In the new city of Neom, in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia, there will be a winter sports area, ready for the 2029 Asian Winter Games.
- The 2029 Asian Winter Games have been awarded to Saudi Arabia which will organize them in a new megacity built in the desert.
- Inside the city of Neom there will be an outdoor ski slope, an artificial lake and a nature reserve.
- Inside also The Line district, a linear residential area 170 km long. Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s expansion plans continue in the Saudi desert.
To ski on the snow in the desert: that’s what will happen in 2029 in Saudi Arabia after the Asian nation was chosen to host the Asian Winter Games 2029. The event will take place in a futuristic megacity still under construction which will be called Neom. In the desert. The project, of 500 billion dollars, also includes a linear technology district dubbed “The Line” and will feature a year-round winter sports resort, called Trojena. Despite the awarding of the Games, international architects and economists questioned the feasibility of the huge project.
Winter Games in Saudi Arabia
“The deserts and mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon become a playground for winter sports,” the Olympic Council of Asia said after taking the decision at a general meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Saudi proposal was unanimously approved, the statement read, noting that the Neom megacity will be the first city in Western Asia to host the event. The games will take place between February and March in Trojena area, purpose built within Neom.
Nadhmi al-Nasr, chief executive of Neom, told The Guardian newspaper: “Trojena will be equipped with adequate infrastructure to creating the winter mood in the heart of the desert and to make these Winter Games an unprecedented global event.” Eight editions of the Games have been held so far, the last one in 2017 in Sapporo in Japan. Among the disciplines on the program are: alpine skiing, ice hockey, curling, biathlon and skating.
Doubts about Neom
Neom is the most ambitious project of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of the Saudi kingdom’s Vision 2030 development plan, which also aims to reduce dependence on oil and transform the economy, also developing sport. Neom will be located in Tabuk province on the Red Sea and will include the CO2-neutral city The Linedeveloped precisely in length.
According to the words of the local government, i residents will enjoy all the useful services to meet daily needswithin a five-minute walk, while also having access to other perks like outdoor ski facilities and a high-speed rail.
The extravagance of the project and the constant expansions over the past five years have led some analysts to wondering if Neom will ever be able to populate. “With little access to the site and eight years after the residents moved, there is a lot to think about,” said a consultant who works closely with the Saudi government. THE critics accuse Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of greenwashing. Certainly the organization of the 2029 Asian Winter Games places Saudi Arabia in the spotlight, but one wonders what the real environmental and climate impact of the event will be.
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