SNØ brings winter sports indoors

Oslo region company is world’s largest year-round indoor winter sports facility

Photo: Johan Wildhagen / SNØ
SNØ is a six-story, 14,950-square-yards center offering year-round winter sports facility.

Rasmus Falck

The newly opened SNØ gives the Oslo region the world’s largest year-round indoor winter sports facility. The grand opening was on Jan. 15.

Photo: Johan Wildhagen / SNØ
With the snow-capped mountain as a backdrop, cross-country skiers attack one of the courses at the year-round indoor facility SNØ. The cross-country trail is 5.5 yards wide, with a trail for classic and a trail for skating.

“Snø” is the Norwegian word for snow, and skiing is the first love of most Norwegians. However, snow conditions around the capital can be infuriatingly inconsistent, so it was time to go indoors. Under its roof, the six-story SNØ center offers year-round winter sports facilities, including a 547-yard alpine slope with a width of nearly 100 yards and an angle of up to 22° and a 0.9-mile-long cross-country skiing loop.

There are four slalom slopes. You can choose between an alpine slope, a racing slope, the beginners area, and a freestyle park with rails and a ski jump. There are slopes for snowboarding and freeski. The cross-country trail is over 16 feet wide, with a trail for classic and a trail for skating. They also have a wind tunnel that allows for weightless ski training. The snow areas encompass 387,500 square feet. The temperature inside is 22-28 degrees Fahrenheit. Frustrating queues are kept to a minimum with modern ski lifts that move up to 5,000 people per hour. It is the first facility of its kind in the world. In addition to the snow areas, SNØ offers restaurants, cafes, a fitness center, and a conference facility that comprise another 134,500 square feet. 

In the surrounding areas, the Lørenskog Winter Park is being built with restaurants, hotels, apartments, shops, and a winter academy. There will also be areas developed for new housing. A new ski-in/ski-out-hotel is being built by hotel tycoon and Olav Thon. The new hotel will have the name Thon Hotel Snø and opens next year. The district will be called Snøporten. It is a short walk from the Lørenskog train station and 15-minute drive from Oslo.

SNØ is expecting 400,000 visitors this year, and everyone is welcome.

Photo: Johan Wildhagen / SNØ
The interior of SNØ with lounges, escalators and a view of the ski courses.

According to a fact sheet: “…this project is being described as one of the most innovative, commercial ones ever undertaken in Norway. The destination is built on a holistic idea to create an activity center with winter and snow experiences as the main focus.”

The introductory statement continues: “SNØ is an experience-based arena for anyone curious about or with a love for snow… SNØ shall not replace outdoor activities. Rather, on the contrary, we hope that more people get the opportunity to experience snow and the wonderful joy that lies in skiing and snow experiences.”

The investor group includes such well-known names as Selvaag Gruppen (41%), Canica (34%), Oslo Pension Insurance (9%), Bauman Invest (7%), Malling & Co Vinterparken (7%) and Lørenskog Municipal Pension Fund (2%).

There is an enormous potential for a winter-based business cluster. Some years from now, Snøporten hopes to be the world’s leading cluster for winter-based enterprises and sports. Igloo Innovation expects there will be both established companies and startups within the sports, sports technology, tourism, health, research, and education industries. The cluster as a vehicle for enterprise development is well documented. Developments will take place in line with Innovation Norway’s criteria for Global Center of Expertise.

Last fall, Igloo Innovation, and Norwegian Sport Tech (consisting of eight Norwegian companies) took part in the World Winter Sport EXPO in Beijing, with the purpose of building networks to secure an international position. The Winter Olympics 2022 are taking place in China. The country is investing NOK 1.2 trillion to become a winter sports nation. This means possibilities for Norway.

This article originally appeared in the February 7, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.