Extreme sports complex at Sheffield's Ski Village 'could become global tourist attraction'

EXTREME Destination chief executive Alistair Gosling at the Ski Village site (Scott Merrylees)
EXTREME Destination chief executive Alistair Gosling at the Ski Village site (Scott Merrylees)
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Sheffield's Ski Village has the potential to become a global tourist attraction, says the man hoping to transform it into a £22.5 million extreme sports destination.

Indoor skydiving, surfing and eSports are just some of the new activities which could draw visitors to the venue at Parkwood Springs, overlooking the city centre, under plans unveiled yesterday.

Sheffield's Ski Village as it looks now (EXTREME Destination)

Sheffield's Ski Village as it looks now (EXTREME Destination)

The ski slopes and mountain bike tracks would be restored, potentially reopening as early as 2019, with restaurants, bars, shops and a hotel or themed lodges also planned for the 48-acre plot, encompassing the Ski Village site and surrounding land.

Some housing could be built to help fund the huge new leisure complex, though the team behind the plans says it is not talking about a huge number of new homes.

EXTREME Destinations, which runs events and has an extreme sports channel available in 68 countries, heads up the consortium which was chosen as Sheffield Council's preferred developer following a lengthy bidding process.

Alistair Gosling, the company's chief executive, described having such a large site ripe for hosting extreme sports so close to a city centre as a unique opportunity and said he was excited to work with the council to help sell Sheffield as the 'Outdoor City'.

The developers hope to transform the derelict site into a mecca for extreme sports (EXTREME Destination)

The developers hope to transform the derelict site into a mecca for extreme sports (EXTREME Destination)

"If we can deliver the extreme sports destination we hope to, we believe we can bring in tourists from around the world," he said.

Mr Gosling said detailed plans were yet to be drawn up but the company is considering 25 different activities and plans to host competitions, festivals and other events throughout the year.

He described Sheffield as a 'buzzing' city, comparing the vibe in Kelham Island, which is a short stroll from the Ski Village, to that of a mini LA.

The Ski Village has lain derelict since being destroyed by fire in 2012.

The council says the development would initially create 100 new full-time jobs, with the potential for more in future.

It hopes to harness EXTREME's global reach and army of ambassadors, including snowboarder Jamie Nicholls and skier Rowan Cheshire, to promote the city as a mecca for extreme sports fans.

EXTREME and its partner Continuum Attractions will now work with the council to draw up detailed plans for the site before submitting a planning application.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business, said: "Bringing Sheffield ski village and the surrounding area back into use as part of a truly global package of sports facilities, hotels and other leisure pursuits is a fantastic outcome for the team at Sheffield Council that has worked to secure a preferred developer with EXTREME’s experience in delivering leisure-based schemes for many years.

"There's still plenty of work to do but by appointing our preferred developer we are one step closer to bringing the much-loved ski village back into use."

EXTREME runs events and has an online sports channel operating in 68 countries. Existing projects the firm is working on include a proposed new race track in Wales, and Grimsby Town FC's planned new stadium, which would include an ice rink.

Continuum Attractions' UK offerings include the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, the Emmerdale Studio Experience in Leeds, and York's Chocolate Story.