Neither me or the boys’ dad have ever been to any form of dry ski slope before (or actual skiing for that matter!) so we did not really know what to expect from The Snow Centre but we were really keen to take the kids and see what they made of it. When we mentioned to Mr Z and Mr T that we were taking them sledging, they were so excited!
The Snow Centre offer a range of skiing lessons for adults or children, parties, and indoor slope activities like sledging which is what we went for.
When you arrive at The Snow Centre you will be able to hire your snow clothes (jacket and trousers), boots and helmets. The rules are that anyone taking part in skiing or sledging must wear a helmet, and boots. For younger children who are just playing in the snow and not sledging (like Mr R) they are okay in wellies. The Snow Centre advise you to allow 30 mins to sort all your clothing and be ready for your lesson. If you are going with multiple young children, especially for the first time, I would advise you to allow even more than that – even 45 mins to 1 hour! If you have older children who are able to put the boots on by themselves etc, then 30 mins may be ample.
It actually took so long to get the boys ready that we did miss our assigned slot with the sledging instructor. The front desk were really nice about it though and offered me to rebook the session for the new year, even though it was not their fault that we missed it. It was just due to being our first time, I never realised it would take so long to get all the children dressed!
They did all look so cute in their snow gear once they were ready though!
I was worried they might not get to have a go as we had missed the assigned instructor time, but their dad sorted something out and they did get to have a chance. They were able to use the round rubber ringos and the sledges. Two people can fit in the rubber ringo so Mr T and Mr Z were able to go in together. They really enjoyed it. They did crash a couple of times but did not hurt themselves at all and Mr Z said his favourite part was actually crashing!! I was really proud to see them trying something new with no hesitation and really enjoying it.
Our boys are all quite young at age 5, nearly 4 and 2 and I did notice that there were not many children of these age groups there. Although Mr R (2) loved having the chance to play in the snow, in hindsight it may have been better to leave it to Mr Z (5) as he was the one most able to get the most out of the activities but they were all happy and enjoyed their time there!
There is some space at the bottom of the slopes for younger children to play in the snow while waiting for other family members and Mr R (2) and Mr T (3) did enjoy this, but I would have liked to see a dedicated area for little ones to play in the snow. If the centre introduced that in future I think it would be something great! As while playing at the bottom of the slopes there are people coming past with their skiis and equipment so you do have to be quite careful of the children. If there was a larger space where they could run around and even build snow men it would be ideal. There is actually a Santa experience in a snowy forest on at the moment, which we didn’t realise so didn’t go to!! but the details are here. I think something like that all year round would be brilliant though.
After the boys finished their sledging we went up to the Lodge to have our lunch. This was lovely, as you can see out over the ski slopes while you are eating and with it being Christmas time it was decorated so nicely with sparkling lights and together with the snow it gave such a nice atmosphere. They have a decent menu for adults and children and the food came quickly and tasted good.
There is also access to the viewing balcony from the Lodge, where it is easy to look down at your family members doing the snow activities below. I took Mr R for a little trip up there for some of the time that the older two boys were sledging.
We were given our tickets for review however if you were to buy a sledging session it is only £5 per person which is very reasonable. When I looked on the website I was surprised to see the cost is so low. To hire the clothing is an extra £6.95 per person which still doesn’t bring the total up too much.
Overall we enjoyed our experience at The Snow Centre. Mr Z in particular absolutely loved it. He said to me as he got in the car on the way home that he had really enjoyed it, and again at bedtime. I think we will definitely bring them back again in future, although I will either wait until Mr R is slightly older or keep him at home and perhaps send the older two with their dad. I’m glad Mr Z enjoyed it so much as it is a very different experience than anything he had tried, and it would be great exercise to keep him active if he went regularly or even tried skiing.
There are also skiing lessons available for children with additional needs & autism. I may look into this for Mr T in future as I have heard good things about these snowbility sessions from some other local parents.
Have you tried skiing or sledging with your young children? Share your experiences with me in the comments!