Sochi spirit – find Winter Olympic sports in Herts

PUBLISHED: 10:37 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:37 10 February 2014

Skier Ed Drake in action

Skier Ed Drake in action


Inspired by this month’s Winter Olympics to take to the slopes? You don’t have to travel to the mountains to perfect your skills – Herts has its own answers to Sochi

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead.

You don’t have to travel far to find real snow to ski and snowboard on as the renowned Snow Centre is right in the heart of the county at Hemel Hempstead. It has a large 160-metre main snow slope as well as the largest indoor lesson slope in the UK.

The centre offers a range of skiing and snowboarding lessons and the opportunity to try snow sports on real snow without leaving the country. Additionally, there i’s a selection of activities that are simply about having fun in the snow –- from sledging to kids’ parties.

The centre isAll this goes on under the stewardship of Peter Gillespie, who heads up the Snowsports School He, and has been a professional snows ports and ski instructor for more than 22 years.

He says, ‘Trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time can sometimes be a little overwhelming.’, says Gillespie says..

‘Learning with the guidance of our experienced instructors, on the largest lesson slope in the UK before you splash out on a trip to the mountains can often give people time to get used to the equipment, gain confidence and really enjoy winter sports.

‘With the Winter Olympics upon us, we hope to introduce many more junior and adult snow lovers to snowsports and are always looking at developing our lesson programmes and lift passes to make it easier for people to get involved.’

Gillespie is hoping the 2014 Winter Olympics, being held at Sochi in Russia from February 7 to 23, will have a similar effect on the population as London 2012, and has the facilities to cater for these needs.

‘We expect the Winter Olympics will stimulate lots of interest in participating in snowsports, especially as Britain is a real hopeful for a gold medal in the freestyle skiing events.

‘We have a regular freestyle night and feel that this will be where the real interest will grow.

‘In addition throughout March 2014 we are putting together a whole range of ‘have a go’ products for people who see the Olympic profile and just fancy dipping their toe in the water. We will make it very easy for them to find a local entry point.’

For more information, contact the Snow Centre on 0844 770 7227 or visit

Did you know?

• The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead is the official UK base for the British Paralympics ski team, and official sponsor of British Olympic Alpine Skier Ed Drake.

• The centre also hosts Jasmin Taylor, who recently took a silver medal in the world cup Telemark event in Hintertux, Austria, and the facilites have been used by many other GB Olympic hopefuls.

• Ghanaian skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, also known as The Snow Leopard, was sponsored by the Snow Centre for the 2010 Winter Olympics.


Gosling Sports Park Ski and Board Centre, Welwyn GC.

Gosling Sports Park, based on Stanborough Road in Welwyn GC, offers an extensive range of facilities and courses for skiing, including a 160m dry ski slope and a 70m nursery slope.

There are recreational ski and snowboarding lessons on offer, as well as the opportunity to fully join up as part of a club.
The variety of courses and teaching methods at the centre make it an ideal place to learn the ropes whatever your age. The recreational ski and snowboard sessions are a good way to get into the swing of things for the first time or as a more experienced skiier ahead of a holiday in the mountains. These are priced at £10.50 for non-members, which includes the cost of hiring equipment.

If you would prefer private lessons, these are delivered by experienced instructors and can booked on a one-to-one basis or as a group with friends or family.

For full details on membership, prices and opening times, speak to one of the Gosling Ski and Board Centre team on 01707 384384 or visit

Latest from the Hertfordshire Life