Have you ever wanted to learn to ski in the UK? Did you know that there are more than 50 ski slopes across the UK? This includes six indoor snow-domes and three centres for “rolling slopes”. Snowfall in the UK can be quite unpredictable but the UK makes up for it in the amount of ski centres across the country.
Below is a map of the main ski centres in the UK where you can learn to ski. There are options to buy beginner, refresher and intermediate courses. Most centres will charge a set hourly rate and have specific ski date and times. You can hire a tutor to teach you all the skills you need to start skiing. If you feel embarrassed, some centres may have the option to hire a one-to-one tutor in their quiet intervals. Course tutors will assess you for your needs and aptitude but taking private tuition is, you’ve guessed it, a lot more expensive.
Some ski centre slopes aren’t very long, they have been specifically designed for beginners so please don’t expect long piste runs. Some are multi activity centres which you can learn to snowboard, ski or tube. Other activites may include outdoor gaming and other leisure based activities.
UK Ski Slopes And Domes
Ski Apparel And Equipment
As a beginner to the ski slopes, you may want to know what type of clothing you should be wearing.
It is more than likely that beginners will fall whilst they are learning the basics of skiing on dry ski slopes. Dry ski slopes can be abrasive and can hurt. We suggest for beginners to layer up with a jacket, long sleeve top, long trousers and gloves. In hot weather, appropriate clothing may include tracksuits, leggings and long-sleeved tops and gloves.
It is advised to hire the centres equipment to use on the slopes – even as you reach intermediate level. Damage to ski equipment can be expensive to replace or repair. Helmets are optional but it is best to stay safe.
Before adventuring on a ski holiday, you have an option to buy salopets. They may appear “goofy” but they are made to protect you from wet conditions. Remeber; it’s better to take clothes off than to not have enough on. We also suggest that you wear a t-shirt underneath your attire as you may get warm. Because skiing involves a lot of movement and body co-ordination, there is a little chance you will get uncomforatably cold.
Buy ski goggles if you plan to ski over 20mph, there is nothing worse than not being able to see a thing because the tear ducts are weeping.
Stay hydrated, take some energy snacks with you and it won’t hurt to pack some sunscreen.
Learn How To Ski
Should you wish to take up skiing or snowboarding as a hobby, it is advisable to dfollow this rule first before going on the slopes. There will be a lot of stress on your leg muscles, for balance, movement and keeping your centre of gravity. All these stresses aid you to keep on your feet. We suggest building up core muscles at the gym. When you are at the slopes, do some warm up activities before you ski. Learner skiers will cover the basic ski operations such as:
Learning how to use equipment – how to clip skis on, stand over the skis (hips over skis)
Perform small movement patterns – turning, body weight transitions, using the outside ski, toe and trail. The coach will have you snaking down the hill in bits at a time rather than skiing as fast as you can.
Learn how to stop – You will also learn how to stop on a dry ski slope, skiers need to learn the techniques to turn the ski and edge the board which may take some time to master.
Using the ski lift properly – It is also worth knowing how to use different ski lifts.
You may hear your ski tutor mention ski terminology such as:
Rotary – Steering the ski, flexing the legs
Herringbone – Enables you to walk up a hill or skate flat areas without taking skis off
Sidestepping – Using skis to step up or down a slope sideways. This helps if you have fallen over
J Turns – Twisting legs instead of the torso
Parallel turn- From a pizza wedge turn to end the move with your skis parallel to each other sideways on a slope
Slalom – Skiing from side to side
Stop – pizza wedge, snow plough
Side slip – use for controlling speed
Edging – slip to grip, controlling the skis
There may be areas on the slope which immitate lumps on pistes. Depending on your ability, coaches may decide to teach you skills to avoid bumps on slopes and possible jump them?
Skiing and snowboarding is a cool winter sport. Having mastered the skills, it is a fantastic way of exercising and if you can afford ski holidays, you can see many parts of the world too.
Snow Slopes V’s Dry Astro Turf Slopes
Ski centres may have three different types of ski surface. 1) Fake snow eg PERMA snow 2) Real Snow kept at a cold temerature and 3) Hardened astroturf
The different slope surface will help people master the pistes, different types of snow to enable you to become a better skier. Outdoor skiing on the diamond astroturf is not like skiing on a snow piste. It is designed on purpose to create friction especially used by all beginners. Friction slows down the skier so they can learn to ski without going downhill too fast. However, it is a bit more trickier as there is no snow that builds up when the skier wants to stop.
There is little to no friction on fake snow, so it’ll make skiers go faster than on astroturf mats. If a skier makes a mistake, it’s easier to correct. Dry indoor snow has more air pockets than wet snow, making it lighter with less moisture and more powdery.
Disabled Ski Centres
There are some ski centres dotted around the UK which have the facilities for disabled people if they want to go skiing. Places like Gloucester ski and snowboard centre can cater to a disabled persons needs.
Ski centres for disabled people use volunteers and coaches to help you ski as independently as possible. Acknowledging that every person who comes to them have a range of ability, they can match your needs to the right equipment.
If you buy an annual subscription, they can work with a ski manufacturer who can fabricate bespoke adaptive equipment. Current equipment include tobaggan skies and crutch skies. Please note that if crutch skies are selected, the skier must be able to bear weight on the legs.
Usually at these centres, volunteers and workers who work with children and disabled people are risk assessed and CRB checked.
Have you ever heard of grass skiing? Grass skiing is a cool activity to do at any time of the year. Grass skis are basically ski boots with plastic rollers. They allow you to ski on moderate grass slopes. Just like a grass toboggan, they aren’t easy to come by. It is also possible to go grass tobaganning by changing the runners to inline rollers. Grass skiing and toboganning allows people to have fun outdoors in the fresh air.
Be mindful before you choose to ski or toboggan that the hillside is relatively smooth. To prevent injuries, check for any unforeseen bumps, fallen branches or sinkholes. Unfortunately you may have to check with your local council if you are allowed to do this in your local park. They may have a problem with turf being dug up!
Famous UK Ski Slopes
To go skiing in England you may need to pay for membership as the ski slopes may be on private property. Saying that here are the top Ski resorts in the UK.
Yad Moss in England is located North Pennines, South West of Newcastle Upon Tyne. When conditions are right, it’s good for intermediate skiers and plenty of off-piste trails.
Raise is a fell in the English Lake District Lake. This Lake District Ski Club on the Helvellyn range and is operated by a group of volunteers. It’s an hour’s walk from the mines at Glenridding.
When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, Scotland is an excellent place to go skiing with many pistes to choose from. Depending on weather, the best winter sport season is between December to March. Head towards the Cairngorms is your best bet but it is worth checking out the Websites before you go.
Glenshee Ski Centre is the largest ski resort in Scotland and is sometimes referred to as the Scottish three valleys.
Lecht is the smallest of the 5 ski centres in the Eastern Cairngorms, Scotland. Lecht ski centre is a multi activity centre in the Highlandswhere you can go sledging and mountain bike riding too.
Nevis Range in Fort William is home to the UK’s only mountain gondola. That is the mountain experience for all seasons. The Nevis range is a multi activity centre where snow fanantics can enjoy their winter and summer partaking in a range of sports, climbing, mountain biking and high ropes with Tree Adventure.
Check out some more worldwide ski destinations.