If you can’t get to the mountains for snow, you can snowboard indoor on real snow at one of the indoor ski slopes across the country. It is a great environment to learn on snow without having to pay a fortune on a ski holiday where you might discover you don’t actually like it or just can’t do it.
Snowboarding on dry slopes, groomed mountain pistes and snowy fields in England are all different experiences. I went with some friends to find out what it is like to snowboard on snow indoors at the Milton Keynes Snozone.
Much easier than a dry slope, the snow makes snowboarding and skiing indoors great fun. So much fun we didn’t want to leave.
Outside the Xscape in Milton Keynes, where the Milton Keynes Snozone can be found
We met in the bar, of course, and watched the array of brightly clothed skiers and boarders stylishly coming down the slope. Well, when I say stylishly, some of them were. There were several who were doing their best to stay in control, with that telltale sudden jerking outwards with their arms to maintain balance. There was also the occasional enthusiast who would come storming downhill appearing not to have too much regard for the art of stopping.
What is an Indoor Ski Slope Like?
The indoor ski slope at Milton Keynes Snozone has real snow. The snow is generated by massive snow cannons mounted in the ceiling. These are used overnight to create the perfect piste.
Inside the Milton Keynes Snozone Indoor Ski Slope
The indoor slope has two Poma ski tows to pull you up to the top of the slope. There is an art to using these, which you will learn if you have lessons. We discovered that the tow on the left was faster than the right as the queue was shorter, and also fewer people fell over which would result in the tow being stopped until they got out of the way.
Do I need to Bring my own Gear?
Some of us had brought our own snowboarding gear. I just brought my snowboarding clothes and body armour. I find comfort knowing that my knees, wrists and backside are protected from any fall I may have. I can tell you that falling over on a dry slope seriously hurts. Falling over on an indoor snow slope is no problem, unless you manage to twist something or hit something such as someone else or one of the many padded concrete pillars that line the slope. Fortunately, we all managed to have fun and due to our skill, avoided contact with anything.
Hire of skis and boots, or snowboard and boots, is part of the entry price. It is always advisable to use your own gear if you have it, as you know it fits and is comfortable. This time round I used the rental gear. The first pair of snowboard boots I was given were both left foot boots. They were too small as well, so I returned them and went up one size bigger than my normal shoe size. One of the bindings on the snowboard kept coming undone, so I returned it and swappped it for another. Having sorted that out, I was ready for anything.
The bindings on the rental snowboard can be adjusted to the angle of your preference. This is done by twisting the mounting plate to unlock it. You then move the binding to the angle you want and then twist the mounting plate correctly to lock it in place. If you don’t know how to do this, it is best to get the guys at the hire place to do it for you.
The Indoor Ski Slope Experience
The first run was done a bit tentatively, as we didn’t know what to expect. Some of us hadn’t been boarding for a year or more. We hadn’t been on an indoor snow ski slope before either so were careful on the first run. I was pleased to say that the first run was not bad. The snow let you go as fast or slow as you wanted. There were several lumps and bumps, but unlike snow on the piste, it was soft and you just went straight through it without too much effort. I was expecting it to knock me off balance as you would experience going off piste, or on moguls
The more runs we did, the more confident we became. The skiers amongst us were soon demonstrating their prowess and descending the indoor snow ski slope at great speed, yet with grace and style. The more experienced snowboarders were delighting us with pirouettes and jumps. The rest of us, me included, were happy to speed our way down weaving back and forth between the pillars and other snowsports enthusiasts. We even did a chain weaving down the slope one after the other.
All in all, I can highly recommend going skiing or snowboarding on an indoor snow ski slope like the one at Milton Keynes Snozone. We are already planning another trip there, and looking forwards to organising a trip to the Alps.
Where to Find Out More About Indoor Snow Ski Slopes
There are a couple of indoor snow ski slopes in the UK.
- The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead
- Snozone at the Xscape, Milton Keynes
- The SnowDome at Tamworth
- The Chill Factor, Trafford
- The Snozone, Castleford
- The Snow Factor, Braehead, Scotland