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Friday, 29 March, 2002, 12:02 GMT
Gerbeau supports Snowdonia ski plan
Proposed ski dome
The proposed dome would include a rotating slope
The former chief executive of London's Millennium Dome has given his backing to plans for a 160m indoor skiing super-dome in north Wales.

Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, now in charge of the Snozone in Milton Keynes, believes the Snowdonia Gateway project in Gwynedd has the potential to succeed.

Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
P-Y Gerbeau: Supports plan
Developers are proposing to build the dome over an area the size of 10 football pitches in a former quarry a mile outside the Snowdonia National Park.

It would house an innnovative rotating slope and an artificial snow-making system for indoor skiing, bobsledding, ice-skating and tobogganing.

"I am always a big enemy of the sceptics who say it can't happen," said Mr Gerbeau.

"First of all, it is a very exciting project and technologically, I think I'm fascinated.

"I am going to say sad things about what you have to achieve but, before that, I think the idea is fascinating."

Community project

The Milton Keynes slope that Mr Gerbeau is currently involved with is 175m long and uses real snow, but the Snowdonia project is far more sophisticated.

And it is claimed the development, which also includes plans for a 400-bed hotel, could create 700 full-time jobs in a hard-hit area of north Wales's economy.

Gwyn Pritchard, Snowdonia Gateway
Gwyn Pritchard, Snowdonia Gateway
"We're trying to do this as a community-type project," said Snowdonia Gateway's Gwyn Pritchard.

"The hotels will benefit, the local shops will benefit, the Electric Railway, Snowdonia and Caernarfon Castle - all these will benefit from the extra inflow of people brought in."

Snowdonia Gateway is a consortium of six local businesses and an overseas firm.

Gwynedd's former Glyn Rhonwy quarry, which is a mile outside the national park, is one of many sites under consideration for the scheme.

When the plans were revealed, a spokesman said they needed to push forward with planning permission soon as other sites were under consideration, including one in Sheffield.

BBC Wales's Miles Fletcher
"P-Y Gerbeau has been following the plans for Snowdonia and thinks it can succeed"
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