Surprisingly, a lot is happening out in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith. The area has already welcomed an indoor skydiving facility, an Olympic white-water rafting stadium, and has long been a go-to for its Aqua Golf Driving Range. Now there are plans to bring an ambitious $300 million snow resort to Penrith, dubbed Winter Sports World, with its own 300-metre advanced ski run and a 4.5 star luxury hotel with 120 rooms.
Construction on the Western Sydney snow resort is expected to start in 2022, subject to planning approvals. The development has, however, already been touted by Penrith City Council, who are including it in their plans to double visitor numbers and tourism revenue by 2025. Pending completion, Winter Sports World is expected to add $80 million to the NSW economy each year.
Plans are to build Winter Sports World on the corner of Jamison Road and Tench Avenue in the small suburb of Jamisontown, which is adjacent to South Penrith. This also means that the facility will be near Badgerys Creek, where Sydney’s next major airport is due to open in 2026.
The exact size of Winter Sports World has not yet been confirmed, although reports indicate that 2.35 hectares have been allotted for the project. We do know that it will be big enough to include a dedicated food and drink precinct with bars, restaurants, and cafes, which includes a revolving fine diner, as well as a 120-room hotel with a snow play area and various conference rooms. The centre also needs to fit in a 300-metre indoor ski slope, an Olympic sized ice skating rink, and both ice and rock climbing facilities.
So far, the plan for the ski slope claims that it will be one of the top ten high-performance training centres in the world. But, of course, its still early days for the snow hotel with an opening date eyed for winter 2024.
Winter Sports World is being designed by eco-friendly architectural firm Environa Studio with high carbon-neutral design standards. Various green technology will be used to run the facility as efficiently as possible, including tech for capturing and reuse of free heat, solar power, insulation systems, and non-toxic cooling. Roof water will be harvested for snowmaking.
The obvious question is, will Winter Sports World use real snow? Precipitating snow is very rare in Greater Western Sydney. Those behind the project seem confident that the entire facility will be using real snow, to the point where visitors can feel confident learning how to ski onsite.
Winter Sports World may also double as a training ground for Australia’s Winter Olympians seeing as it will support alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, ice hockey, curling, speed skating, and other sports. Former Winter Olympian Stephen Edwards has apparently come onboard the project as the Performance Director for Winter Sports World, and he claims the controlled nature of the facility may be a game-changer for Australia’s winter sports.
“The facility will change the performance of winter sports in Australia, especially with respect to all disciplines. Being able to train on an all-year-round facility will allow athletes to focus on their skills and technique in an environment where all weather conditions are controlled. We can organise precise training at days and times we want.”