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The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead

If you’re watching the Sochi Winter Olympics on television and it’s making you want to get out on the snow yourself, just 30 minutes north of London is 160 metres of snow waiting to be skied on

Sally Ashley-Cound
City Guide
Sally Ashley-Cound,

If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi and wondered how you can get a taste of the action yourself then just a 30-minute train journey north of London is the Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead.

London is not generally known for its snow. In fact, it never gets quite cold enough to have snow all winter, and the flat terrain (save for Primrose Hill and Greenwich) makes for very inadequate ski conditions. The Snow Centre, however, has 160 metres of snow ready for action whether you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder or a beginner just starting out.

After picking up our hire clothing, skis, boots and helmet (of course), we started out on the training slope, taking a lesson to brush up on our snow ploughs and parallel turns before hitting the main slope. Lessons can be adjusted to suit individual levels in the group and we found the instructors very patient, even with the slowest of those to pick up the techniques.

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As well as extending its midweek prices to a Friday (adult lift passes, available 6pm-10pm, are £39 for four hours or £29 for two hours), the Snow Centre is also giving those of all levels the chance to improve, with lessons starting from £149 for a family of four (two adults, two children). Adults who want to get a taste of the après ski as well can have a snowboard or ski lesson between 8pm and 10pm on a Friday for £49 which includes a complimentary drink at the Lodge Bar & Kitchen.

If you can’t make it down on a Friday evening, the weekends offer more time on the slope. And the main slope is freestyle feature-free, which leaves lots of space for warming your ski legs up.

If you’re looking to refresh your ski talents in time for a winter holiday, learning to ski, or simply looking for something a bit different to do while in London, then The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead is just the spot.

The Snow Centre, St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9NH, +44 (0)844 770 7227

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