

The next indoor slope to open will be in Swindon. Delayed a bit because of economic uncertainty, but it will most likely go ahead. I'd guess opening sometime late 2022, early 2023.
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I cannot see a business case for a slope in South Wales, especially if the Swindon slope opens.
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dobby wrote:
I cannot see a business case for a slope in South Wales, especially if the Swindon slope opens.
As much as I would like to see it happen, Merthyr is my home town, I tend to agree with that. The dry ski slope in Merthyr back in the 1980s didn't last long.
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I mean it would have to be a tourist destination - I'd happily pick up a membership there and I live about 2 hours away, albeit with relatives half an hour away.

The 500m aspect would be the best bit! I suspect people would stay in Cardiff and take a trip up.

I suspect this is a pie in the sky "wouldn't this be great" project though.
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rob@rar wrote:
dobby wrote:
I cannot see a business case for a slope in South Wales, especially if the Swindon slope opens.
As much as I would like to see it happen, Merthyr is my home town, I tend to agree with that. The dry ski slope in Merthyr back in the 1980s didn't last long.


Having driven by Merthyr on the way to the Beacons quite regularly, and occasionally driven through, I'd normally say that it's not exactly a big draw for people. However, BPW continues to be successful and people travel some distance to visit. The problem with a snowdome is that it doesn't quite have a USP (why would people from the midlands drive to Merthyr when they can go to MK or Tamworth?), so they'd need to have something like being extra long or wide to stand out.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
... BPW continues to be successful and people travel some distance to visit.
I'm pretty sure that it didn't cost tens of millions of pounds to build Bike Park Wales, and its running costs are significantly less than an indoor slope. No doubt a fancy indoor ski slope in Merthyr would attract an audience (me, for example), but I don't think it would attract a large enough audience all year round to make it viable. Mores the shame.
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rob@rar wrote:
dobby wrote:
I cannot see a business case for a slope in South Wales, especially if the Swindon slope opens.
As much as I would like to see it happen, Merthyr is my home town, I tend to agree with that. The dry ski slope in Merthyr back in the 1980s didn't last long.


neither did the one in Swansea in the 90s

Cardiff was supposed to have had an indoor slope as part of the Ice Rink Wales - That does not look like its happening.
Port Talbot Adventure Park looks like a big investment swindle & is not happening.
So I guess it's now down to Merthyr.

Anywhere between Cardiff & Swindon would be good a big catchment area.

Merthyr probably does not have the footfall to make it viable business for 7 days a week.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
rob@rar wrote:
SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
... BPW continues to be successful and people travel some distance to visit.
I'm pretty sure that it didn't cost tens of millions of pounds to build Bike Park Wales, and its running costs are significantly less than an indoor slope. No doubt a fancy indoor ski slope in Merthyr would attract an audience (me, for example), but I don't think it would attract a large enough audience all year round to make it viable. Mores the shame.


I wasn't comparing the two as a business venture, just saying that people will travel to Merthyr for a specific attraction.

Personally I'm not convinced that even the existing indoor slopes are doing particularly well and I really can't see that it's a decent return on investment for developers. It must take an age before initial outlay is recovered.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, The UK indoor slopes are a very different design to most of those in the rest of Europe. UK ones are typically built using lots of concrete in urban areas. Hemel is built on an existing slope.

I have only been to Amneville and Landgraaf but they are just sheds built on brownfield hillsides, similar construction to a warehouse. Amneville is an old mining area so may have some similarities to the proposed Merthyr slope.

I suspect that the construction costs differ quite a bit between the two styles.
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Quote:

people will travel to Merthyr for a specific attraction

like Koolers? Razz
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leggyblonde wrote:
Quote:

people will travel to Merthyr for a specific attraction

like Koolers? Razz
Jeez, that brings back some terrible memories! Used to be called The Kirkhouse.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:

just saying that people will travel to Merthyr for a specific attraction.


I can safely assume you have never been to Merthyr Toofy Grin
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@rjs, I don't follow your point. Are you suggesting that the UK slopes are cheaper to construct than Euro versions?

I've seen Hemel, it wouldn't have been cheap, throw in the high running costs and seems to me that you need a big number of people through the door to get to break even.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:

just saying that people will travel to Merthyr for a specific attraction.


I can safely assume you have never been to Merthyr Toofy Grin


I've been. It's a hole...and I'm being kind because Rob will read this. In fact I've been to merthyr more than once, which was my point. If it weren't for BPW I wouldn't have gone at all.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
I've seen Hemel, it wouldn't have been cheap, .
About £20 million I believe.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
I've been. It's a hole...and I'm being kind because Rob will read this. In fact I've been to merthyr more than once, which was my point. If it weren't for BPW I wouldn't have gone at all.
There's a reason I live in the leafy suburbs of SW London wink

Having said that, it's so much nicer now than it was when I lived there as a kid. The area to the immediate north of the town up in to the Brecon Beacons is an area of undoubted beauty, and it's not far to drive to the wonderful coastal areas around the Gower, or further west to Pembrokeshire. So not all bad Happy
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, I'm suggesting that the UK ones were more expensive.
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The plan is to make it a multi-activity destination much like N Wales has become.

Longest indoor ski slope in the UK makes it the defacto British Olympic training site
Bike Park Wales
Brecon Beacons National Park
Zip Wire facility on the old Tower Colliery site in Hirwaun less than 30 mins drive away
Welsh coast less than 1hr away

Merthyr itself is not the prettiest town in the Valleys but no worse than the holes in and around London.

I'm hopeful it goes ahead.

Plenty of very capable people behind the project.

Developing a big enough and diverse bed base will be as big a challenge.
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If you look at how busy Hemel was yesterday afternoon, our time finished at 3, then you'd imagine there's enough people in South Wales and the South West to make it worthwhile. (He says not knowing any of the costs of construction)

Swindon for me is c.50-60 minutes, Merthyr Tydfil is nearer to 80-90 minutes and a much worse journey (Brynglas tunnels), but if they were offering 500 metres of slope compared to 160/170 metres in Swindon, I wouldn't even question which one i'd go to, especially as the bridge tolls don't exist any more, even if they did, i'd still go.

Google says 2.2million people in South Wales.

This site says 1.5million people in the UK ski.
https://lhm-marketing.com/en/uk-ski-market-how-many-brits/

Now I appreciate this maths coming up is not very accurate at all....

If 1.5 million in the UK go on a ski holiday every year, and the population of the UK is 66 million, than 2.3% of the population ski.

2.3% of South Wales' population is c.50,000 that would potentially use the facility.

Then you have the South West of the UK on top, there must be enough people to use it that it might be feasible.

Plus as is said, it could be used for the GB squads training etc.

Would love to be involved in properly looking at the numbers.
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swskier wrote:
If 1.5 million in the UK go on a ski holiday every year, and the population of the UK is 66 million, than 2.3% of the population ski.

2.3% of South Wales' population is c.50,000 that would potentially use the facility.
I think the flaw in that model is that not everyone who goes on a ski holiday will choose to ski indoors. I think it's a relatively small fraction of the people who take ski holidays will spend time visiting an indoor facility. I don't think there is a compelling business case for a facility of that kind in that location, and with no compelling business case there's no finance available to build it.

That's all instinct on my part, and I'd love to be wrong. But the last time I spoke to a couple of senior people in the indoor slope industry they were of the opinion it wouldn't get off the ground.
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@swskier,

not many people are going to travel an hour+ each way on a monday, or tuesday, or wednesday, etc.
Weekends it will probably be busy, then the novelty will wear off.
So the catchment area is relatively small.

Cardiff Dry Slope is struggling & that is used by Cardiff University, as well as being rented out for tubing parties, etc.

Somewhere like Bristol or Swindon could have a huge catchment area. If it was Bristol, then the M4 route of Swansea to Reading at a push (Cardiff, Newport, Bath, Chippenham, Swindon, etc), as well as the M5 route of the Birmingham to Exeter which would bring in Gloucestershire & the whole South West. Thats a big catchment area.
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@Mr.Egg, another reason Cardiff dry slope may be struggling because it's tiny compared to Ponty slope, which is not far away. And the people there (Cardiff dry slope) were as miserable as billy O the last time I went (albeit a long time ago)
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Mike Pow wrote:
Merthyr itself is not the prettiest town in the Valleys but no worse than the holes in and around London.


I don't like going to London either NehNeh

Although tbf I'd far rather take a drive up the A370 or out towards the black mountains than take a visit to the big smoke.

Bristol has surely got to be the best location for a large catchment area? Swansea is too far into Wales for most from the SW, whereas Bristol probably isn't too far for people from Swansea to travel.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
Bristol has surely got to be the best location for a large catchment area?

I don't know Bristol well but would suspect that any hillsides near there would be considered "pretty" and would be difficult to get planning permission for.
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rjs wrote:
"pretty".

rjs wrote:
I don't know Bristol well ....

Clearly Laughing

It would obviously depend on where it was, but there's been a huge amount of expansion around Bristol over the last few decades, and none of it particularly nice. Obviously cost would be a bigger issue than Merthyr, land is more likely to attract a premium, but the benefit is opening yourself up to far more potential customers.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, Suggest somewhere with a hillside that can be used then.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
@swskier,

not many people are going to travel an hour+ each way on a monday, or tuesday, or wednesday, etc.
Weekends it will probably be busy, then the novelty will wear off.
So the catchment area is relatively small.


Correct.

Whilst day traffic will be important the real prize is the multi-day visitor.

Long weekends for the urban adventurers, stag & hen parties.

3-4 days midweek for the family and older adventurers.

Multiple days/nights accommodation, activities, meals, discretionary spend is the goal.

Schools/ youth / university groups have been visiting Wales for decades.

Merthyr and its environs can provide

Skiing
Walking
Mtn Biking
Caving
Canyoneering
Surfing
Zip Wire
Horse riding

Plus a multitude of historical and cultural attractions

Standing on the top of Pen-y-Fan within a 2-hr radius there is a domestic population of over 4million

Add in an expanding European and Worldwide customer base and it stacks up.

And N Wales has shown that challenging weather is not a barrier to success.
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Careful now Mike, you're making me optimistic!
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I do wonder whether more people would use an indoor facility if it was the sort of length being described. Hemel is 165m's I want to say, but offer up 500m's and it might seem more appealing to people who wouldn't otherwise ski indoors.

I guess i'm in the minority, in that I will travel over 2 hours to ski on what is currently on offer, but that's because it's an option of some skiing or nothing, except a week sometimes 2 weeks in the winter. I'll take the hit and do the journey. If Merthyr opens, i'll be there at a minimum, once a month. TBH, i'll probably go to Swindon once a month as well, minimum.

From what I've heard, The Bristol Golf Club is up for sale. Now, whether you'd get planning permission etc to build it, and you'd annoy a lot of members (although my golf course would probably benefit being only a few junctions down the motorway), but, that's built on the side of the hill, it's literally on the motorway junction, the other side of the motorway is Cribbs Causeway, shopping, leisure, hotels etc. Now that would be a great location, but, completely pie in the sky idea really.
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500m has to be the selling point really, it would be the main point of difference between Merthyr and other places, especially Swindon (if it ever gets built). That and surrounding it with other activities could tip the balance...
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OK

Another part of the puzzle in place

Zip World Heading South

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/zip-world-rhigos-rhondda-taf-17450610?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=wales_cynon&fbclid=IwAR0UHpL4k0GvUwhFcui1Ji-skjWv2PfSNqAa2O2jwdT_FKJUMy8loFBRIv0
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Apologies for resurrecting and old thread, but the following site seems to have appeared recently with promotional videos on social media

http://www.rhydycarwest.com/planning

http://www.rhydycarwest.com/blog/2020/12/development-update-january-2021

https://www.facebook.com/RhydycarWest


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 16-02-21 20:05; edited 1 time in total
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That location is by the lesuire centre (well over side of the roundabout of the Dual)
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All looks very exciting, and I can see where my parents house is located in the fancy artist’s impression of the snow sport centre they hope to build. Plenty of information about all the work they are doing as they work to submit planning permission, but no information on funding. When that happens I’ll be more excited.
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