I’m living in the UK, and you may be wondering where people ski. Well outside of Scotland, which can be hit or miss snow-wise, or travelling to Europe or Whistler (the British hot spots) people actually go here:
Yes, indoors! This place blew my mind. There are a few of these in the United Kingdom and also one, maybe two, indoor ice climbing centres (yes -RE not -ER). The entire thing is like one huge refrigerator with a tow rope and two Poma lifts. They set up race courses, pull out rails and boxes for tricks, and have free rentals.
For around $50 you get two hours of skiing “For those who can control their speed, link turns, stop and use the button lift without supervision” (say this in your best British accent). I actually asked if I could bring my skins and race the Poma lift to the top or bring my nordic gear and do uphill laps but they said it would be a safety issue so I was denied access. Lame.
I know of nordic indoor ski tunnels in Finland, Sweden, and Germany and my home stomping ground of Minnesota has kicked around the idea of an indoor nordic tunnel as well. But this indoor alpine skiing was surreal, and the snow wasn’t half bad either (all things considered)! I couldn’t tell what they groomed with, and forgot to ask, but I did spot snowcat tracks so I’m assuming they used a smaller sized snowcat that some places use for nordic ski trails. I also couldn’t spot any snow making equipment, but with such limited space all of this stuff was hidden behind the scenes.
The ski shop linked to the Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre had a huge selection of alpine skis, a few that could pass for AT or tele skis, a couple pairs of AT boots (Scarpa’s) and the new Marker Tour F12 (which we’ll have at Alpenglow). All pretty amazing from a country that, outside of Scotland) gets little skiable snow.