Get into Snowsports!
Have you seen people Skiing or Boarding and thought I must give this a go? Well you can do it right here in England!
There is a network of clubs all over the country which are open all year round and ideal to use if you are trying the sport for the first time, coming back to the sport, getting fit or just improving your technique for next year’s ski trip. In fact if you go Nordic/ Cross Country skiing you don't need a ski slope or a lift pass at all as most English clubs have roller skis that you can use on cycle tracks.
You can find your local slope or club by clicking here. Snowsport England has a regional structure which supports the development of the sport from a local level. To find out more about your region, click here.
Types of slopes
Synthetic Matting (Dryslope)
The two most common surfaces for dry slopes in the UK are Dendix and Snowflex. Dendex has been around for the longest and is well known to dry slope skiers nationwide. It's made of plastic bristles in a diamond shape. It's not very forgiving to ski on, hence why you should wear long sleeved tops and gloves, but it is a great place to start the basics. Snowflex has been developed more recently and more dry slopes are beginning to use this surface. It's made of a similar material but without the big gaps in it.
Snowboarding on Dendex
Indoor Artificial Slopes (real snow)
These are becoming more and more popular in England and there are now five available to ski on. These are, Castleford, Chill Factoré (Manchester), Tamworth, Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead. They use the same technology as in the snow cannons usually found at the side of a ski run. Think of the indoor real snow slopes as a giant freezer. The temperature is usually kept between -1°C and -5°C.
Outdoor real snow slopes
There aren't many outdoor lift served snow slopes in England but there are a few based in the north of England and they have been quite successful over the last couple of seasons due to the colder and snowy winters.
If you want a real physical challenge, check out England's many Cross Country Ski Clubs both for roller skiing all year round or for skiing on real snow when it falls outside your back door.
Find out more about Roller Skiing and Cross Country here
Telemark Skiing - the original and coolest way to get downhill - fast.
Find out more about Telemark Skiing here
I am completely new to snowsport, where do I start?
Find out where your local club is by clicking here. Many clubs offer great deals for lessons, so enquire about how you can get started.
None of my friends ski or snowboard but I want to get involved, is this possible?
Of course! Snowsport is extremely sociable and you will soon meet new people.
Clubs in England are very welcoming. They offer a number of sessions including coaching for different abilities and snow holidays that cater for the individuals as well as groups. It won't be long before you are a part of the team atmosphere!
Clubs offer sessions that are a great way to meet friends too from beginners to women's only sessions, sometimes including coffee or lunch!
Find out where you nearest club is by clicking here.
Will I have to re-mortgage my house to start snowsports?
No. Nordic Skiing, Alpine Skiing and boarding is a hobby, one where you get fit and it is cheaper than a lot of gym memberships.
Many clubs offer incentives and offers to keep you going back, such as buy 1 get 1 free or 20% off.
Enquire at your nearest club for details.
I don't own any equipment. Can I still take part?
Yes, definitely! Many clubs in England have rental facilities of skis, boards, boots and poles so you don't have to lug your own kit there but it's best to check if your local one does or not before you head there.
Even though you may only outside for an hour or so at a time it is still important to stay warm. Kit doesn't have to be expensive, If you're Alpine Sking or boarding think about wearing ski pants or waterproof trousers, ski gloves, a jumper, fleece or ski jacket and even a hat! If you roller ski you'll generate your own heat and will need only the minimum of warm clothing.
If you get more into the sport, you may wish to purchase your own kit which may be more comfortable but again it does not have to break the bank!
I have booked a snow holiday, but have never tried snowsports before. Am I destined to remain in the bar?
No. Lessons are available at many ski resorts for reasons such as this. They cater for beginners to improvers and advanced and can get you feeling more confident on the snow within a few hours.
When abroad, you can get lessons too but if you can link turns prior to going, you're going to have more fun! And, if after all your efforts, you want to have a nice warm drink at the end of it, go ahead!
Click here for information on Snow Resorts.
Do I need insurance?
We highly recommend taking out insurance when going on a snow holiday. Snowsport England offer our own insurance suitable for just that purpose.