Saudi Arabia Wins Bid to Host Asian Winter Games in City That Doesn’t Yet Exist

NEOM, a futuristic city that's the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is slated to host the 2029 event.
Image of The Line, part of the NEOM development. PHOTO: Neom

Saudi Arabia has won the bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at a mountain resort in its $500 billion NEOM project, despite the fact it does not yet exist.

NEOM is a futuristic city devised largely by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler known as MBS. It will be built in the desert of northwestern Saudi Arabia, and as well as the TROJENA ski resort, will feature airports, swimming lanes for commuters, an industrial centre, living quarters, hotels and field for genetically engineered crops.

The project’s website claims the city will “herald a luminous dawn, a promising future, and a rich life in a land built by man for the sake of all humanity.” 

However, construction is behind schedule. Reports have found that only a few buildings have actually started to go up, and parts of NEOM have been criticised as unrealistic.

The region NEOM is being built in can hit 100F (38C) in the summer, and it has no access to fresh water, but the Saudi government nevertheless plans for millions of people to live there in the future, enabled by desalination plants and air conditioning.