With the surfacing of numerous indoor snow centres in the UK over the last two decades, and their offer of authentic snow, dry ski slopes have become somewhat of the unloved older sibling. Here at Mpora we think that's a crying shame because dry ski slopes, although far from perfect, have been a gateway to mountain skiing for so many people (ourselves included) that we think it's about time someone made a song and dance about them for a change.
Rather than sit here and just list every dry slope centre in the UK, we've decided to cherry-pick some of the most well-known ones around. Even if your local one isn't listed here, we'd still recommend you head on down to your nearest dry slope once in a while.
These centres are by no means perfect replications of alpine slopes, far from it in fact, but a visit to them will certainly help you to build up your confidence and get used to turning and moving at speed on skis (or a snowboard, if that's your weapon of choice). They're also consistently cheaper than the indoor snow centres. Just don't fall over, OK. It will really, really, hurt. Or so we're told. We obviously never fall over *looks around sheepishly*.
1) Snowtrax - Dorset
Snowtrax in Dorset is home to the UK's largest independent ski and snowboard retailer. Their dedicated team of hardware testers, and knowledgable boot fitters, will ensure that any purchase you make here is up to the standard you need it to be.
In terms of pricing, adults can get a one hour ski session for £13.50 or a two hour ski session for £14.95. The equipment hire will set you back £3.50, so that's something additional to consider if you don't own your own planks.
An annual pass for adults costs £260, granting buyer's unlimited recreational practice all-year round as well as invitations to snowboard and ski test nights, special discounts, and access to promotional events. For additional information on pricing, visit the Snowtrax lift pass page on their website.
The Snowtrax slope is the only big slope in England to use a special type of surface called ProSlope. It is, according to the centre's digital marketing manager Andy McPhail, "...way better than dendix or snowflex."
2) Cardiff Ski And Snowboard Centre
The slope in Cardiff opened in 1969, and was one of the first dry ski slopes in the UK. The original slope was 90 metres in length, but it has since been extended to 100 metres.
The Cardiff Ski and Snowboard Centre is situated 10 minutes from the Welsh capital's city centre. It hosts lessons for a full-variety of abilities and ages, as well as school events and competitions.
Adults can ski on the dry slope here for £12 an hour, or get an all-day pass for £20. The all-day pass is probably the way to go, as even if you only ski for two hours you'll have saved yourself £4. An unlimited 12 month pass for adults will set you back £180. For more information on Cardiff's various costs and deals, check out the prices page on their website.
3) Ski Rossendale
If you thought Lancashire had nothing to offer you except hot pots and War of the Roses history talks, think again. Lancashire is home to some of the country's most breathtaking scenery and, we're happy to report, one of the UK's finest dry slope centres.
The main slope at Ski Rossendale is an impressive 200 metres long. If busting tricks is more you're thing however, you'll be happy to know that there's also a freestyle park and quarter pipe to sharpen your moves on. For beginners, there's a nice nursery slope to learn the ropes on.
An adult pass for two hours costs £20; an adult pass for four hours costs £30. Unlimited recreational use of the facility for a month is £60; for a year it's £360. If you'd like to know more about how much Rossendale costs, have a butcher's at the dry ski slope prices section on their website.
4) Suffolk Ski Centre
Part of Suffolk Leisure Park, the Suffolk Ski Centre is home to a 180 metre long main slope. This centre for dry slope skiing and snowboarding, located in Ipswich, is also home to a toboggan run.
A standard session, that lasts anything up to one and a half hours, costs £15 for adults and £11 for members. A standard session for children under 15 costs £10, and £8 if the child is a member.
One of the best things they do at the Suffolk Ski Centre are £12 Tuesdays. The price includes a two hour ski pass and equipment hire. For more information on this, and the cost of things such as lessons, why not hop on over to the pricing page on the SSC website.
5) Llandudno Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre
Llandudno Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre is home to Britain's longest toboggan run. The PermaSnow ski slope, situated in North Wales, also offers skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Situated 415ft above sea level, the dry slope facility offers spectacular views of Llandudno and the Irish sea.
The price list on the LSSSC website is pretty in-depth, and well worth a look if you want to see the wide variety of deals, events, and sessions that they offer in Llandudno.
6) Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre
Pay a visit to Plymouth and you'll be making a pilgrimage to the longest artificial slope in the South West. The Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre is easily accessible from Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset. Group lessons and private lessons, for skiers of different abilities, are on offer here.
With such a wide variety of things on offer at the centre, we recommend you take a look at the full price-list on the Plymouth Ski Slope website (and an afternoon off-work, to make sense of it all).
7) Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre
Located on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds, on the outskirts of Gloucester, the Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre rises up like the parthenon of dry slope skiing in the UK. The main slope is 230 metres long, but if that sounds a little bit too spicy for your disposition there's also a fun park and nursery slope for you to enjoy.
Depending on whether you go in low season or high season, an adult session at Gloucester costs either £18 or £22. A day ticket, which runs from 10am until closing, is either £25 or £30 (again, this is dependent on whether you go in low season or high season). For more information on the prices at Gloucester, visit the official website.
8) Norfolk Snowsports Clubs
It would be easy for us to turn a discussion about dry slope skiing in Norfolk into a good old fashioned Alan Partridge quote-a-thon but, despite the overwhelming temptation, we're instead going to give you some useful information on what this particular centre offers and how much it costs to use it.
The main slope is 170 metres long, and there's a nursery slope that hosts courses for beginners if you're still a bit of a kook. An adult pass for one hour costs £6 which, when compared to other prices, definitely comes out at the cheaper end of the dry slope pricing scale. For more information, see Norfolk Snowsports prices.
The centre is also affiliated with Special Olympics UK, and hosts adaptive sessions for people with disabilities on a fortnightly basis.