This winter, 64-year-old Australian inventor Kevin Ferris will oversee the groundbreaking in Dalian, China, for a massive indoor ski dome that promises the world's first endless run.
Dubbed the Ski-Trac, the $200-million, 12-story indoor ski palace will house a 2,500-ton, snow-covered tilted slope that revolves on a bed of air created by giant opposable magnets. The slope will revolve beneath skiers at 18 miles per hour, allowing them to carve uninterrupted turns till closing time—without a single ride on a chairlift. "This will redefine skiing as we know it," says Ferris, before hedging ever so slightly. "Well, I do believe it will become the standard indoors."
To date, no Ski-Trac domes are slated for construction stateside. That's just fine with the likes of freeskier Kristen Ulmer who says she'd still rather freeze for 20 minutes on a relic like Mad River Glen's diesel-powered single chair than spend eight hours cruising a stale twirling mall that never rises above a 15-degree angle. "It's cool that you don't have to ride the chairlift—you could just hang out, pant, and next thing you know you're at the top," she says. "But isn't that about the same as riding a lift?"