Learning to ski at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

PUBLISHED: 10:35 17 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:23 20 February 2013

Learning to ski at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Learning to ski at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

We've come a long way since dry ski slopes were all the rage, as Clare Bourke discovers

TWENTY-three years ago when I was preparing to head off on a school ski trip, the only option to get some practice in first was on a dry ski slope.

At the time, having never skied before, I thought it was fabulous. The rope mesh was nothing like snow but I was assured it would still give me the skills I needed to not be a total beginner when I encountered the real thing.

Of course, the reality was it was completely different skiing on snow is a completely different thing, a lot more reactive and a lot faster.

Fast forward those 23 years and two weeks before my 15-year-old was due to head off on her first school ski trip, I booked a lesson for her on some real snow at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.

I had no idea what to expect in my naivety I didnt even realise it would be cold on the slope because I didnt really grasp the fact it was real snow.

Luckily I was given advice before we went and duly ensured Abi was dressed in all her ski gear, including a hat. And Im so glad we did as it was indeed chilly.

We left Abi in the capable hands of experienced instructor David Locke who was to lead her through her first ever hour of skiing. The introductory lesson was designed to ensure she had some confidence when she arrived in Austria and our scheme worked.

I must admit I was extremely jealous when, after just 20 minutes or so of going through the basics, Abi was on the drag lift and heading part of the way up the nursery slope it looked such fun.

In just one hours tuition from scratch Abi was able to snowplough turn, ski down the slope from halfway up and stop effectively at the bottom. A far cry from the worried teenager who only 60 minutes earlier had donned skis for the first time and struggled to even make herself move along the snow.

That one lesson meant she was no longer a total beginner and when she headed off on her skiing holiday she was confident and sure that she could master skiing, returning a week later glowing with happiness at what she had achieved.

The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead offers an experience far superior to those dry ski slopes I started off on and it is no wonder it has become such a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders alike.

And if you think summer is not really the time to go skiing, think again. The Snow Centre is open all year round and could well be the perfect place to cool off in the summer months.

Summer offers

  • Adult lessons 10 off second session, Juniors 5 off second lesson

  • Half price level one adult ski or snowboard lesson over the summer

  • Four week course one hour a week for four weeks for only 99 (69 members)

  • Family lesson two adults and up to four children for an hours ski or snowboard lesson, 30 minutes sledging and free soft drink in The Edge caf, 99

  • Family recreation session two adults and up to four children enjoy an hour on the slopes followed by drinks in the Edge caf afterwards

  • Free hints and tips from The Snow Centre instructors on the main slope every Monday and Tuesday

Slope off for a family 'Daycation'

The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead is encouraging more families to chill out together with a choice of value for money family packages.

And, if youve opted to holiday at home and enjoy different experiences without travelling too far, its a great way to introduce an Alpine feel.

The 160m slope is serviced by two drag lifts, combined with a wide nursery slope for beginners. Theres clothing and equipment for hire and a licensed restaurant overlooking the slopes where you can relax after a session on the snow.

The Snow Centres new Family Lesson & Sledge Package offers two adults and up to four children a full hour of instruction in either skiing or snowboarding combined with half an hour to have fun together sledging on the nursery slopes. At 99 for all six of you its an excellent way to learn something new or improve your technique.

If your family is already competent, you can book a Family Slope Pass Package for up to two hours on the slopes for two adults and up to four kids for just 69.

Contact The Snow Centre on 0845 258 9000 or visit http://www.thesnowcentre.com/

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