07/23/08 12:35pm

Diagrams of Proposed Snow Mountain Indoor Ski Resort, Houston

It’s difficult to imagine anything more perfect for 21st-century coastal Texas than this: A 2.7-million-sq.-ft. self-contained year-round indoor ski resort on a 21-acre site . . . on the “outskirts” of Houston.

Some details on this proposed development are available on the website of S333, an architecture firm based in the Netherlands. The firm’s London office has worked hard to pack hotels, indoor water parks, “extensive recreation areas,” a parking garage, retail space, timeshare apartments, and five separate ski slopes into what appears in the company’s drawings to be an 18-story terrace-roofed megastructure.

Inside the building, the different ski slopes and play areas are arranged side by side to form a continuous landscape of snow surfaces. New advances in scenography, acoustics and building technologies will be employed to create the ultimate feeling of ‘still being outside’ on a mountain.

The external shape and form of the building continues the landscape theme that is established in the building’s interior. The rising geometry of the ski slopes is extended as a series of stepped terraces. These terraces accommodate on one side private apartments and gardens, and on the other more public amenities such as restaurant, pavillions, gardens, terraces and a central water park of pools and weirs. The water cascades down the roof and links with the water feature at the centre of the leisure complex. This iconic landscape will attract attention to the site, brand the location and help establish a dramatic back-drop to the lake and water-side retail facilities.

More details and drawings below:


04/13/07 9:48am

Rendering of Proposed Coolzone Winterplex Park

Here’s the concept: a 20-story mountain for skiing and snowboarding, surrounded by a pseudo-Alpine village. Gondolas carry skiers from the mountain to a ski lodge.

Skiers and snowboarders would slide down the mountain on a slippery carpeted surface called Snowflex, which imitates the properties of snow. A misting system embedded in the carpet surface maintains its slipperiness.

Snowflex is a multilayered hydrogenated (yes, hydrogenated) white mat developed in Great Britain. Think Astroturf for snowboards. The park

. . . would also feature ice skating on a synthetic surface that requires no refrigeration, luge rides on a synthetic-ice surface and a field of manmade snow for playing.

Mist-blowing fans would cool the area by about 20 degrees.

Sounds pretty exciting, huh? Well, we were just kidding about the Astrodome part. This thing isn’t headed for Houston at all. It’s called the Coolzone Winterplex, and it’s proposed for Fort Worth, on about 150 acres of yet-to-be-determined prairie: “the world’s first year-round, indoor-outdoor winter sports theme park.”

With all those compound-adjective qualifiers, you can guess there are probably already several indoor or outdoor or partial-season parks like this somewhere.