Once upon a time I went skiing with my school on a dry ski-slope in the exotic county of Gloucestershire, the slopes were made of worn plastic fibres which lacerated the ear of one of our teachers who tumbled on the way down. It was an odd experience, that was followed by a awkward ride on an agitated horse, never to be repeated and ne’er a ski slope (nor horse for that matter) has been seen since.
Then we arrive in the 21st century, in a town called Hemel Hempstead and they’ve gone and put a mountain into the biggest shed I’ve ever seen. Alright, when I say mountain, I may be slightly exaggerating, but it’s as near as damn it as you are going to get just outside of London.
The Snowcentre is an amazing piece of engineering, it contains two slopes covered in snow generated inside a giant freezer. Sitting in the cafe bar watching people hurling themselves down on skis and snow boards is completely mesmerising, definitely worth a visit even if you don’t fancy doing it yourself.
Oh, the skiing. Well I tried. The beginners lesson I attended lasted two hours, our skiing instructor was funny, and very supportive of our rather uncoordinated attempts to make it down the hill in one piece. Though we fell and launched ourselves into nets, and I had spent the first hour in boots a whole size too small feeling sick with pain (my fault there – don’t believe that ski boot sizes correspond to real world shoe sizes!), it was fun and having recovered I may just do it again.
As for real mountains? I’ll stick with the big shed for now, you can’t fall off the side. 🙂