Skiing on your apartment roof- love it!

In Kazakhstan, an apartment complex with a skiable roofAs a blizzard-y beast named Snowzilla descended upon the East Coast last weekend, many a city-dweller immediately grabbed a sled, yoga mat, garbage can lid and/or Rubbermaid laundry basket and high-tailed it to the nearest park boasting anything resembling a hill.

Great … but wouldn’t it be lovely if urbanites had the luxury of sledding — or even downhill skiing — from atop their own apartment building?

Skiing on your apartment roof- love it!

That’s the idea behind Slalom House, a mixed-use apartment block where a traditional roof is replaced with a 1,000-foot ski slope winding down the top of the 21-story structure.

This actually isn’t the first building with a roof-cum-ski run to pop up in recent years. In Copenhagen, work is underway on the Amager Bakke Waste-To-Energy Plant, a massive municipal incinerator that doubles as a regional ski resort. That project, boasting a 333,700-square-foot (!) artificial ski slope, is designed by none other than well-coiffed Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels.

Slalom House, if completed, would be the world’s first residential building with an exterior ski slope.

Shortlisted at the 2015 World Architecture Festival in the Residential: Future Projects category, Slalom House was conceived by a consortium of Kazakh architects headed by Shokhan Mataibekov of the Union of Architects of Kazakhstan.

And it’s in the Kazakh capital city of Astana that Slalom House would be located.

Astana (the city was previously known as Akmola, Tslelinograd and a handful of other names before being named capital, literally, in 1997) is a fitting location for a 400-plus-unit housing complex with a shopping mall on the ground floor and a slalom course on its roof. With an annual average temperature that hovers just barely above the freezing mark and winters where minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit temps are par for the course, Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world behind Ulan Bator, Mongolia. (Ottawa previously held that second chilliest spot.)

Located smack dab in the middle of Kazakhstan amidst the vast Central Steppe, Astana is also exceptionally flat. Basically, it’s a city — a sports-obsessed one at that, with multiple ice hockey and soccer teams — boasting a winter sports-friendly climate but a winter sports-unfriendly terrain. As Mataibekov explained to CNN, it takes about four hours by car from Astana to reach the nearest ski slopes.

Nestled in the foothills of the Trans-lli Alatau mountains in the far southeast section of the country, Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital, sees most of the snow-centric sports action and has produced numerous champion skiers and winter sports athletes. Almaty was even in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics but narrowly lost the bid to Beijing.

With an estimated price tag of $70 million, Slalom House would bring year-round alpine skiing — snowboarding and likely sledding, too — to the heart of Astana while serving as a glistening new tourist attraction for a rapidly expanding economic hub located in the middle of nowhere.

And about that year-round part: While Astana’s long and brutal winters serve Slalom House well, the hill itself would be covered with Snowflex, “a synthetic material designed to simulate the slip and grip effects of real snow.” Thus, Slalom House’s slope would be skiable in the absence of precipitation and during the city’s fleeting balmy-ish months.


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