Chilled out

Women turn up in surprising numbers to new Saudi snow park

A veiled Saudi woman enjoys a ride in the new Snow City at Al Othaim Mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia July 26, 2016. (REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser)

A new snow park in the Saudi capital of Riyadh is attracting women in unexpected numbers. An employee at Snow City told AFP the complex had only expected women to represent around 10 percent of visitors, and did not have enough boots for women at the start. Women have so far exceeded 75 percent of those drawn to the faux Alpine environment and its “climate” set at a chilly 27-degrees.

Although it is uncommon for men and women to socialize together in the ultraconservative kingdom — with strict segregation rules even in restaurants — at Snow City the women, still clad in the traditional abaya plus additional layers for warmth, are joined by men.

“There is privacy and we’re enjoying our time here,” says Umm Ahmed, 37. “I like the place. It provides entertainment.”

On Snow City’s Facebook page, users have commented favorably on the new attraction. “Turns out women are allowed in,” one says.

Meanwhile, a female user asks: “Is there a day for ladies only?”

Read the full story at The National.

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