Above: Gaz Andrews at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre (PC: Tristan Kennedy)
Lockdown is finally over! Now that Boris has let us roam free outside the confines of our home, many of us will be flocking to our nearest dry slope or indoor snow centre to test our long dormant snowboard skills. And look, we get it, the UK’s artificial snow centres don’t exactly hold the same levels of prestige as the peaks of Chamonix, Zermatt, and Whistler (or, Scotland’s very own mountain resorts, for that matter), but they did provide accessible and affordable options to get back on our boards after a painfully long winter away from the snow. Not to mention a bunch of freestyle facilities and coaching and lesson options, too.
“We’ve compiled all the best slopes that the UK has to offer so you can spend less time researching and more time limbering up for that long-awaited lap on the drag lift…”
But lockdown has been a confusing time for us all, questioning what counts as ‘essential travel’, visiting friends in the front garden, but not in the park, even the very definition of a scotch egg. So let us lay out the facts on the UK’s indoor and outdoor slopes below. Which of these slopes are open? Which one is the closest to me? Which one is the best for a beginner, or an expert? We’ve compiled all the best slopes that the UK has to offer so you can spend less time researching and more time limbering up for that long-awaited lap on the drag lift…
The Best Indoor Slopes
Chill Factorᵉ (Manchester)
— Chill Factore (@Chill_Factore) April 18, 2021
Price: Hourly Lift Passes from £27, Weekly Lift Passes are £50
Slope: Main is 180m long x 40m wide (the UK’s longest indoor slope)
Opening times: Weekdays are 1pm – 9pm, Weekends are 8am – 6pm
Located just a quick 15-20 minute drive from Manchester city centre, Chill Factorᵉ has great travel links for anyone living close to the city. On top of that, Chill Factorᵉ offers a wealth of different activities to both novices and more advanced riders. The two separate slopes allow beginners to pick up the sport (with 50 minute lessons starting from £59) and everyone else to not worry about flying straight into a learner. On certain days, a quarter of the main has park features installed for anyone wanting to get their freestyle legs back. Chill Factorᵉ is also home to Disability Snowsport UK, a charity dedicated to providing adaptive snowsport opportunities to individuals with any kind of disability. Chill Factorᵉ’s inclusive environment and varied slopes make it a premium choice for any snowboarding Northerners.
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Price: Hourly Lift Passes from £27, All Day Lift Passes from £40
Slope: Main is 170m long x 30m wide
Opening times: 9am – 10pm everyday
With its focus on teaching snowboarders of all ages and abilities, SnowDome Tamworth is the perfect place to pick up the sport or sharpen your skills. Located about a half an hour’s drive from Birmingham, SnowDome Tamworth is easy to get to from anywhere in the midlands. For seasoned park rats, the slope hosts a freestyle session every Tuesday, with special monthly Tamlands Laboratory nights featuring more advanced and experimental features to get creative with with. Within the centre there is a range of places to eat and drink as well as Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports and The Snowboard Asylum, a specialist two-floor shop filled with skiing, snowboarding and outdoor sports equipment.
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