Having to wear ski jackets in Riyadh is unheard of, but a new snow park in the Saudi capital has made them a must despite outside temperatures exceeding 45 Celsius. Saudi women wearing the compulsory traditional abaya that covers the body from head to toe are now donning thermal coats and cosy boots as they sit on sledges to scoot down the slopes of “Snow City”. This file photo taken on July 20, 2016 shows Saudi children playing on sledges at the indoor snow theme park "Snow City" in the Al-Othaim Mall Rabwa in the capital Riyadh.
Unusually in the ultra-conservative kingdom that applies strict segregation rules and where even restaurants have separate sections for “families” and single men, they are also joined by males. The complex is a rarity in Saudi Arabia where there are only small-scale amusement parks for children, and where cinemas or theatres are not allowed. Stretching over 5,000 square metres, the entertainment project does not have proper ski pistes as such, but its modest indoor slopes still manage to provide frosty fun in a country that is mostly desert and searing heat. This file photo taken on July 20, 2016 shows a general view of Saudis playing at the indoor snow theme park "Snow City" in the Al-Othaim Mall Rabwa in the capital Riyadh. ─ AFP