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Copenhagen Turns Mountain of Waste Into Sport

A woman skis on Copenhill, a skiing slope atop a waste treatment plant open to the public in Copenhagen, Denmark February 12, 2019. (Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS)
Copenhagen Turns Mountain of Waste Into Sport
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What do you do with the mountain of waste that a major city produces? It is a continuing question. And, Copenhagen – the capital of Denmark – has come up with an answer. Ski on it!

The waste is inside Copenhill, a waste treatment factory 10 minutes from the center of the city. The main building is a futuristic-looking structure 85 meters high. It includes a long hill from the top of the building to the ground. The hill is covered in a material called “neveplast” creating a snowless ski slope.

“I think everybody is surprised to start with when they look at it and it’s not snow,” said Christian Ingels, the director at Copenhill.

He said that, after one or two tries on the neveplast hill, “you feel exactly like skiing.”

Danish designer Bjarke Ingels designed the place – an important step in Copenhagen’s aim of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. He wanted to build a waste treatment factory that local people are happy to see in their neighborhood. It seems to be working.

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Visiting skier Pelle Hansen said being able to ski in the middle of a city is a wonderful experience.

Instead of “having to go six, seven, eight or ten hours” to a ski area, “you can be here in ten minutes,” he said.

The factory will also burn waste from about 600,000 homes and 68,000 businesses to produce electricity. Some of the other waste will be recycled.

The company began in 2017 and the sports area will open permanently this spring. The ski slopes will stay open throughout the year.

“It’s fantastic that one can ski without snow,” said visitor Tommy Christensen. “It’s a…different experience than skiing in real snow, but it’s my second run and I’ll try it again. It looks promising.”

I’m Alice Bryant.

Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen reported this story for Reuters news agency. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

ski – v. to move or glide on skis over snow or water

slope – n. an area of land on a mountain that is used for skiing

carbon-neutral – adj. making no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

recycle – v. to send used newspapers, bottles, cans, etc. to a place where they are made into something new

fantastic – adj. extremely good