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Ice work

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As global warming makes the chances of outdoor skiing in the UK increasingly remote, technology has provided a solution in balmy Milton Keynes.

Xscape Milton Keynes centres around an indoor ski slope. Designed by FaulknerBrowns with structural engineer Mitchell McFarlane & Partners, the dramatic-looking building is actually a very simple shape - a slice taken from a cylinder at almost 10 degrees to the horizontal. The building is 240m long and rises to 145m at the highest point of the gable end. From there the ski slope descends at angles of between 15 and 18 degrees towards ground level. Its width varies between 40 and 60m, and these variations in slope and width allow space for both proficient and novice skiers.

The ski slope is within an insulated area which is kept at -6 degrees C to maintain the piste surface. Surface snow is brushed down to a pit and replaced with fresh snow on a regular basis.

The complex also houses shops, a multiplex cinema, ten-pin bowling and a health and fitness centre with a pool, bars, a cafe and restaurants.

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