Renna's Discoveries: I've started Ski-ing Again at Hemel Snow Center #GetMoreWinter

Monday, October 31, 2016

I've started Ski-ing Again at Hemel Snow Center #GetMoreWinter

When I was younger, 10, I think, I started to learn how to ski. My Mum had already started to learn how to ski when we were at school as she wanted to try something new that would help with fitness, getting her out of the house, and doing something for just her. (Any stay at home mum will understand this line!!) So, then she thought myself and my brother should learn too, as she really enjoyed it.
We've always lived in Hertfordshire and the only place to learn to ski is in Hemel Hempstead. However, many years ago, it was a dry ski slope, which basically felt like ski-ing on flat broom bristles. I don't really know how it works, but it hurt when you fell, and you only wore gloves to protect your hands. The bonus of learning on a dry slope, is that it's not that cold and you don't get stuck in the snow, but the massive downside is that you're not actually learning to ski on real snow, so when you do go ski-ing for the first time on snow..... it is Very different and there is so much more to learn.
Once myself and my brother had learnt enough, my Mum booked a holiday away with other family members and friends that wanted to learn. So, we then travelled to Austria and Romania and when I was 15 I went to France with my school on a ski-ing holiday. Years later when I was 23 I went to Switzerland to try snowboarding. I'd never tried it before, and I found it very limiting. I felt a bit stuck on a board, and wasn't hugely keen. Plus I think I scared myself, as one one occasion, I stupidly took both my feet out of the holders, whilst on a mountain, and proceeded to watch my board just slide down the mountain on its own, and then fly off the cliff........ never to be seen by me again. hummm, so I think I've tarnished it, although, I would like to give it another go. Anyway, I ended up paying for that board, as I was young and stupid and didn't get insurance. You live and learn !! Apart from that, we had the best holiday, laughed A lot and Switzerland is just beautiful.
Ski-ing holidays are such fun. You wake up, have a huge breakfast, then get on all your layers of clothing and then walk to the ski hire centres to pick up your skis and boots. Most ski-centres will let you hire the boots and skis for the week, so you can store them at your chalet or hotel to make the morning rush easier.
Now I just want to point out, that if you've never put a pair of ski boots on, you must !!! It's the nearest you'll ever get to proper moon boots. (Plus its great exercise for the leg muscles). They are a mission to get on and a mission to get off, but its worth it, as they are on All day when you are on holiday.
So 23 was the last time, I remember being on snow on holiday. My parents have been ski-ing for years and years now and I think they've been every nearly year since my Dad learnt to ski. They have their own boots and ski's and all the gear and they have many friends that ski too, so they always go away in large groups.
So now my kiddies are old enough - 8 and 5, my parents suggested that they learn to ski too, and then we can all go on holiday together eventually.
So... over 20 years later I went back to The Snow Centre, and it has changed A LOT!!! It is now all SNOW, and one of the best in the whole of the UK. People travel for hours to ski here.
The first dry slope was built in 1978 next to an original skate park, and then Hemel Ski Centre actually opened in 1982 and was incredibly successful until 2008 when it eventually closed to become Hemel Snow Centre. It took a year to complete and it was so great even Olympians trained there, and still do.
This is the main slope with the button lifts. (This photo was taken very early in the morning, it very rarely looks this quiet)
This is the training slope. They start on the right side, and as they get better they move over onto the left side and then...the main slope.
This is the fun party slopes for the snow rings. The kids absolutely love this. Mine haven't been on this, but I've seen plenty of parties and it looks awesome.
I actually went on my birthday in March of this year to meet my parents for lunch. Unfortunately , my eldest wasn't well that day, but as it was my birthday, I took her with me to have a sneezy family birthday lunch. She saw the snow and the centre and really really wanted to learn. I was nervous, as I kept thinking that its going to get very expensive.

Now, ski-ing can be Very Expensive, but it really doesn't have to be. You just have to be clever with how you purchase lessons and clothing. (Mountain Warehouse and Trespass are brilliant ski clothes for those on a budget and you can also shop at Sports Direct for ski clothes, and another brand I've just found, who originate in France is Decathlon.co.uk) There are always deals to be had, if you do it at the right time of year. Now if you don't have a budget, then I absolutely love Spyder Clothing it's amazing, and it is sold at the Snow Centre in their Snow & Rock Shop.

For the kids we booked a taster lesson for just £18 each for an hour to see what they thought about learning ski-ing, and they loved it. So we arranged for them to start learning on special summer package with the Snow Centre. This worked out at £22 a lesson for six lessons. Which when you compare it to a day out or going out for dinner, its not much, and considering the kids loved it. It's all worth it.
Here you can see the training classes and another way of partying at the Snow Centre in the snow rings.

So my kiddies, passed up to level 6, which you need to be able to ski on the main slope without an instructor. So the kids are sorted, and now it's my turn to get my ski legs back on.
For October, we paid for a family monthly pass for £150 which meant, that two adults and two children could ski on the main slopes unlimited times within the month. This amazing deal is on just a few times in the year and it is so worth it.
Thankfully, as I've spent this year trying to loose weight to get back to pre-baby body, my old ski clothes still fit !! So that was also a saving for me !! Woohoo.
Also as it had been such a long time, I really didn't fancy an audience. So I booked a private lesson for an hour when the kids were at school and no one was around. Well that's what I thought.
The snow centre get brand new equipment in throughout the year as it all gets worn through very quickly. So here are hardly worn Head Ski Boots, and I love them, even if they are a mission to get on. So when you rent their equipment, it is always fabulous quality.

So in my private lesson, I showed my instructors (yes I was lucky I managed to get two) what I could remember, and he reminded me of the exact way to ski, and feel more in my feet and how my legs should be. So once I put his advise into my ski-ing, I instantly felt the difference. And that was it, within the hour, I went from the small training, to the large training to the main slope. It was amazing that after all those years.... well over 14 years ago, I could ski. Which made me feel even happier that the kids are learning now, as it is literally a skill for life.
Whilst I was learning, my dad and his friend turned up to go ski-ing.....so I had an audience after all. But, it was fine, as after my lesson, because we had the pass, I stayed on with my dad and we skied together which was nice.
So here is the view from the top of the main slope. It does look quite high but, you are soon down it, and back on the button lift ready for the next run.
As I felt confident, I could then arrange to ski with the kids on the main slope. So with the family pass, I booked as many sessions as we could, so we could truely make the most of it. Instead of going away for October half term, we skied instead.

We all even went to an event at the snow centre that Crystal Holidays had arranged. They wanted to spread the joy of ski-ing and snowboarding to newbies, however we went with our pass and stopped in to say hello. They are all lovely staff, and Hemel Snow Centre have Crystal Holiday staff in all the time, so you can book your snow holidays direct from the centre. You can also change up your money and buy your complete snow outfits from Snow & Rock.

Crystal Holidays are amazing. They have hotels, self catering chalets and catered chalets, all over the world. The main countries are France, Austria, Canada, Andorra, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, USA, Slovenia and Germany.
Even if you've never skied or snowboarded, you can still spend your week abroad learning and sightseeing. All the towns are beautiful, and a lot of places, have alternative activities as well. Like horse drawn sleigh rides, tubing, snowshoe walking, snowmobiles, bowling, ice-skating, hot springs and spa treatments and many many more. I can't wait to book up, but we need a really good family venue, so there is something for everyone, and great ski schools.

So if you fancy getting more winter, start learning, or just get yourself booked up with Crystal Holidays and learn on the slopes abroad.

If you prefer to book when you are more experienced, then definitely try Hemel Snow Centre. They have literally everything for you to learn in. The slopes, the skis, the boards, the clothes, and the best instructors.

Get More Winter and Have Fun.