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Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is Building a $500 Billion Ski Resort in the Desert


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is building a multi-billion-dollar skiresort in the desert because, of course he is. Dubbed Trojena, this latest addition to the country’s architectural portfolio is part of the futuristic megacity of Neom in the Sararwat mountains, which are approximately 2,600 metres above sea level. Set to be completed in 2026, the travel destination is touted to be 33 times larger than the bustling metropolis of New York City. Take that, Empire Staters.

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“Trojena will redefine mountain tourism for the world by creating a place based on the principles of ecotourism, highlighting our efforts to preserve nature and enhance the community’s quality of life,” the Crown Prince said in a statement.

“It 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.”

For those who might not be aware of the Crown Prince’s previous endeavours, let’s say that he is no stranger to pushing boundaries. He has already embarked on ambitious projects such as building a 170 km straight-line city and an eight-sided city that floats on water. Oh, and he’s also led a massive coup against professional golf in his spare time. These projects have already put Saudi Arabia on the map as a hub of innovation (among other things), and Trojena is set to continue this legacy.

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

This latest project will offer year-round outdoor skiing, a wellness resort, and an interactive nature reserve, among other activities. The highlight of Trojena will be The Vault, a folded vertical village designed to “connect the physical and digital worlds.” According to Neom’s website, the man-made carved village will include “bespoke experiences where reality and imagination are combined”, although there were few details on the specifics.

Trojena’s executive director Philip Gullett, a Brit, said: “In a way, it’s similar in concept to The Line, in that it’s concentrating that vertical village or city in one place, minimising the land take – and maximising walkability – rather than spreading all those elements out across a large space.”

Adding an extra touch of “natural” beauty, the tourism destination will feature a man-made lake, spanning three kilometres and brimming with fresh water.

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

According to a press release, Trojena has set its sights on welcoming 700,000 visitors and 7,000 permanent residents by 2030. The project is expected to significantly boost the Saudi economy, with an estimated contribution of 3 billion riyals ($800 million) and the creation of 10,000 jobs. Furthering its legitimacy, the middle eastern nation announced that it had won the right to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at the resort.

While many have praised the plans, Trojena has been trashed by some architects online. “For years they said ‘you can’t build a futuristic folded-vertical village’ and we believed them. Look at us now,” one architect quipped.

“Oh man, Nintendo gonna sue you so hard for ripping off Rainbow Road,” said another, equating the folded city to the iconic Mario Kart track.

“Is Neom not a perfectly straight line anymore. What happened to the Neom of my youth,” an architecture grad joked.

The Wall Street Journal detailed in 2021 that the excessive grandeur and massive scale of Neom’s projects were causing its workers to leave. To address this, city planners suggested a more straightforward plan for a zero-carbon city to the crown prince. However, it is reported that the Saudi Arabian leader replied, “I want to build my pyramids.”

The Pharoah loved skiing, right?

Check it out

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

Trojena Neom Saudi Arabia

Image: NEOM

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