A second indoor snow centre has opened in Egypt, close to the capital.
Snow City Cairo which has opened in the past week joins Ski Egypt, which opened a little over two years ago and was created by the same company that runs Ski Dubai, and is currently working on a third giant mall with indoor ski slope in Saudi Arabia (you can guess what the name is to be).
The new indoor snow centre, Africa’s second, has been built by the Abdullah Al-Othaim Leisure & Tourism Company as part of the huge CityStars mall in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.
Covering 5,500 square metres (60,000 square feet) the centre’s onus is on snow and ice play rather than skiing and boarding with numerous attractions including tubing, ice slides, ice dodgem cars and electric snowmobiles.
There is a short slope served by a conveyor lift however on which skiing and boarding is possible.
Snow City is reported to have cost 500 million Egyptian Pounds (£24m GBP/€27m/$30m USD), to be maintained at -5C (temperatures are currently around 40C outdoors in Cairo) and to use snow made of pure water with snowmaking technology from a French supplier.
It has never been reported that anyone has managed to ski outdoors on snow in Egypt but snow does fall occasionally, and normally, when it does, very thinly on the rocky Jabal Katherina mountain.
The mountain, Egypt’s highest and next to the internationally better known Mt Moses – also known as Mt Sinai (where God handed Moses the 10 commandments) – does not get any snow most years, but occasionally does. Predicting when more than a few hours ahead is nigh on impossible.
Anyone wishing to head to Jabal Katherina with their skis or snowboard on the off chance reportedly needs to ensure they have permission to make the ascent from the local police and must take a local guide.
There are now indoor snow centres on every continent except Antarctica with the first indoor snow centre in North America to be built back in 2008, at the yet-to-open American Dream mall in New Jersey, last week setting an opening date of October 25th, later this year