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If there’s one thing the UK doesn’t have, it’s mountains. Sure we’ve got some hills, big ones at that, but the likes of the Alps, Pyrenees, Atlas mountains? Nothing that quite measures up to them.
So when it comes to skiing and snowboarding outdoors with REAL snow we’re a little bit limited. From time to time there might be enough snow one weekend to head to Scotland, but what about the other 363 days of the year?
Well, fortunately there’s plenty of other year round alternatives for you should you want to ski or snowboard. Whether it’s to learn or practice before hitting some bigger slopes abroad, or just for fun, here’s a few tried and tested options for skiing in the UK.
Whether you’re a ski pro or total novice, Chel-ski (formally Skiplex) is for you. Best described as a skiing treadmill, the Chel-Ski’s slope’ is made from a material a bit like astroturf and the angle can be increased or decreased, as can the speed.
With boots strapped up you’ll head on to the slope and put on your skis. It feels a little like a ballet class as you grab the bar in front of you and stare in to the mirror.
The instructor will set the slope to go, slowly at first, so you can get a feel for the way the slope moves.
Even for the most experienced skiers, trying the ramp at Chel-Ski is likely to fell a little odd to begin with. This is down to both the skis and the material the Chel-ski slope is made from. There’s no edges on these skis and even the slightest movements will be picked up by the astro-turf like material. So don’t make any sudden movements!
Snow ploughing (where the tips of your skies make a point) on Chel-ski takes you backwards and up the slope, returning your skis straight takes you down.
Chel-ski is fantastic for improving your fitness too! When skiing in resort, it’s unlikely you’ll be skiing for more than 10 minutes without some sort of a break: whether that break is to wait for friends, warm up with a hot chocolate or hit the mulled wine. In a 20 minute session at Chel-ski, you’ll feel the muscles in your thighs burn.
The constant turning on the Chel-ski is tiring, yes, but it’s also incredibly fun and I promise you’ll feel like you’ve learned a great deal!
Best For: fitness and technique
Where: Chiswick, London
Price: From £39.95
The Snow Centre
The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead is the closest you’ll get to skiing in the UK. Using ‘real’ snow, The Snow Centre is kind of its own ecosystem. The temperature is carefully controlled, the snow quality monitored.
Perfect for lessons, practice, parties and just a bit of fun, The Snow Centre caters for all abilities. There are two slopes; the training slope used for those just starting out, and the main slope for those who know what they’re doing and for free-style practice
Instructors are on hand to teach you right from the basics up to advanced techniques on both boards and skis. Inside the dome there’s a self-service bar with biscuits, coffee, tea and squash to refresh yourself with after a few runs down the slope.
Head to the lodge bar upstairs for a tasty bite to eat, or stand on the balcony and look out onto the ski slope. You’re still in the UK, bit it doesn’t take too much effort to imagine you’re not!
Best for: Lessons, fun & parties!
Where: Hemel Hempstead
Price: A one-hour, midweek adult lift pass starts at £21.60 (it’s cheaper to book online!)
Y’see skiing the UK is totally possible! And, it if you’re looking for something different to dinner and drinks for a party, then why not give either of these some thought? Or, how about a Hen Do? ‘L’ Plates and phallic symbols optional…
Want more skiing adventures? Check out this blog on how to have a budget ski holiday!