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Paris to Get €50 Million Indoor Ski Resort?

French newspaper, Le Figaro, reported earlier this week that a new indoor ski resort is to be built 35km from Paris, offering residents of the capital the opportunity to ski throughout the year. The Dutch company, Snowworld, have for some time been looking to open a snwosports centre in the Ile-de-France area. The location they have chosen is on Elancourt, a man-made hill in the department of Yvelines, and the highest point in the region. The indoor ski resort will have a 310 metre ski slope, a nursery slope and a large fun park, with a total of 22,000 square metres of piste and slopes. There will also be a variety of restaurants, a fitness and wellness centre and a 3 hotel with 400 beds. The skiing area will be kept at a constant -5 ̊C. The centre is expected to attract nearly 300,000 visitors per year, creating revenue of nearly 17 million euros and 200 jobs.

The project is still in the planning stages, with Snowworld yet to submit a request for planning permission. Elancourt's mayor, Jean-Michel Fourgous, is confident that the ski centre will have a positive effect on the local community and is hopeful that he will be able to negotiate a special discount for locals, to allow those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to get involved in snow sports (a standard day pass is expected to cost 52.50). However, the project does have its objectors. Alain Le Vot, former mayor of Magny-les-Hameaux, another town in the area, doubts that the ski centre's construction will encourage the less affluent to take up skiing and is also unsure as to why those who do have the means to ski would choose an indoor ski centre, when France's Alpine winter wonderlands are just a few hours from the capital by TGV. He also expects that the jobs created will all be temporary and low-paid.One group of locals have gone further, starting a petition against the construction of the ski centre on their hill. They fear the impact on the local environment, as well as the effects of the huge amount of energy that will be consumed by refrigerating an entire hangar to a constant -5 ̊C (estimated to be 4.8 million kWh). We will have to wait to see if the project proceeds but, if it does, trips to Paris could become more exciting for skiers!

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