Copenhagen is magical in the winter. Between its Christmas markets and restaurants flickering with hygge candlelight, it’s one of our favorite cities in which to cozy up in the colder months. But the extremely flat city is not known as a winter sports destination—unless you consider cycling in the snow one. That’s all about to change now that CopenHill, a waste-to-energy plant topped with a ski slope, is open to the public.
Also known as Amager Bakke in Danish, CopenHill is being heralded as a landmark of “hedonistic sustainability” by its designers—the Bjarke Ingels Group—that mixes entertainment for the public with Copenhagen’s goal of being the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025.
“CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG, in a statement. “[It is] a crystal clear example of Hedonistic Sustainability—that a sustainable city is not only better for the environment—it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.”
Inside the silver-toned building that looms about 328 feet above the eastern edge of the city, waste is burned and its exhaust is turned into energy that provides Copenhagen with central heating for 72,000 households and electricity for 30,000 households.
On the rooftop, which is officially open to the public as of Friday, October 4, the public can pay to ski or snowboard down the 1,476-foot-long ski slope made from a material called neveplast. While it looks green, the dry-slope material can be skied on with regular equipment and is meant to have the same feel as skiing on real snow year-round.
There are four lifts to take people to the top of the summit, and different areas for people to ski. The very top of the slope is a designated black run for expert skiers, while the middle is marked blue for intermediate skiers. The lower part of the “mountain” is green for beginners and children.
But that’s not all. In addition to a 1,607-foot-long hiking trail that runs up the side of the ski slope to the top of the building, there’s also a 279-foot-high climbing wall. If you get hungry while you’re out there, there’s also an après-ski bar at the bottom of the building and a restaurant at its top that will offer healthy Danish food (and unfettered views of the city, too, we imagine).
How do you get to CopenHill?
CopenHill is just east of the up-and-coming Refshaleøen neighborhood, where the new Noma is located. To get to CopenHill, take the metro to the Christianshavn Street stop and then take either the 37 Bus to the Amagerværket stop or the 9A Bus to the Lynetten stop. From either stop, it’s less than a 10-minute walk to CopenHill.
CopenHill is open every day of the week starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, 12 p.m. on all other weekdays, and 10 a.m. on weekends. The ski hill stays open most nights until 8 p.m., with the exception of Wednesday, Friday, and Saturdays, when it stays open until 10 p.m.
How much does it cost to ski CopenHill?
Locals can purchase a season pass that includes unlimited skiing during weekends and weekdays for 2,495 Danish krone (DKK) or US$367. There are also weekday memberships that cost 1,495 DKK (US$219).
For visitors who want to pay by the hour while they are visiting Copenhagen, the hourly rate for adults is 150 DKK (US$22) per hour and 105 DKK (US$15) per hour for children under 10 years old. Guests of all ages who don’t pay for an annual unlimited membership still must pay a mandatory membership fee and daily insurance fee for a total of 220 DKK (US$32) per hour for adults and 175 DKK (US$26) per hour for children.
Rental equipment is also available for visitors who don’t want to travel with their ski gear. Ski or snowboard packages complete with boots, poles, and helmet start at 150 DKK for one hour and go up to 600 DKK (US$88) for a full-day rental. Children’s gear packages range from 120 to 500 DKK (US$18–$73).
>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Copenhagen