CopenHill, a waste-to-energy power plant topped with the first and only ski slope in Copenhagen, was a landmark project for Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) upon its opening in October 2019. Capable of converting 440,000 tons of waste annually into clean energy in the space beneath its 96,000-square-foot artificial ski terrain, the project’s unprecedented combination of clean energy and merriment was hailed as the Danish firm’s clearest example of what Ingels had defined as “hedonistic sustainability,” a design strategy in which sustainability “actually becomes the more fun, the more enjoyable alternative to what we know.”
Two years in, however, the ski surface of CopenHill, otherwise known as Amager Bakke, is showing signs of deterioration far quicker than anticipated. The website’s FAQ page was recently updated to address the apparently worn condition of its top layer, stating that “Fonden Amager Bakke [Amager Bakke Foundation], Fonden’s advisers and insurance company are in dispute over the finances of the replacement.” The Copenhagen Post wrote that “Renovation work will cost 9.5 million kroner [$1.07 million and can be completed by 2024—but the process is complicated by a dispute over liability between the Amager Bakke Foundation and insurance company Tryg, with whom it has liability insurance.” If Fonden Amager Bakke loses the case, they claim, the ski slope must close indefinitely.
A spokesperson from BIG, however, expressed more reassuring news to AN:
“We can confirm that there are discussions happening about the ski carpet, but the owner has ensured that the ski hill is definitely not going to be closed down for a longer period of time.”
CopenHill’s own website confirms this assertion, stating that “when the ski base needs to be replaced, it is done in smaller areas at a time. It will therefore not go beyond opening hours and you will continue to be able to ski in the areas that are not in the process of being replaced.”
Fonden Amager Bakke is currently requesting funds from the Amager Resource Center’s five owner municipalities to renovate the slope within four months, far sooner than the alternative three-year projection described by the Copenhagen Post. However the renovation unfolds, the “sustainability” half of the “hedonistic sustainability’” formula will continue unabated, delivering enough clean electricity and district heating for 150,000 homes.