Copenhagen has just opened a new waste-to-energy power plant that includes a ski slope. Copenhill, which took six years to build, also features a massive green space, a playground, and a climbing wall.

The Danish capital, which is aiming to be carbon neutral by the year 2030, has constructed a green mountain, also known as Amager Bakke, that will convert trash into electricity for the city. It also delivers hot water to nearby homes as radiant heating, providing power to nearly 98% of the city’s homes across five municipalities.


The plant, which was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and design firm SLA, will provide a multiuse attraction for locals and visitors. Featuring Denmark’s highest vertical ski drop, the world’s tallest climbing wall, and a massive green space that will be home to countless birds, bees, trees, and plants, the space is a marvel of modern design and sustainability.

Considering that waste plants are often massive monstrosities, the Bjarke Ingels Group, which has recently unveiled Norway’s The Twist and France’s MÉCA, chose to improve on the waste management concept with a space that blends in with its surroundings and provides other services beyond energy production.

"The goal is to ensure that [the park] will become an eventful recreational public space with a strong aesthetic and sensuous city nature that gives value for all Copenhageners all year round," says Rasmus Astrup, a partner at design firm SLA, which collaborated on the project.

While the plant quietly generates electric power, visitors can enjoy trail runs through the lush 170,000-square-foot park and climb the world’s tallest artificial rock wall. The slope, which ascends 246 feet, has become Denmark’s highest vertical ski drop. Its small synthetic bristles provide the right amount of friction and glide to resemble snow, making it a next-generation ski experience.

"[The facility] is a green bomb," Astrup says. "The rooftop’s nature is designed to attract and shelter a wide selection of birds, bees, butterflies, and insects, which in itself will mean a dramatic increase in the biodiversity of the area."

The $635 million project, which was funded entirely by the city of Copenhagen, is one of several sustainable initiatives. Organic food makes up 24% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, which is the highest in Denmark. In addition, 88% of the food consumption in the City of Copenhagen’s public institutions, such as daycare centers, nursing homes and schools, is organic. The city is also famous for bicycles, which locals ride in the sun, rain or snow. Even top politicians are known for riding their bikes every day to parliament.

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In 2014, Copenhagen was chosen as the European Green Capital due to the clean waters of the city’s harbor baths, its sustainable hotels, organic restaurants, and availability of electric city bikes.