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Ski resort in pipeline for Saudi Arabia

Trojena sits at 2,600m above sea level in Saudi Arabia's highest mountain range.

A futuristic ski resort is under construction in Saudi Arabia, and not only that, it was recently awarded the 2029 Winter Asian Games.

The resort, known as 'Trojena', is billed by developers as a “new global destination for mountain tourism” and is located in Saudi Arabia’s highest mountain range. The ski resort is part of Neom, a multi-billion dollar development project in the north-western Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia.

Developers point out that while skiing is an experience never before offered in the desert climates of the Gulf, the mountainous region enjoys year-round temperatures around ten degrees lower than anywhere else in Saudi Arabia. Trojena sits at up to 2,600m above sea level where it will apparently benefit from sub zero temperatures at certain times of the year.

Trojena will open year-round from 2026, offering 30km of outdoor skiing tracks along with other adventure sports. Facilities will include a ski slope with a mix of grass and snow skiing, water sports on the manmade freshwater lake, mountain biking and a nature reserve.

Water sports will be available on Trojena's man-made lake.

Luxury family and wellness-oriented accommodation will feature apartments, chalets and hotels, some of which will be slopeside. A ‘vertical village’ is also planned containing six districts - Explore, Discover, Gateway, Valley, Relax and Fun.

Developers are keen to emphasise that environmentalism and ecology are at the heart of the project, but questions will inevitably be raised about the sustainability of developing a ski resort in one of the most arid areas of the world. According to climatological database WorldData, average temperatures in the kingdom have risen by two degrees in the last 30 years, while precipitation in the country is under 150mm a year. This compares to 1,110mm of rainfall a year in Sapporo, one of Japan's most popular ski areas.

“Trojena will be an important addition to tourism in the region, a unique example of how Saudi Arabia is creating destinations based on its geographical and environmental diversity,” said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also chairman of the NEOM company board of directors. “This forward-thinking vision will ensure that mountain tourism will be another revenue stream to support the Kingdom’s economic diversification while still preserving its natural resources for future generations.”

This is the first time an Arabic-speaking country has hosted a winter sporting event.

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