Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Getting in Shape for the Slopes; Travel: How to Tone Up before You Leave Britain

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Getting in Shape for the Slopes; Travel: How to Tone Up before You Leave Britain

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK HUGHES-MORGAN

For absolute beginners

If you've never put ski to piste or perhaps want to switch from skis to snowboard, a dry slope may help you find your feet. The John Nike Ski and Snowboard Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire, close to the M25, has three slopes (from 30-metre beginner to 160-metre main slope, with chairlift) and a handy gym and health club en suite. Meanwhile, in Buckinghamshire, Wycombe Summit, set in picturesque woodland, is a more serious proposition, with three different slopes, including the longest in England at 300 metres. It has hosted international events and is used by the British national team for training.

Bracknell Ski and Snowboard Centre (01344 789002; www.nikegroup.co.uk); from pound sterling9 for 90 minutes, including ski equipment (snowboards pound sterling3 extra).

Wycombe Summit Ski and Snowboard Centre (01494 474711; www.wycombesummit.com); from pound sterling10.50 per hour including skis (snowboard pound sterling3 extra). More dry slopes at www.snowlife.org.uk.

For refreshers

The Snowdome at Tamworth, the first "real-snow" indoor slope in the UK, is ideal for rediscovering your ski legs - or just for downhill thrills. Two slopes - one main, one nursery, both 170 metres long - for skiers, boarders, even snowmobilers (adult hire only). There are ramps and halfpipes to stunt it up - or try adrenaline tubing (1: sit on tube 2: hurtle). A programme of fitness and ski technique (f.a.s.t) instruction for improvers and intermediates is available through the Ski Club of Great Britain (see below).

And members of the British Association of Ski Instructors (BASI) are regularly on hand to remind you why you kept falling over last year.

The Snowdome (08705 000011; www.snowdome.co.uk), Tamworth, Staffs; from pound sterling15 an hour, including skis/snowboards. Ski Club of Great Britain (0845 4580784).

For keen apres-skiers

At Milton Keynes, the cognoscenti amuse themselves on and off the slopes till long after the sun goes down. At the heart of Xscape, a vast complex of shops, cinemas and arcades, is the biggest " realsnow" experience in the UK: Snozone. …

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