Winter sports madness!
Saudi Arabia hosts ski competitions in the desert - mega-project planned
Created: 05/10/2022, 20:55
By: Patrick Mayer
Extreme desert landscape: A stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally not far from the planned Saudi Arabian city of Neom.
© IMAGO / PanoramiC
Saudi Arabia may host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.
And in a mountainous desert landscape near the spectacular planned city of Neom.
The royal family, which is polarizing in the west, is enthusiastic.
Munich/Neom - holding winter sports events where little or no snow falls?
The 2022 Winter Olympics in China were already criticized for the competition venues in the Xiaohaituo National Alpine Skiing Center, because the hilly region north-west of Beijing had no tradition of such sports.
Huge sports facilities had to be rebuilt in the middle of nature, the snow was artificially produced.
Asian Winter Games 2029 go to Saudi Arabia: alpine skiing and biathlon in a bone-dry desert
And now this. Soon there will be competitions in the middle of the desert.
Specifically: The Asian Olympic Committee has awarded the Asian Winter Games 2029 to Saudi Arabia.
A mountain area called Trojena was awarded the contract this Tuesday (October 5) in Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
Trojena is not far from the spectacular planned city of Neom in the northwest of the country with around 34.8 million inhabitants.
To put this in context: Neom is to be a megacity covering 26,500 square kilometers by 2030, not far from the Gulf of Aqaba and along the Red Sea coast.
In 2029, disciplines such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and biathlon are to take place in this mountainous and dust-dry desert region.
Trojena is located 50 kilometers from the coast, at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,600 meters.
Temperatures sometimes drop to freezing point in winter, but it hardly ever rains.
There is no talk of snow at all.
In the Saudi royal family, the jubilation is apparently still great.
"This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and the entire Gulf region," said Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman commissioned the mega-project Neom, which is considered controversial in the West because of alleged human rights violations.
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According to human rights organizations, homosexuality and freedom of religion are “seriously endangered or non-existent” in Saudi Arabia, as RTL reports.
As in China, the topics of environmental protection and sustainability are once again in focus.
Asian Winter Games in the Saudi desert: Artificial snow should come from renewable sources
According to the Saudi monarchy, 100 percent of the energy should come from renewable sources, although all snow competitions must be held on artificial snow.
According to media reports, Trojena is to become a luxurious ski area with family and wellness offers in the future - in the middle of the desert.