22 January 2024

Development application approved for Penrith indoor winter sports arena

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Winter Sports World concept

Concept art of the planned Winter Sports World at Penrith. Image: WSW.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has approved a development application for a planned indoor winter sports arena and ski slope at Penrith in western Sydney.

The State Significant Development Application (SSDA) approval for Winter Sports World (WSW) was granted on 11 January, meaning a more detailed planning and engineering phase can now commence on the project.

The facility – nicknamed the giant Esky – is planned to have a 300 m advanced open ski run for experienced skiers and snowboarders, learn to ski runs, a dedicated winter wonderland snow play area, ice climbing and crevasse outdoor rock climbing, a 4.5-star 170-room hotel with conference and function rooms, and a restaurant and cafes with snow views.

It will be located on a 2.35 ha site located within the vibrant Riverlink Tourism Precinct off Jamison Road, adjacent to the Nepean River, Penrith Panthers Leagues Club and Cables Waterski Park.

WSW developer Peter Magnisalis described the approval as a huge relief.

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“For the first time in eight years, WSW is no longer a pie-in-the-sky dream but a real project and on course to bring the snowfields to Sydney,” he said.

“It has taken an enormous amount of work by a lot of talented and experienced people to get the project to this point,” he added. “It has been all-consuming for me personally for years now and will continue to be so. I can’t wait to get it built.”

The first planning proposal was submitted by Mr Magnisalis in June 2018, and the final approved proposal in December 2022.

He said negotiations were underway with suppliers and contractors for every facet of WSW including a construction company, snowmaking and lift specialists, restaurant and hotel operators, and artists and designers.

“Winter Sports World will use the best in the world for everything, so I am especially excited when I find the world’s best right on our doorstep,” he said.

“This project will definitely be a global enterprise. Our goal is for WSW to have the best quality snow in the world for an indoor snow resort.”

Winter Sports World concept

Concept art of the planned Winter Sports World at Penrith, looking east along Jamison Road. Image: WSW.

WSW’s stunning exterior architecture was designed by Sydney architecture firm Collins & Turner, who worked in consultation with a Connection with Country strategy with local First Nations artist Jamie Eastwood, landscape architecture firm JLA Landscape Architects, environmental design consultant and engineers Atelier Ten, facade and structural engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan and lighting design consultancy Electrolight.

The project has been designed to be net-zero carbon-ready by reducing embodied carbon, eliminating fossil fuel use on site, minimising energy use, supplying energy with onsite renewable sources, buying green power for remaining energy needs, and offsetting remaining emissions.

It is planned WSW will employ 1350 local tourism jobs, have more than a million visitors per year, and inject more than $220 million a year into the local economy.

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