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Higher slope, longer ski run thanks to Amazon Web Services

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The Vilsta ski slope in Eskilstuna, Sweden, will become 10 meters higher just in time for the winter season next year. All thanks to shaft masses from the construction of Amazon Web Services (AWS)’s data center in Eskilstuna.

For Tunafors Ski Club, based at the Vilsta ski resort in Eskilstuna, Sweden, about an hour west of Stockholm, the decision by Amazon Web Services to locate its data centre nearby couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.

In the spring of 2017, Eskilstuna municipality greenlighted long-standing plans by Tunafors to raise the ski slope and improve the ski run. But the go ahead had a condition attached – they were only allowed to use non-polluted rock mass to raise the slope. Samples from AWS’s plot excavation were tested quickly and came back fully approved by the environmental authorities. The project finally got underway.

Read why Sweden is heaven for cloud computing

“We are delighted that our investment in an AWS Region in Stockholm will help the Eskilstuna municipality’s aspirations for a new ski slope become a reality. AWS is committed to taking an active role in the communities in which we operate both as a responsible employer and as good neighbor. We look forward to enjoying the new slope with the Eskilstuna residents in the months to come” says Guido Bartels, Managing Director AWS Nordics and Baltic region.

By increasing the height of the Vilsta slope by 10 meters, Eskilstuna residents and visitors can enjoy a 30 meter longer ski run with four to five more turns. It also means that a 50-70 meter long slope for Giant Slalom can be built with five to seven more turns. According to calculations by Eskilstuna municipality, Tunafors Ski Club will save up to SEK 14 million as a result of using the masses donated from the AWS data center construction.

“We will save five to six years of work by using the masses from the AWS construction and be able to make the Vilsta slope more attractive to visitors. It will be a completely new ski area, the size of a football arena, offering a new skiing experience. We have great plans ahead including a fun park and rail for kids as well as a new ski lift, says Magnus Nilsson, President of Tunafors Ski Club.

Safety will also be improved thanks to the possibility of dividing the slope into two separate ski runs, one for professional skiers and one for all levels of skiers, beginners to advanced.

“Investments are not just about job creation and economic effects. They can also have a huge positive impact on the local community. Building a higher ski slope is just one way that investments can create a real "snowball effect",” says Tomas Sokolnicki, Head of Data Centers by Sweden, Business Sweden, who is working together with Invest Stockholm, alongside AWS throughout the establishment process.

Read more about Amazon Web Services opens three data centers in Sweden

So far, 105,000 tonnes of excavated rock have been transported by trucks to Vilsta and a further 30,000 - 50,000 tonnes will be used to complete the project.

The revamped Vilsta ski resort is expected to be ready for the 2018/19 winter season.

FUN FACT: An additional 30-50,000 tonnes is needed to complete the project. A truck, on average, carries 22-24 tonnes of excavated rock in its load, which means that so far the truck has driven over 4,000 turns to the Vilsta ski resort.

Published 26 March 2018