Have you ever heard of SSAWS? It's official name was LaLaport Skidome SSAWS (which is an acronym for Spring Summer Autumn Winter Snow). I hadn't heard of it until last week, when one of my students talked about it.
The indoor ski slope opened in July 1993, constructed by Mitsui and costing US$400 million. The plan was for the ski area to break even by 2018 by attracting 1.3 million visitors a year, who would pay 4,300 yen each for two hours of lift time. This was overly optimistic, with the number of visitors being only one million the first year, dropping to 700,000 the second. It closed in September 2002 and was demolished the next year. The space was turned into Japan's first big IKEA store in 2006.
The structure was ten stories high and built in an earthquake zone in Tokyo Harbor. It was specially built to make it earthquake proof to prevent collapse. There were three courses for advanced, intermediate, and beginner skiers, with two ski lifts.
I hadn't heard of it before, and it was long gone before I came to Japan. My student said it was amazing. What a novelty to ski in Tokyo in the middle of summer (and all year round). Have you ever seen or skied in anything like this?