Skiing Lessons In The UK: Where Should You Go If You Want To Learn To Ski Before Your Trip?
Want to go skiing, but don't know how to do it? You need to get yourself some ski lessons.
In the same way that you shouldn't run before you can walk, you shouldn't be trying to ski gnarly lines at insane speeds down icy mountains before you've at least gone and mastered some of the basics. What's the best way to learn the basics? With lessons, of course.
Now, you can always book yourself some lessons for when you arrive at your ski destination. This is something that thousands of people do every year, and it's a tactic we'd recommend if you're new to skiing...or your confidence is low.
That being said, if you do want to spend more of your ski holiday actually skiing and less time looking lovingly into the dreamy eyes of a French instructor and/or falling onto your arse, or face, or hands, or genitals then we'd definitely suggest you get some skiing lessons before you go.
Despite the shortage of ski resorts in the UK (don't worry Scotland, we haven't forgotten about you), our island is relatively chockablock with places to learn the art of sliding down snowy hills - whether that be on a snowboard or pair of skis. To help you get things off on the right foot, we've compiled a guide to some of the very best places to learn skiing in the UK.
Not only is 'Chel-ski' a well known nickname for Chelsea FC during the trophy-laden era of Russian owner Roman Ambramovich, it's also the name of London's largest indoor ski centre; located, unsurprisingly, a mere stone's throw from the Chelsea FC stadium Stamford Bridge.
The best way to describe the Chel-ski set-up, if you haven't got time to watch the video (see below) is that it's sort of like a giant running treadmill that you can ski on constantly without the need to stop or get a button-lift back up to the top. The angle and speed of this "treadmill" is fully adjustable and has a large mirror at the front that allows you study your form and technique much like a ballerina would.
For adults, a one hour session is priced at £39.95 - with differing discounts offered if you book multiple sessions in one go. A one hour session for juniors is £34.95. A session includes tuition, supervision, feedback from a qualified instructor, and all equipment hire (helmets are mandatory for under 12s). To schedule a session, or for more price information, visit the book online section of the Chel-ski website.
The Snow Centre (Hemel Hempstead)
One of the best things about learning to ski at one of the UK's numerous indoor snow centres is that you'll be learning to ski on actual snow. You'll be picking up the basics of skiing on a surface that very much resembles the thing you'll be skiing on in the Alps or wherever else your ski holiday takes you. In terms of getting your confidence up, this is absolutely ideal.
For people who live down London way, The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead is ideally situated and offers a 160 metre long main slope with a separate one for beginner lessons off to one side. Those looking to sort out ski or snowboard lessons here, or in need of further information, should visit the lessons page on The Snow Centre website.
Another great spot to find your ski legs in the UK is the SnowDome in Tamworth. The SnowDome in Tamworth opened in 1994, making it the UK's first full-sized recreational indoor ski slope. Its main slope is 170 metres long, with the centre also home to a learner slope that's perfect for total beginners.
Tamworth offers lessons for a variety of different skill sets. So whether you've never done it before or you want to polish up more nuanced aspects of your technique, the SnowDome has got you covered.
This place offers flexible options for people wanting to learn skiing through skiing lessons. You might, for example, want to consider splashing out £169 on their 'Learn To Ski In One Day' course. This crash course offers a complete day of ski coaching, plus a free lunch and drinks.
If a full day sounds a bit too much like hard work, Tamworth also offers a chance to dip your toe in with a slightly less intense two hour lesson (priced at £64). There's also 'Plough To Parallel', and 'Parallel Performance' lessons for those adult skiers a little further along the learning curve. For more details on the skiing lessons offered at the 'Tam', visit the ski lessons section on the SnowDome website.
Other Indoor Snow Centres In The UK
Dry Slope Skiing In The UK
A potential alternative to indoor snow centres, or the treadmill-style learning equipment on offer at Chel-ski, are dry slope centres. The skiing at a dry slope is, for obvious reasons, very different from the skiing at locations which manufacture their own snow. However, they can be a great place to practice turns and learn how to stop. For more on dry slopes in the UK (specifically England and Wales), and where to find them, take a look at our guide on the subject.