Are giant hamster wheels the future of skiing?

 Snowtunnel Melbourne
(Image credit: Snowtunnel Technology)

Ever felt like your life is going round in circles? One ambitious Australian company is hoping that you might not necessarily find that a bad thing. If you like skiing, then giant hamster wheels could be the new alternative to dry slopes if you don’t have access to real snow.

Snowtunnel Technologies has recently unveiled its R&D prototype Snowtunnel, the “biggest rideable full pipe in the world”. Over three stories high, it’s been built by a busy road in Melbourne, but it is not open to the public.

It uses real water to create an ice and snow surface. According the company's website, “Water is sprayed in metered amounts around the internal surface of the tunnel to form a series of distinct layers of snow crystals, which are built up and groomed to form layers of snow similar to man-made snow you’d find at a modern snow resort.

“Then we utilize our proprietary ability to create sub-zero ambient temperatures inside the tunnel to make man-made powder snow, providing a top layer of fluffy white stuff to float over or carve. You’ll be surprised how dry the powder snow is!”

Here’s a vid showing the snow being created.

Snowtunnel even reckons it can make dry powder snow fall from the sky while the wheel is being ridden, and it can rotate at varying speeds to cope with different levels of skiing skills. It even provides a learning bar for complete novices.

The company clearly has big plans, with promos images and vids showing huge three-tunnel installations that they’re willing to build anywhere suitable ( )in the world, if they find the right backers and partners. They’re currently inviting enquires if you own a “Surf Wave Pool, Standing Wave Venue, Indoor Snow Field, Ski Resort, Amusement or Theme Park, Water Park, Cruise Ship, Shopping Center, Ice Skating Rink, Corporate HQ, Universities, or even if you want one set up in your own backyard.”

You just need a spare 300m² (3,200ft²) of land for the single tunnel setup, or up to 1,200m² (12,900ft²) for a triple tunnel setup, plus access to clean water and thee-phase power. And presumably a lot of money.

So if you fancy leaving the rat race to act like a hamster instead, here’s your chance. Whether it’s a serious alternative to dry slopes or a massive (though genuinely impressive) gimmick/folly remains to be seen.