Carbon neutral indoor ski resort coming to Barcelona

Snow World Barcelona

Ever consider taking a ski trip to Barcelona? Me either.  Currently snow skiing in balmy Barcelona doesn’t exist, but a Dutch company, SnowWorld, is hoping to change that by building an indoor ski facility that is also environmentally friendly.

News of indoor ski area projects seem to be all over Europe right now, but what makes this one unique is that it aims to be sustainable. Architects working with SnowWorld say they have found a way to build an indoor ski facility that would rely on recycled cooling that otherwise goes to waste in the city’s harbor on the Mediterranean Sea.

For SnowWorld, which already operates two large indoor ski facilities in the Netherlands, the project would be the most significant step it has taken to improve the environmental credentials of indoor skiing. SnowWorld already reduces its energy use by recovering heat from snowmaking equipment at one of its sites, in Landgraaf. The heat is then recycled for water and for use in radiators at a nearby restaurant and hotel. The company also buys power from utilities that supply electricity from sources like wind.

But the facility in Barcelona would be considered “carbon-neutral” because the harbor would provide the cooling, while solar panels would offset the electricity used for lighting and needed to run the machinery, said Wim Moerman, the chief financial officer for SnowWorld.

Construction could begin in 2015 with the cost of the project estimated at €40 to $55 million, about the same as a similar facility in the Netherlands. It would cost about the same to operate, despite the higher temperatures in Spain.