Denmark opens Ski Facility on a Waste-to-Energy Plant

Normally most people would not associate with skiing alongside a waste incinerator. However Bjarke Ingels designed a waste-to-energy power plant with the idea to incorporate a ski hill on its rooftop, making an urban ski area in Copenhagen possible throughout the year.

Dubbed Copenhill, the facility officially opened to the public on 4th October 2019 and from the press photos, the facility looks to provide locals in Copenhagen a nice outdoor space to polish up on their ski skills before the winter season kicks off in full gear. The waste-to-energy plant known also as Amager Bakke is innovative in developing social acceptance into the project by incorporating sporting and community venues.

Ski slopes of CopenHill on opening day. Press release by CopenHill; Photographer: Ehrhornhummerston

With a design by Bjarke Ingels who have incorporated some ski features in his other buildings, they have created CopenHill which features a silicone lining to allow skiers and snowboarders alike to glide down an artificial slope that functions as the top of this waste-to-energy plant which aims to be one of the most energy efficient in Europe. Being Copenhagen’s only ski area, the prices to ski here is DKr150 ($23) per hour, though locals can purchase annual passes costing between DKr1495/2495.

T-bars by the slopes at CopenHill. Press release by CopenHill; Photographer: Amélie Louys

Unlike normal ski slopes that are covered in pristine white snow, this one has been layered in green to project a more environmentally friendly image. The slopes of the roof have been landscaped to allow for non-skiers to be able to bike, hike and run up and down the trails as well. This creates more opportunities for visitors to come and visit even if they do not ski.

Mountain biking on the trails. Press release by CopenHill; Photographer: Amélie Louys
Urban trails by the ski slopes. Press release by CopenHill; Photographer: Ehrhornhummerston

Opening hours are generally from 12noon to 8pm on Sundays to Thursdays, while the facility is open till 10pm at night on Fridays and Saturdays with earlier opening at 10am on Saturdays and Sundays. This means locals who purchase an annual pass can come down to ski even after work on weekdays.

Night skiing at CopenHill. Press release by CopenHill; Photographer: Ehrhornhummerston

For all its intents, the incorporation of an urban ski area would help to increase skier numbers as it allows skiers to train and improve on their techniques during the off-season. In addition, innovative efforts to make waste incinerators and power plants to be more acceptable to the community would help to make such facilities more sustainable in the future. Future city planners could learn a trick or two from the Danes in incorporating such design ideas!

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