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Wednesday September 28, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The man behind the development of XScape in Milton Keynes and the Chill Factore in Manchester has been appointed General Manager of Africa's first indoor snow centre.

David Sterland, a businessman and ski instructor, recently took up his post at Ski Egypt on the outskirts of Cairo. 

It is scheduled to open in March 2017.

David is a qualified Level 2 BASI Instructor and a Ski Club of Great Britain leader. 

David SterlandDavid Sterland




















Along with a colleague, he came up with the concept for XScape - for the first time siting an artificial snow ski slope, shops and entertainment venues together under one roof.

His company, Extreme Cool Ltd, went on to establish the Chill Factore. 

Now his expertise will be used at Egypt's first indoor centre,  which will be housed in a massive new retail and leisure complex, the Mall of Egypt. 

Ski Egypt Mall of Egypt ConstructionUnder construction














Mall of Egypt impression - Majid al Futtaim Impression of Mall of Egypt including Ski Egypt












It is the first indoor snow centre on the African continent but is just the latest to be built in the Middle East, with more to come.

In July, Snow City opened in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.

Snow City Indoor centre in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaSnow in Riyadh














There are also proposals for centres in Abu Dhabi and Oman.

The biggest of the lot is planned for Dubai, where the Meydan One development will be home to Dubai's second indoor ski centre. 

This one will boast a 1.2km slope - three times the length of the slope at the existing Ski Dubai. 

Meydan City Corporation promotional image of indoor ski slopeMeydan City Corporation promotional image













Most of the snow centres in the region focus on "snow play" rather than sport.

Ski Egypt will be no different but David Sterland says that, as Cairo is relatively cosmopolitan, it could attract more budding skiers and snowboarders than the other centres in the region.

Before he left to take up his post, he told PlanetSKI that the prospect of running the venture was too appealing to turn down.  

"The fact that it's a new centre, the challenge to get it open and make it a centre of excellence and to bring skiing and snow play to a new clientele," he said.

"Egypt does not have a culture of skiing - that's why snow play is so important.  There's obviously a big market there."

His ski instructors will be Egyptian nationals, as required by the law.

They have been trained by the Snowsports Academy Austria at the indoor slope in Dubai.

Ski Egypt instructors in DubaiSki Egypt team in Dubai
















David said he had no fears for his safety in a volatile region.

"When they first approached me, I looked up the Foreign Office advice," he told us.

"Cairo and central Egypt is fine.  Having talked to people, the potential dangers are exaggerated by the press.

"You are probably just as much at risk - given what's been happening in Europe - in London.  I am not concerned."

Ski Egypt is owned by the Majid al Futtaim conglomerate which built Ski Dubai, the first snow resort to be established in the region. 

It has been hugely successful as a centre for snow play, and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015.

Ski Dubai has a luge track, a zip wire, and offers rides on the chairlift for non-skiers.

Luge at Ski DubaiGoing down




















Ski Dubai zip wireGoing down















Chair lift rides at Ski DubaiGoing up















That's not the half of it.

There are now REAL penguins to visit - and swim with.

Penguins at Ski DubaiDubai penguins















And this summer, they introduced Friday night sleepovers - camping out on the snow.  That's one way to keep cool!

Camping on the snow at Ski DubaiFriday night sleepover















The company behind Ski Dubai will be hoping to repeat its success at Ski Egypt, with David Sterland at the helm.

We wish him luck.

Mall of Egypt night viewMall of Egypt













Photos of Mall of Egypt and Ski Dubai c/o Majid al Futtaim

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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