Want a guaranteed white background for a Christmas photo – and a day of fun? Head to one of the UK’s amazing indoor ski centres
- Tamworth, near Birmingham, is home to the SnowDome complex
- Chill Factore in Manchester has Britain’s longest indoor slope
- Glasgow’s Snow Factor has separate areas for beginners and experts
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Real-snow ski slopes in the UK.
Guaranteed snow, a day of fun and the perfect backdrop for a white Christmas photograph. All these and more are on offer at a growing band of indoor ski centres.
The biggest resemble Alpine villages, where alongside the slopes are shops, restaurants, bars, ice rinks, swimming pools, gyms and even spas. And better still, you don’t need to have all the kit to join in the fun – skis, boots, snowboards, helmets, jackets and salopettes can all be rented.
Lessons are available for beginners, families and experts at the SnowDome in Tamworth
Pictured is the main slope at Chill Factore in Manchester
Tamworth, near Birmingham, is home to the SnowDome complex that includes one of the longest indoor ski slopes in Europe. Every night snow cannons top up the 560ft (170m) main slope and the two gentler teaching slopes.
If you’re a confident skier you can book anything from an hour-long to an all-day lift pass for the main slope. Lessons, private or in small groups, are available for beginners, families and experts.
Young children have their own play area with igloos, and in the run-up to Christmas can visit Santa in his winter wonderland. There’s also an ice rink, gym, swimming pool and spa. Hour-long sessions on the main slope start at £30 for adults, with two-hour ski lessons from £69 (snowdome.co.uk).
Chill Factore, near the Trafford Centre in Manchester, has Britain’s longest indoor slope – at 590ft (180m) – as well as a 130ft (40m) beginners’ slope.
Children can visit Santa in his grotto, try sledging or head to a quieter family-friendly area to race down in inflatable tubes. The well-decorated Alpine Street is the place for Tyrolean-style food and drink. Hour sessions cost from £30 and lessons from £49 (chillfactore.com).
Glasgow’s Snow Factor has separate areas for beginners and experts, and its instructors are on hand to help with everything from basic turns to mogul-bashing and freestyle tricks.
The centre has an ice-climbing wall and slope-side Baltic Ice Bar and serves hearty fare such as German sausages, chicken schnitzel and gluhwein in its Bar Varia restaurant. Two-hour lift passes cost from £25 and lessons from £44 (snowfactor.com).
Frozen smiles: Sledging at the Snozone centre in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and Castleford near Leeds both have huge Snozone centres, with everything from green runs for beginners to black slopes for experts. Boots, skis, boards, poles and helmets are included in ticket prices, so all you need to bring are thick socks and gloves.
You can even ‘give the gift of snowsports’ this Christmas with vouchers from £25 to be used for lift passes, lessons or food and drink in Snozone shops. An hour on the slopes starts from £35 with lessons from £40 (snozoneuk.com).
The closest ski venue to London is The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. It has four lifts, and alongside its 525ft (160m) main run has the longest beginners’ slope in the country. Three-hour lift passes cost from £42 or lessons from £52 – which includes feedback from your instructor over apres-ski drinks (thesnowcentre.com).
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