As the winter approaches and skiers and snowboarders start to think about booking their next ski holidays, the indoor snow slopes that are now ubiquitous across Europe and the UK start to see visitor numbers rise.
I took a trip up to the original and oldest set up in the UK, the Snowdome in Tamworth. The amazing thing about the Snowdome is that it has been open since 1994 (carving skis were not even invented, well not in use anyway). But, you would not know it when you walk in the doors. Extensive refurbishments of the centres facilities which have been built around the snow slope gives the impression of a brand new, highly modern entertainment venue.
Photo: The indoor ski slope at The Tamworth SnowDome
In the middle of a summers day, with temperatures in the high 20’s, skiing never seems like a great idea. Still, in a way, heading into a refrigerated environment on a hot day can be a rather pleasant experience. My 2 year old daughter joined my wife and had one of her first real experiences of playing in the snow in the dedicated children’s play area. Slightly worrying was the fact that she didn’t last too long and complained about the snow being too cold, but she did enjoy the sledging.
The slope itself is 170 meters long and has a ‘dog leg’ turn pretty close to the top. This is an interesting addition and although I don’t think it adds to the skiing experience it doesn’t really take anything away either.
Two ski lifts service the main slope with one travelator and one button tow. I went on a Sunday and although the slope was quite busy I never queued, which surprised me. I’m sure in the winter there can be queuing involved but I get the impression the travelator lift is pretty efficient.
We all know the limitations of any indoor ski facility but they are great places to learn to ski or snowboard and the Snowdome has many options for lessons at every level, including instructor training. There are 2 learner areas which they call ‘Academy slopes’ for beginners.
Whilst I took to the slope, my family spent some time in the restaurant area and commented on how good the facilities were and how easy it was to see the skiing in action. Thumbs up on the food as well, which is high praise indeed. If you don’t fancy a large meal then an in-house Starbucks provides, well, you know what. For me that was a very welcome cup of coffee before the drive home.
I have no doubt that we will see many more indoor snow slopes opening up in the UK during the near future, but I was glad to find the original centre will not be left behind and will continue to provide a great skiing facility in the Midlands region.
Further details on the Tamworth SnowDome website.