A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

Copenhill

  • A waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen contains a 1,500-foot ski slope on its roof.
  • The slope officially opened to the public on October 4. Visitors can now ski down its synthetic turf all year round.
  • The power plant burns trash to produce electricity and heat for local homes. 
  • Visit Businessinsider.com for more stories.

Don’t let the green turf fool you — the winding path atop Copenhagen’s new power plant is a ski slope, and it’s now open year-round. 

October 4 marked the slope’s official unveiling to the public, though some visitors got to test it last winter.

The power plant on which the ski slope sits, known as CopenHill, has been operating since 2017. It burns trash that can’t be recycled, generating enough heat and electricity for 150,000 homes in the area.

In addition to ski runs, the plant features amenities like a rooftop bar, fitness area, and the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall. But its 1,500-foot-long ski slope has captured the most attention. Instead of using snow, the slope is made of an artificial green turf that’s slippery enough to ski down.

Here’s what it’s like.

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CopenHill is the first power plant that incorporates a ski slope.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

By incinerating waste to produce electricity and heat, the 4.4 million-square-foot power plant releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it would if it burned fossil fuels. 

Copenhagen hopes to become the world’s first zero-carbon capital city by 2025.

Some environmental groups say waste-to-energy plants still aren’t exactly “clean,” since burning waste emits carbon dioxide, as does transporting that waste to the plant. CopenHill also produces a lot less energy than fossil-fuel power plants. 

But the trash the plant burns would otherwise end up in a landfill, where it could emit methane — a greenhouse gas that’s up to 35 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

The plant burns 440,000 tons of waste per year — but skiers won’t smell any of it.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

Each day, CopenHill receives around 300 truckloads of waste from local households and businesses, along with waste that gets imported from other countries, including the UK. 

The steam that comes out of the plant gets filtered for pollutants, including a greenhouse gas called nitrogen oxide. A garden on the roof is also designed to absorb particles that could linger in the air. 

The plant’s architect, Bjarke Ingels, officially opened the ski lift on October 4.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

Ingels’ firm, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), has been working on the project for nearly a decade.

“I have a 5-month-old son and he’s going to grow up in a world not knowing there was a time when you couldn’t ski on the roof of a power plant,” Ingels joked at the TED 2019 conference in April. 

He told Architectural Digest that he was inspired to design the slope after realizing that Copenhagen had “several months of snow, but absolutely no mountains.”

Conveyor belts called “magic carpets” take skiers and snowboarders to the top of the hill.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

Visitors have the option to bring their own ski gear or rent it on-site.

“It’s a fantastic experience in the middle of a city to be able to do what you do like the most,” local skier Pelle Hansen told Reuters in February. “Instead of having to go six, seven, eight or 10 hours to a ski destination, you can be here in 10 minutes.”

A glass elevator allows visitors to peer inside the plant.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

In addition to the waste-burning facility, the plant contains 10 floors of administrative space and a 6,500-square-foot education center for conferences and workshops. 

 

The ski slope is made of neveplast, a synthetic turf that’s slippery like snow.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

“I think everybody is surprised to start with when they look at it and it’s not snow,” Christian Ingels, the director at CopenHill, told Reuters. “It’s green dry-slope material. After one or two runs, your mind is automatically adjusting so you feel exactly like skiing.”

Four ski runs offer varying degrees of difficulty.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

There’s also a freestyle park and a slalom course. 

On the way down, skiers pass other amenities, including a rooftop bar, café, fitness area, and a walking trail.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

The side of the plant boasts the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, which is nearly 280 feet high. 

The plant’s director hopes the facility will attract more than 300,000 visitors per year.

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

Around 65,000 of those visitors are expected to use the ski slope. 

“As a power plant, CopenHill is so clean that we have been able to turn its building mass into the bedrock of the social life of the city,” Ingels said at the slope’s opening ceremony. “Its facade is climbable, its roof is hikeable, and its slopes are skiable.”

A 1,500-foot ski slope atop a power plant just opened to the public in Denmark. Here's what it's like to ski down.

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