Always one to do things a little differently, the city of Copenhagen has opened its first ski slope, and, in case this wasn’t unusual enough, it’s on top of a power plant.

The ski slope ontop of the combined heat and power waste-to-energy plant Copenhill
Copenhill ski slope ©Niels Christian Vilmann / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty

Architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is a pioneer in sustainable design, from off-grid, pop-up homes to floating cities and transforming the best restaurant in the world, it's created some of the most eye-catching spaces of the 21st century. Its latest project is Copenhill or Amager Bakke, a 500-metre dry ski slope that runs down the sloping roof of the Amager Resource Center, a power plant that converts rubbish into energy. The incinerator is the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world, turning 300 lorry loads of refuse into energy each day, that was built to aid Copenhagen’s aim of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.

A ski slope is built on the roof of the new waste management centre Amager Resource Center in Copenhagen
A ski slope is built on the roof of the new waste management centre Amager Resource Center in Copenhagen ©NIELS CHRISTIAN VILMANN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty

Details of the power plant/ski slope hybrid were first teased in 2010 and it reportedly cost €550m ($600m; £490m) to build. Architectural Digest said it was one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 and finally, in October 2019, it has opened to the public. The artificial ski slope, which boasts black, blue and green pistes, as well as free-style park, is one of the world’s largest year-round artificial ski slopes. Around 50-60,000 skiers are expected each year.

Young snowboarder zips down an artificial slope with trees
A young snowboarder takes to the slopes ©MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/AFP/Getty

Speaking in a promo video for the project, the site’s architect Bjarke Ingels, said, “we want the world to know about this, so the people will come and try this new kind of hybrid between a building and a landscape.”

The building forms part of Bjarke’s idea of ‘hedonistic sustainability’. A concept that aims to make sustainability design fun, rather than restrictive. As he explains in the video, “what if sustainable cities and buildings actually are not all about the things you can’t do, but all the things you can do?”

CopenHill ski complex as seen from the distance
CopenHill is a ski complex on top of a waste-to-energy plant in Refshaleoen ©Mark Johanson/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty

The waste-management site is also home to a climbing wall (purportedly the world’s highest), a rooftop hiking trail, ski rental shop and even an apres-ski bar for the traditional cockle-warmer once the boots are off. Ski instructors will also be on-hand to help first-timers hoping to take their first tentative slide down the slopes. A park, designed in collaboration with the Danish landscapers SLA, runs along both sides of the ski track.

To book a session, click here.

This article was originally published on 26 June, 2019 and updated on 10 October, 2019.

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