The UK has six fantastic indoor ski slopes – perfect for novice skiers who want to get some practise in before their ski holiday.
Try before you fly
A visit to one of Britain’s indoor ski slopes is a great way to prepare for a trip to the real mountains, whether you’re a novice or experienced skier or boarder.
At the very least, it will get beginners familiar with the boots, skis, bindings and so on, and the sensations of sliding about on the snow. If you decide to make a few visits before you head off on your holiday, you might be surprised by how much progress you can make. And those who have already skied or boarded can hone their skills and build up fitness for the serious stuff.
The indoor slopes may not be in the midst of fabulous mountain scenery – but you do know they’ll have excellent snow cover! And the quality of their machine-made snow these days is excellent, very much like the real thing.
Britain has six such centres, so there’s a good chance one will be within striking distance of where you live.
- The Snow Centre, Hempstead
A little to the north-west of London, has a huge slope 30m wide and 160m long, with a dedicated beginners’ area and several draglifts. There’s plenty of space for novices to get to grips with the basics under an instructor’s guidance. The main slope often has a prepared mogul section to one side.
- Chill Factore, Manchester
Just off junction 10 of the M60, has four main areas, one a 40m beginners’ slope. There are tube and sledge courses, the newly and colourfully-named Downhill Donuts, Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide and Sledge ‘O’ Mania, and Mini Moose Land, an area for young children to lark about in the snow. The main slope is 180m long – the longest in the UK – and group classes are available for all levels, from total beginners upwards. There is even a racing academy for speed merchants.
- The Snowdome, Tamworth
Near junction 10 of the M42, is a great place for beginners – it has two nursery slopes, one 25m long and one 30m. A fast-track course is offered, involving a quite intense full day of lessons. Or you can spread the lessons over a number of days. The main slope here is 170m. The centre also has an ice rink, tobogganing and tubing, and a children’s play area where they can build snowmen.
- Snozone, Milton Keynes
In the centre of town at 602 Marlborough Gate, also has a 170m main slope, as well as a beginners’ area for lessons with the centre’s instructors. Lessons on freestyle and racing techniques can be booked and tubing and sledging are also available. Its sister centre, Snozone in Castleford, offers a similar package to Yorkshire residents.
- Snow Factor, Glasgow
Scotland’s only indoor real-snow slope, in Braehead, near Glasgow, has a 168m slope covered in 1,500 tons of snow. Other attractions on offer include an ice slide, sledging and an ice climbing wall.
More of what you love…
If the kids haven’t had a chance to find their snow legs before your holiday, there are plenty of great opportunities for children’s ski lessons once you get to the slopes.
Have you tried skiing and discovered it really isn’t your bag? We’ve rounded up the best resorts for non-skiers, so even the most reluctant skiers can still have fun!