AviationFor the first time, Asian Winter Games will be hosted in a hot clime nation amid deserts and mountains.

Winter is coming to Saudi Arabia with the 2029 Asian Winter Games

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The 2029 Asian Winter Games will take place at Saudi Arabia's upcoming $500 billion city.
The 2029 Asian Winter Games will take place at Saudi Arabia's upcoming $500 billion city. Photo Credit: Trojena

“The deserts and mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for winter sports [at] Trojena, NEOM City,” announced the 41st General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in Phnom Penh on 4 October.

A first for the Asian Winter Games (AWG) to have a West Asian nation host, Saudi Arabia was “unanimously approved” to host the games in 2029, set to take place at its $500 billion futuristic NEOM City in the northwest of the country.

Quoted by OCA, Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC) president Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the “achievement shed light on the enormous potential and the outstanding infrastructure of Saudi Arabia to host and organise international-level sports competitions and Games successfully.”

Saudi alpine skier Fayik Abdi and ice hockey player Sadeem Al Tuhami, who were among the Saudi delegates, were overjoyed by the announcement as they never thought winter games were a possibility in their country.

“Now I’m looking forward to the Asian Winter Games at home,” said Fayik, who took part in the Beijing Winter Olympics this year.

NEOM City, broken into three segments – Trojena, The Line and Oxagon – covers an area of 26,500 square kilometres.

Fully powered by renewable energy, the city is apparently 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the Gulf countries.

On its website, Trojena is said to be located in the centre of NEOM, about 50km from the Gulf of Aqaba coast, on a mountainous region with the country’s highest peak around 2,600 metres above sea level.

Made up of six districts, it is touted as Saudi’s new “year-round tourist destination” for winter games, featuring outdoor skiing and adventure sports, with a ski village and ski slopes, as well as watersports and mountain biking on the rugged terrain.

The area would also house “ultra-luxury family and wellness resorts”, retail stores and restaurants and an interactive nature reserve. The project is set for completion by 2026.

The development of Trojena would “redefine mountain tourism” for the world by creating a place based on the principles of ecotourism, said Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM.

“This forward-looking vision will ensure that mountain tourism will be another revenue stream to support the Kingdom’s economic diversification while still preserving its natural resources for future generations,” he added.

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