inside the snowy mountain tourist destination of saudi arabia

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Trojena, the proposed mountain tourist destination that will be part of Saudi Arabia’s Neom megaproject, will host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.

The kingdom is set to become the first nation in West Asia to host the games, with more than 32 countries expected to take part.

“This achievement highlights Saudi Arabia’s enormous potential and outstanding infrastructure to successfully host and stage international-level sports competitions and games,” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The project was launched in March by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who called it “a unique example of how Saudi Arabia creates destinations based on its geographical and environmental diversity”.

Trojena will be the first major outdoor ski destination in the GCC when it is completed in 2026.

Located in the kingdom’s highest mountain range, it is part of the $500 billion Neom megacity in Tabuk, northwest Saudi Arabia. The cooler climate of the region makes possible the prospect of skiing in a country more closely associated with the desert. Winter temperatures often drop below 0°C in Tabuk and are on average about 10°C cooler than the rest of the country for the rest of the year.

Trojena is designed to attract visitors, vacationers and winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Project planners have divided the project into distinct neighborhoods and expect to attract different types of tourists at different times of the year.

September to November is expected to be wellness season when yoga retreats, alternative medicine summits and artist residencies take place.

December to March is the winter season and the ideal time for a host of snow sports.

Between March and May, the adventure season will attract those interested in outdoor activities such as high altitude training, mountain biking, rock climbing and paragliding.

And, the summer months will become lake season when the area hosts food festivals, light shows, art fairs, and other cultural events.

Ski slopes, snowboarding and a lively village

The futuristic year-round destination will consist of six different neighborhoods: Gateway, Discover, Valley, Explore, Relax and Fun.

It is billed as a place where both professional and amateur skiers can hit the slopes, with runs of varying difficulty dotted around the mountain peaks, which peak at 2,600 meters above sea level.

For après-ski vibes, there will be a village on the mountain where visitors can find shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Journeys to Trojena will begin in The Vault – a futuristic vertical village nestled in the mountains where, according to the developers, advanced architecture and technology “brings reality into the virtual world”.

Skiers and snowboarders can zip through the mountain range and take in views of the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, the Red Sea and distant desert dunes.

An artificial lake and ultra-luxury resorts

Trojena will be a year-round tourist destination with an artificial lake, mountain biking, water sports and more.  Photo: Neom

In addition to winter sports, Trojena will have a nature reserve, hiking routes, mountain bike trails and water sports that will take place on a vast reservoir.

Visitors will be able to check in to ultra-luxury wellness resorts and high-end family hotels, including The Bow Hotel, which is considered “an architectural masterpiece”.

The developers say the destination is built with the environment in mind. The design and construction will follow Neom’s environmental principles, including minimizing disturbance to the local ecology and ensuring long-term sustainability. Tourist attractions will be made to coexist harmoniously with their surrounding natural landscape.

The coolest place in the kingdom to live

Trojena will open in 2026 as part of Neom, Saudi Arabia's futuristic megalopolis.  Photo: Neom

Trojena will also be a new event destination in Saudi Arabia. An annual calendar will feature a variety of sports, arts, music and cultural festivals in the region.

The destination will not be reserved only for vacationers. It will also be one of the coolest places in the kingdom to live, with over 7,000 permanent residents expected to move there by 2030.

For those who want to live in the heart of the action, the Slope Residences are built close to the Trojena ski slope and will be designed to blend into the mountainous surroundings. Each luxury unit will offer unparalleled access to winter sports as well as breathtaking views of the lake below.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the snowfall in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia

A version of this article first appeared on March 4, 2022

Updated: October 07, 2022, 06:55

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