The £31m Chill Factore, one of the biggest leisure attractions to hit the North West in recent years, opens its doors on Friday.
Trafford's eagerly anticipated 250,000 sq ft addition to the skyline close to the M62 and M60 near the Trafford Centre has undergone testing through a soft opening in the past week and will host a celebratory launch party tonight.
The Alpine 'street' of 16 shops and bars has only three units remaining to let and offers names such as Snow +Rock in a 10,000 sq ft anchor store, Billabong, Adrenaline Junkie, Evans Cycles, Wetherspoons, Nandos, Chiquito's, Frederick's Ice Cream and Manchester-based sports brand Dare2B's first dedicated store.
The venture was devised by Peter Moore, formerly head of Center Parcs, with former Xscape director David Sterland, and operations director Andrew Lockerbie, chairman of the British Association of Ski Instructors.
Planning permission was granted for the centre, designed by Faulkner Browns and built by Sir Robert McAlpine, in April 2005 and work started on site in August 2006.
The venue boasts a world record, with the widest real snow indoor slope at 100 metres across. The slope measures 180 metres lengthways and is the UK's longest.
Chill Factore will operate several of the food and drink outlets within the centre, including a fine dining restaurant, creperie, a ski/sports bar and a slope-side coffee shop.
Wetherspoons has opened an upmarket bar with chill-out lounge and real open fire, while Aussie favourite Gloria Jean's Coffee – the world's second largest coffee retailer with stores throughout Australia and more than 20 countries – has chosen Chill Factore as the location for only its second franchise in England.
The centre is the fifth attraction of its kind in the UK. It will be the official indoor training headquarters for Snowsport GB, the body which represents competitive racing and snowboarding at international level. It has also been chosen by the British Disabled Ski Team as the UK venue for its group training ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, and the national ski and snowboard charity Disability Snowsport UK will operate its north of England base from the venue.