You Can Ski All Year Round at Denmark’s New Power Plant

You Can Ski All Year Round at Denmark’s New Power Plant

By Duncan Nielsen
Copenhagen just cut the ribbon on a new waste-to-energy power plant—and you can ski down it.

After six years of construction, Copenhill is now open for business. It’s a ski slope, a massive green space, a playground, and a climbing wall—but mostly it doubles down on Copenhagen’s goal of going carbon neutral by the year 2030.

The fabricated green mountain—also known as Amager Bakke—is a waste-to-energy power plant that converts trash into electricity for the city. It also pumps water warmed by that process to nearby homes as radiant heating—and it will serve nearly 98% of Copenhagen’s homes across five municipalities.

Copenhill uses Copenhagen’s trash to produce electricity and radiant heating. 

The plant—designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and design firm SLA—is a multiuse attraction for locals and visitors alike. It features Denmark’s highest vertical ski drop, the world’s tallest climbing wall, and a massive green space that hosts birds, bees, trees, and plants.

Waste facilities are often eyesores, but Bjarke Ingels Group—who this year alone unveiled Norway’s The Twist and France’s MÉCA—partnered with design firm SLA on a waste management concept that ties into the waterfront. 

"The goal is to ensure that [the park] will become an eventful recreational public space with a strong aesthetic and sensuous city nature that gives value for all Copenhageners all year round," says Rasmus Astrup, a partner at design firm SLA. 

A skier gives the power plant a test run.

A hiker tests out the trails that lead to Copenhill’s summit. Designing a facility that could both provide energy to the city and act as a green space posed inherent challenges, but the result is certainly impressive.

As the power plant quietly generates electricity, visitors can go on trail runs through the verdant 170,000-square-foot park, ski down a rainbow of synthetic bristles, climb the world’s tallest artificial rock wall—or all of the above. At 246 feet, the slope is now Denmark’s highest vertical ski drop.

The slope itself is a big green mat comprised of small synthetic bristles that provide the right combination of friction and glide to behave like snow.

Glass windows allow plenty of light to enter the facility. 

The waste-to-energy plant towers above the surrounding landscape.  

"[The facility] is a green bomb," Astrup says. "The rooftop’s nature is designed to attract and shelter a wide selection of birds, bees, butterflies, and insects," he says, "which in itself will mean a dramatic increase in the biodiversity of the area."

The $635 million project was paid for by the city of Copenhagen. 

Related Reading:

This Copenhagen Rooftop Renovation Embodies the Future of Urban Design 

This Curving Prefab in Copenhagen Contains 66 Affordable Apartments 

Mountain Dwellings Urban Development in Copenhagen

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