13th Oct 2012 12:49pm | By Helen Elfer
You don’t need your passport to master the powder this winter – we find Britain’s best ski slopes to practice on closer to home
Save yourself a few quid this year by skipping the pricey ski trips abroad. Rather than fork out for flights and expensive accommodation in the Alps or the US, you can hit up slopes much closer to home for a bargain snowy session.
Across the country there are centres offering tip-top skiing and snowboarding facilities.
And we’re not talking about any of that uninspiring dry rubber nonsense – these places have plenty of the white stuff (or at least the man-made version) to practice on. Wrap up warm and get involved at our pick of the biggest and best slopes in the country.
The White Stuff: Crisp, powdery snow covers the steep 170m slope at SnowDome – perfect for practising your plough technique or snowboard turns.
With two 25m- and 30m-long teaching slopes in the Snow Academy areas, separated from the fast-paced chaos of the main skiing stretch, it’s ideal for newbies.
Book an hour’s lesson for £27 and turn up wearing warm clothes, the rest – equipment and protecive head gear – is provided.
More chilly thrills: Adrenaline tubing is every bit as fun as it sounds. Plonk yourself in one of the inflatable rings
– specially designed to glide smoothly over snow – and hurtle down the slopes at top speed.
The best thing about tubing here is that it’s for big kids only, so you can go hell for leather without having to spend time waiting behind a queue of tots. A 30-minute session is £9.
The white stuff: As if Manchester wasn’t chilly enough already, Chill Factore’s 180m slope brings the temperature down even further, as it’s a shivery -1.5ºC inside.
There’s a great snowboarding scene here, with taster sessions (£27 for an hour-long group lesson) for newbies.
If you’re already a bit of a pro, you can take private lessons to learn even flashier flips and spins. You big show off.
More chilly thrills: Does riding an ‘Avalanche’ sound extreme enough for you? If you’re not put off by visions of being buried alive in a snowstorm, give snow-sphering a roll.
You’ll be harnessed in to a huge plastic ball, which is four metres in diameter, then pushed down the slope, getting up to an exhilarating 30mph.
Turning 360 degrees, this isn’t for the faint-hearted – you’ll have to steady your shaking knees after with a stiff après-ski drink at the bar overlooking the slopes. Snow-sphering costs £24.50 for a two-hour session.