The proposal to establish Australia’s first year-round 
indoor snow resort – the $400 million Winter Sports World in Penrith, Western Sydney – has been given the tick of approval after an eight-year process.

Eight-metre-tall wooden message sticks will be one of the striking features of Australia’s proposed first indoor snow resort.

Set to be constructed in Penrith, Western Sydney, the proposal, which will see the establishment of a year-round snow resort has now been granted State Significant Development Application approval.

On 11 January 2024, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment granted the protracted project State Significant Development Application approval. Environa developed the original scheme over six years, receiving planning approval from the NSW government in December 2021. A subsequent competition to design the building’s facade resulted in the selection of a proposal by Collins and Turner.

The indoor snow resort will comprise a 300-metre advanced open run for skiers and snowboarders, as well as learn-to-ski runs and a dedicated winter wonder snow play area. The tourist attraction will also feature a dedicated competition venue for snow sports, spaces for ice climbing and crevasse outdoor rock climbing, dining options, and a 170-room hotel with conference and function rooms.

Kinetic lighting will illuminate the Jamison Road facade at night, creating the impression of a blizzard. Meanwhile, the public area and curved lower-level facade will be designed to look like melting ice, adding to the overall frosty aesthetic.

Currently the site of a 2.35-hectare horse paddock, the landscape will be transformed to include features such as water streams, pathway networks, landscaped plantings and eight-metre-tall wooden message sticks (one First Nations medium). Visually imitating mountains and melting ice, the message sticks will tell stories about First Nations people and their connections to Country.

Winter Sports World has been designed to generate net-zero carbon. To achieve this, the design team has incorporated rooftop and north-facing wall photovoltaic panels, which will be used to generate 50 percent of the resort’s energy. The remaining power will be drawn from solar, wind, and hydroelectric sources offsite, with any further emissions to be offset.

The project’s wider design team comprises First Nations artist Jamie Eastwood, JLA Landscape Architects, engineer Atelier Ten, and an environmental design consultant. Facade engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan and lighting designer Electrolight collaborated on the exterior design.

In early 2024, the project will enter a phase of detailed design and engineering development to prepare for construction. The first stage of construction will involve excavation works for the basement, which will house a large underground water tank for snowmaking as well as mechanical plant rooms, loading docks and a car park.

Peter Magnisalis, the property developer behind Winter Sports World, said the project will be technically challenging and highly complex: the first of its kind in Australia.

“We need to take the time in this crucial preparation stage to ensure we get the project right before it can start to rise above the ground,’’ Magnisalis said.