Whether you’re a complete beginner who wants to sample the world of skiing and snowboarding before you commit to a holiday in the Alps... Or you simply can’t get enough of your favourite sport, visiting a skiing and snowboarding centre at home in the UK is a great way to spend more time skiing.
Snow centres present the perfect opportunity to spruce up your skills before heading to the mountains, as well as a great way to meet like minded people. We’ve complied this nifty guide to help you find your closet centre... read on!
London and South East
To start this list off we have one of the most innovative places to learn how to ski and snowboard. Ski Zone's indoor ski slopes are very literally a large treadmill where the inclination of the slope and the speed can all be adjusted with a remote control!
Skiing and snowboarding beginners benefit from being able to hold onto a hand rail as they get their bearings and enjoy the undivided attention of a personal ski instructor. This can help you improve your confidence very quickly because you are always in control.
For anyone looking to improve their ability, the moving slope can be inclined to stimulate the speed and steepness of blue and black runs and you can observe yourself in action in the wide mirrors at the front of the room, handy for correcting any errors in your technique. A great way to find your ski legs again before the season starts!
The Snow Centre
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
One of the most famous snow centres in the UK and a favourite for the GB Winter Olympic team, the Snow Centre is cold enough for you to enjoy real snow under your feet. Built onto the side of a hill, there are two button lifts inside the centre that carry you to the highest point, where there is a relatively easy slope down to the bottom.
There are two separate areas - a small, gentle slope reserved for beginners and lessons, and the main recreational area. Equipment hire is included in your lift pass / lesson price and covers clothing rental if necessary.
The Snow Centre offers excellent beginner lessons for all ages, either in groups or privately with 1-on-1 instruction. There are also lessons for improvers, rehabilitation after an injury, and freestyle tuition. You can also go tobogganing and snow-tubing and there is even, a fully licensed alpine-themed bar, the Lodge, which overlooks all the action from the balcony.
South West and Wales
Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre
Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre boasts the longest artificial slope in the South West and the centre is easily accessible from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
Like many open air dry slope centres, on site tuition is offered for complete beginners through to improver lessons for intermediates. There are ski lessons for young children (ages 4-7), and during the school holidays the centre runs skiing and snowboarding programmes for kids.
The three long slopes are also open for recreational use. The centre also has a 650m long toboggan run that is guaranteed to get your blood pumping, and you can also go snow-tubing - a fun day out for the whole family.
The Snowtrax Alpine Adventure Centre brings a little bit of the Alps to Dorset. A lovely bar and restaurant on site serves delicious food and drink and overlooks the extensive dry ski slopes.
Beginner lessons are on offer for complete novices, with detailed and planned programmes for children, and weekly lessons for adults. Freestyle lessons are also available and there are frequent freestyle nights with competitions and prizes.
There is also an on-site ski shop selling all the gear you need for your trip to the Alps. It is well stocked with high-end brands, equipment and clothing.
East of England
Norfolk Snow Sports Club
Home of the Farmers’ Jam Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Festival, the Norfolk Snow Sports Club boasts excellent facilities for skiers and snowboarders of any level. The club is open to newcomers seeking lessons with professional instructors.
Although the doors of the club are open for members and non-members alike, being a member certainly has its perks: There are regular freestyle clubs, junior clubs for children, ladies ski evenings (complete beginners welcome) and a Masters Club for those above the age of 30 who take pride in their sport.
The dry slopes are open until 10pm an there is also a fully licensed bar in The Club House serving snacks most days.
Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire
Snozone is an indoor ski and snowboard centre where you can enjoy real snow underneath your feet. Set on a gentle slope with numerous piste features, you can enjoy the delights of skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and more, in an authentic mountain environment.
The centre offers excellent beginner lessons with trained professionals. A few hours of instruction over a series of weeks will help build your confidence before you advance onto the slopes.
Skiing and snowboarding at Chill Factore in Manchester brings the unbeatable experience of learning in the correct setting - with real snow underneath your skis and boards.
Chill Factore has the longest indoor real snow slope in the UK and guarantees lessons to suit you no matter what your ability is, or how old you are. Introduction/taster sessions are available for those unsure about committing to a whole course of lessons and once the basics have been mastered there are further courses for intermediates, advanced and specialist coaching available.
Kid’s ski and snowboard clubs are available after school and during the holidays and there are shred sessions for those with a keen interest in freestyle. Recreational freestyle nights are held regularly and are open to any advanced skier and snowboarder looking to try something different.
Also available in the Chill Factore complex is the Snow Park where you can enjoy a spot of snow-tubing, luge slip-n-slide, and sledging, and there is a Mini Mooseland for children under the age of 4.
The SnowDome in Tamworthis an enormous leisure complex with a large indoor piste and real snow. You can enjoy your beginner lessons and improver sessions in a proper Alpine environment.
There are lessons for adults, juniors and toddlers skiing and snowboarding for the first time, which can be followed up with development lessons. When the right skills have been mastered, everyone at all levels can enjoy recreational use of the slopes and there are Junior Ski and Snowboard clubs giving kids an exciting weekend and holiday activity.
The SnowDome also offers freestyle nights on Tamland Tuesdays - where freestyle skiers and snowboarders gather to practise on the boxes and kickers installed for the evening by the SnowDome.
One of the great things about the SnowDome at Tamworth is that the fun is not restricted to skiing and snowboarding. There is also ice skating, snow-tubing, sledging, and even swimming, a gym and a spa... Truly, there is something for everyone.
Scotland's only indoor snow slope, Snow Factor in Braehead is open 364 days a year and has excellent facilities for learning to ski and snowboard. And the fun doesn’t stop there!
Under the same roof as the extensive mock-ski slope sits the Baltic Ice Bar, wrap up warm and enjoy your frozen cocktails off frozen tables and chairs in a room that is constantly kept at -5°C. Patrons are provided warm jackets for their visit.
If sipping your beverages in a futuristic ice cave doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then there is the Bar Varia restaurant and Alpine-Austrian beer hall that serves delicious food and imported beers!
Food and drink aside, Snow Factor offers great lessons for budding snow sports enthusiasts and they also have ‘Refresher Clinics’ for the occasional skier/snowboarder.
There is a good freestyle culture at Snow Factor with a dedicated snow pPark assembled once a week, and coaching is offered in the 'Rookie Park' for freestyle novices.
Photo credit Mike Bell
Last but by no means least, skiing in a real resort in Great Britain! The snow in Glenshee is perfect for a bit of close-to-home skiing and snowboarding over the vast and expansive hills.
The resort offers mainly gentle green slopes leading to some blues and reds further up the mountains. The whole area is accessed by a network of chairlifts and button lifts.
Beginner lessons for all ages are offered and this is an excellent small resort to get to grips with skiing and snowboarding. Intermediate skiers can enjoy 26 blue and red runs across the resort, and advanced skiers can enjoy the two excellent black runs and the mogul hills around the resort.
Ski touring or cross-country skiing is also a favourite pastime of the people who visit Glenshee resort, and a great alternative to downhill skiing and snowboarding.