Winter is slowly easing its way in to Spring. There are snowdrops and crocuses on all the road sides and the daffodils are tilting their heads ready to bloom. Yet, there is one activity that sees me longing for snow – skiing.
I spent last week in Flaine, enjoying perfect fresh powder, except for the odd occasion when the chair lifts were closed due to too much snow!
As an intermediate skier I am quite happy pootling down long sweeping blues and taking on the odd red. Flaine offered a fantastic mix of both. It may have been purpose built in the 1960’s, which makes it architecturally uninspiring (I prefer traditional wooden chalets) but the mountains themselves are stunning. There are plenty of tree lined routes, views out to Mount Blanc, and it’s a wildlife conservation area – not that you see much of the wildlife, just the odd mountain goat.
It’s been 3 years since I last skied and I was pleased to discover that it is just like riding a bike – in the sense that it came back almost straight away.
If you’re a fan of the snow and can’t wait for next winter to get back to the slopes, I would recommend a visit to the Chill Factore in Manchester. It’s no comparison to crisp mountain air and sunshine, but it is well equipped with snow activities for all ages and abilities.
I’ve been twice now. Once was for a ski taster before my first ski trip. It was just enough skiing to convince me that I wanted to learn for real.
My second visit was a few weeks ago, when I took my nephew for a snow boarding taster and an hour in the snow park. I wasn’t very impressed with the boarding taster session. In comparison to what I remember doing in my ski taster they hardly seemed to do anything, and only had time for 3 slides down the slope. He enjoyed it though and of course wanted to go back the following day for a proper lesson!
I have been waiting for an excuse to try the snow park! It’s great fun for kids of all ages. I love sledging and we don’t get many opportunities around here. The downhill donuts and the luge also provided much hilarity, bringing out our competitive sides as we tried to get the fastest time.
It’s not a cheap day out, but to visit every once in a while, it is nice to do something a bit different. Plus it’s an active way to spend an afternoon that doesn’t rely on the weather.
So, with snow sports out of my system for the time being, it’s time to look forward to the longer, warmer days of spring. I can’t wait to get my walking shoes on and get out in to the peaks. And it’s only 8 1/2 weeks till the Manchester 10k run, possibly my favourite sporting event of the year.
Chill Factore Prices:
1 hour in the snow park costs £20.00
Junior ski / snowboard taster session costs £22.00