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Though we lack Alpine resorts in the UK, thanks to our indoor slopes, dendex and Scottish ski hills we have one of the largest and most promising ski and snowboard scenes in Europe. We may not match the Alpine and Nordic nations in terms of Olympic medals but we have a promising future with our three times X-Games Gold Medal winner Jenny Jones and groms like Jamie Nicholls, at 16 years old, making an impact in snowboarding's TTR World Championship.
Now not all of us have the time, talent or tenacity to make a living strapped to wood, metal and plastic whilst hurtling down a mountain or thorough the air, but we still love to get some pre-holiday turns in. Well, with six indoor slopes currently open and over 40 dry slopes out there, there is plenty of choice to get your skiing legs in shape or to get your snowboarding fix in between holidays. Thanks to the Passport Diary blog we have a veritable list of slopes for you to head to in the coming weeks.
Link to Indoor Skiing UK map
1. Xscape Braehead,, Kings Inch Road, Braehead, Renfrew, PA4 8XQ Telephone: 0871 200 3222 | Hours: 09:00 - 23:00 (Daily) 2. Chill Factore, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Trafford Way, Manchester, M41 7JA Telephone: 0161 749 2222 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 3. Xscape Castleford, Colorado Way, Glasshoughton, Castleford, Yorkshire, WF10 4TA Telephone: 0871 200 3221 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 4. SnOasis, Great Blakenham, Suffolk Telephone: 020 7491 4634 | Hours: Due to open in 2012 5. Snowdome, Leisure Island, River Drive, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7ND Telephone: 08705 000 011 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 6. Xscape Milton Keynes, 602 Marlborough Gate, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3XS Telephone: 0871 200 3220 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 7. The Snow Centre, St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP3 9NH Telephone: 0845 258 900 | Hours: 09.00 to 22.15 (Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun) 09:00 to 23:00 (Fri) 8. Cornwall Winter Park, Address currently undisclosed. Telephone: TBA | Hours: Opening Date TBA
Link to Dry Ski Slopes map
1. Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, Biggar Road, near Edinburgh, EH10 7DU Telephone: 0131 445 4433 | Hours: 09:30 to 21:00 (Mon-Sat) 09:30 to 19:00 (Sun) 2. Glasgow Ski Centre, Bellahouston Park, 16 Dumbreck Rd, Glasgow, G41 5BW Telephone: 0141 427 4991 | Hours: Pone for details 3. Knockbracken Ski Centre, 20 Ballymaconaghy Road, Belfast, Antrim Telephone: 1232 795 666 | Hours: Phone slope for details 4. Golf And Ski Centre, Tullymoyra Lane, Silverwood, Lurgan, Craigavon, Armagh, BT66 6NG Telephone: 028 3832 6606 | Hours: Phone slope for details 5. Sportsman Inn & Leisure, Bradford Old Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 6UG Telephone: 01422 340 760 | Hours: Phone slope for details 6. Llandudno Ski Centre, John Nike Complex, Great Orme, Llandudno, LL30 2QL Telephone: 01492 874 707 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 7. Ski Club of Ireland, Kilternan, Co. Dublin Telephone: 01 295 5658 | Hours: Phone slope for details 8. Kidsgrove Ski Centre, Bathpool Park, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4EF Telephone: 01782 784 908 | Hours: Phone slope for details 9. Stoke Ski Centre>, Festival Way, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5PU Telephone: 01782 204 159 | Hours: Phone slope for details 10. Swadlincote Ski Centre, Hill Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 8LP Telephone: 01283 217 200 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 11. Norfolk Ski Club, Whitlingham Lane, Trowse, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 8TW Telephone: 01603 662 781 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Mon-Fri & Sun) 10:00 to 19:00 (Sat) 12. The Ackers, Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, B10 0LG. Telephone: 0121 772 5111 | Hours: 10:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri), 10:00 to 17:00 (Weekends) 13. Gosling Ski and Board Centre, Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6XE Telephone: 01707 384 384 | Hours: 12:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri) 09:00 to 16:00 (Weekends) 14. Cardiff Ski Centre, 198 Fairwater Road, Fairwater, Cardiff, CF5 3JR Telephone: 02920 561 793 | Hours: Phone slope for details 15. Bracknell Ski Slope, John Nike Way, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8TN Telephone: 01344 789 002 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 16. Sandown Sports, More Lane, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8AN Telephone: 01372 467 132 | Hours: Phone slope for details 17. Chatham Ski Centre, Chatham Ski Centre, Alpine Park, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 3JH Telephone: 01634 827 979 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 18. Christ's College Ski Club, Larch Avenue, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1JY Telephone: 01483 504 988 | Hours: 09.00 to 22.30 (Mon-Fri & Sun), 09:00 to 16:30 (Sat) 19. Alpine Snow Sports, Gallwey Road, Aldershot, Hants, GU11 2DD Telephone: 01252 325 889 | Hours: 10:15 to 21:45 (Mon-Fri), 12.15 to 18.30 (Weekends) 20. Southampton Alpine Centre, Bassett, Southampton, SO16 7AY Telephone: 02380 790 970 | Hours: Phone slope for details 21. Knockhatch Ski & Snowboard Centre, Hailsham Bypass, Hailsham, BN27 3GD Telephone: 01323 843 344 | Hours: 18:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri) 10:00 to 18:00 (Weekends) 22. Plymouth Ski & Snowboard Centre, Alpine Park, Plymouth, Devon, PL6 8LQ Telephone: 01752 600 220 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 23. Suffolk Ski Centre, Bourne Hill, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 UK Telephone: 01473 602 347 | Hours: Phone slope for details 24. Brentwood Ski Centre, Warley Gap, Brentwood, Essex, CM13 3DP Telephone: 01277 211 994 | Hours: Phone slope for details 25. Bassingbourn Snowsport Centre, Royston, Cambridgeshire, SG8 5LX Telephone: 08450 728 293 | Hours: Phone slope for details 26. Christchurch Ski Centre, Matchams Lane, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6AW Telephone: 01202 499 155 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Fri), 09:00 - 23:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 22:00 (Sun) 27. Bromley Ski Centre, Sandy Lane, St. Paul's Cray, Orpington, Kent, BR5 3HY. Telephone: 01689 876 812 | Hours: 12:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Thu), 10:00 - 22:00 (Fri), 09:00 - 19:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 20:00 (Sun) 28. Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre, Matson Lane, Robinswood Hill, Gloucester, GL4 6EA Telephone: 01452 874842 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Wed), 10:00 - 18:30 (Thu) 10:00 - 22:00 (Fri), 00:00 - 18:00 (Sat/Sun) 29. Pendle Ski Club, Clitheroe Road, Sabden, Lancashire, BB7 9HN Telephone: 01200 425222 | Hours: Phone slope for details 30. Kendal Ski Club, Canal Head North, Kendal, LA9 7BY Telephone: 0845 6345 173 | Hours: Phone slope for details 31. Pontypool, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB Telephone: 01495 756955 | Hours: Phone slope for details 32. Ski Rossendale, Haslingden Old Road, Rossendale, BB4 8RR Telephone: 01706 226457 | Hours: 13:00 - 21:00 (Mon-Fri), 13:00 - 17:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 17:00 (Sun) 33. Sunderland Ski Centre, Silksworth Sports Complex, Silksworth, Tyne & Wear, SR2 3AW Telephone: 0191 553 5785 | Hours: Phone slope for details 34. Bowles, Sandhill Lane, Eridge Green, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 9LW Telephone: 01892 665665 | Hours: Phone slope for details 35. Folkestone Ski Centre, Radnor Park Avenue, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5HX Telephone: 01303 850333 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Fri), 10:00 - 18:00 (Sat/Sun) 36. Calshot Activities Centre, Calshot Spit, Fawley, Southampton, Hampshire, SO45 1BR Telephone: 023 8089 2077 | Hours: Phone slope for details 37. Avon Ski & Action Centre, Lyncombe Drive, Churchill, North Somerset, BS25 5PQ Telephone: 01934 852335 | Hours: Phone slope for details 38. Dorset Snowsport Centre, Warmwell Road, Dorset, DT2 8JE Telephone: 01305 853 245 | Hours: Phone slope for details 39. Swansea Ski Centre, Upper Bank, Swansea, SA1 7DB Telephone: 01792 645639 40. Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Belmont Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2DJ Telephone: 01392 253353 | Hours: Phone slope for details 41. Oval Ski Club, Wirral, Liverpool, Merseyside, CH63 7LF Telephone: 0151 645 2452 | Hours: Phone slope for details 42. Telford Snowboard & Ski Centre, Court Street, Madeley, Telford, TF7 5DZ Telephone: 01952 382688 | Hours: Phone slope for details 43. Ski Village, 4 Vale Road, Sheffield, S3 9SJ Telephone: 0114 276 9459 | Hours: 14:00 to 22:00 (Wed-Fri), 10:00 to 19:00 (Weekends)
P.S. The dry slopes are more fun after a bit of rain.
Many of us in days gone by wished for the life of a professional skier or snowboarder. Waking up everyday to go and hike the latest line with some friends and a camera man, honing our latest tricks in the park in the afternoon and then enjoying a few aprés ski beers ready to do it all again the following day.
Ok, so the closest most of us have ever been to that is working in a chalet or bar and hitting the mountain at every opportunity, the only beers we enjoyed were on those nights our bodies weren't crying for bed by 9pm. I may be understating the training required, traveling needed and constant drive to be the best that the pro-riders endure. Unfortunately there aren't too many of us that can match Travis Rice or Candide Thovex.
The one thing that we do all forget is what a professional snowboarder or skier do once they hang up their boots. There are few whose efforts to support their dreams turn into their next career. So Graham Bell and Ed Leigh may keep us entertained whilst watching BBC snowsports but there are not many who have been brave enough to start a business based on our own interests and succeeded. Queue Gilly Seagrave.
For those who know Gilly she is a perfectionist. She has been around the British scene for some time and still gets cracking pictures for her sponsors, coaches budding young riders with Our Camp and her boutique clothes brand EKA is taking off.
EKA is Gilly's new passion and pride and started off as a way of financing snowboarding by making beanies for her friends. Thanks to her partner Nils, who convinced her she could do much more than sell a few hats in Morzine, EKAwear was born and the brand already has a fantastic selection of boutique clothing. The items look just at home in the streets of Morzine or Courchevel as they do on Oxford Street or the Kings Road.
The collections produced by EKA are fantastic accessories that not only look stunning but are ecologically friendly and ethically produced. With more and more brands taking this approach the winter sports scene is trying to preserve the mountains in their own way. Patagonia work tirelessly on their carbon footprint in both production and distribution, and brands like Volcom and Quicksilver offer ranges using recycled or sustainable materials.
When was the last time you watched the Winter X-games or Olympics and the podium was full of over 35s? Next time you hit the slopes and are watching kids inverted in the park, dropping huge cliffs or race training just wonder to yourself what will they do when it's all over. Like with most sports
Written by Stephen Adam
This year one of the most successful athletes in the world of winter sports has the chance to be nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. She may not be an Olympian and she competes in a sport that may not be as fashionable on the high street and football, Formula 1 or rugby but Jenny Jones deserves a nomination. Though the official nominations are not until November there is already a growing Facebook campaign for possibly the country's most successful snowboarder to gain a nomination.
Jenny Jones has had an incredible season for winter 2010. She has won both gold medals for the women's slopestyle in Winter X-Games held in Aspen and the first ever European X-Games in Tignes. This added to last year's gold in Aspen takes her to an unprecedented three X-Games gold medals in the sports premier competition.
Jenny has not only been successful over the past two seasons in the Winter X-Games but has plenty more gold medals to add to her collection including triumphs over the past seasons at the Burton US Open in Apsen, Burton European Open in Laax, the Roxy Chicken Jam, the Nissan Nippon Open and of course The Brits also held in Laax. Jenny Jones has also had several top 6 results in the TTR World Snowboard Tour since 2006.
Not only is Jenny a world class snowboarder she is great person too. If you are ever out in Morzine there is every chance you will bump into her on the slopes or at the Cavern with her friends and the usual resort locals. If the BBC Sports Personality of the Year was awarded on personality alone Jenny arguably has more charisma, charm and is more personable than Wayne Rooney, Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Pietersen put together.
If we can get the British snow sports fans behind Jenny Jones then we may get a more charismatic winner and someone we can relate to more than previous years gone by. Jenny Jones loves snowboarding, is highly influential in British snowboarding scene and is one of the top athletes in the world at her profession. If ever a snow sports enthusiast deserves to be commended for their achievements then Jenny Jones truly does.
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