Learning to Ski or Snowboard before the season starts can really boost your confidence on the slopes. The best bit is you can do it right here in England at The Snow Centre, London’s closest indoor real snow slope. It is not just for beginners either, The Snow Centre is also a great place to go to polish up on your skills while having fun.
The Snow Centre
I have been Skiing for over 25 years but I have always wanted to go to the dark side and try snowboarding. However, I never really have had the chance, except for once in Switzerland, which did not go too well as I was nervous that I would lose control and go off the mountain. This then had a knock on effect on me because I didn’t relax, take in what I was learning or enjoy myself.
It was not my instructor’s fault though, as he was really good and was holding my hand for most of the part to make me feel comfortable. It was the environment that I was in and the fact I am not used to not being in control while in the snow.
Learn to Snowboard or Ski
When asked if I wanted to try a snowboard lesson at The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead I was genuinely hesitant at first as I did not want the same experience as last time. However, I thought I would give it another try and see how I went.
The experience could not have been any more different and I went away not only feeling confident about snowboarding, but I was wondering how I could fit it into my next ski trip.
Once my lesson was booked, The Snow Centre sent me my booking reference ( you must bring this along to your lesson) along with a checklist and everything I needed to know before my Snowboard lesson.
I arrived and I went up to the first floor checked-in and I was shown where to change and collected my gear, I was feeling a little pumped and ready to go. Then it was time to meet my instructor and have my lesson with my group. We went out on to the flat bit at the bottom of the slope and shown the basic moves until we were comfortable to graduate to the beginner’s slope.
The beginners run is based right next to the 160m main slope and has a conveyor belt next to it to help get you to the top without any hassles. You do not have to worry though as the conveyor belt does not go fast at all, so you can hop on or off anytime without falling. All I needed to do was get on and hold my board while it took to me to the top, perfect.!!!
Once the whole group was at the top of the beginner’s slope, our instructor showed us the basic moves to get down. Now, this is the bit I was not great at last time but the instructor worked with us all individually. To make sure we got down and make sure we were comfortable and safe.
It did not take me long at all to get the hang of it and I was definitely eager to learn more. Before I knew it, my hour lesson was up and I had newfound confidence for snowboarding.
If the only thing that is holding you back from learning is feeling safe, then do not worry. You can not go on the main slope until level 3, when they know you can turn correctly and do various other skills. It is also the same for Skiing but I think you might be able to use the main slope sooner. That is something you will need to work out with your instructor.
Secondly, it is compulsory to wear a helmet and gloves for your safety.
What to do when you get there
Please make sure that you arrive at The Snow Centre for your lesson at least 30mins beforehand, as you will need to check-in and change etc before you start your lesson. Do not worry though everything is straightforward.
When you arrive head up to the 1st floor check-in with The Snow Centre and receive your lesson pass (Don’t lose it as you will need it to get on the slope). You will also be informed of the name of your instructor, where to meet them and where to collect your equipment.
If you’ve been to The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead before then you can just use the Fast Track Machines to print your tickets and check-in.
The hiring of Equipment & Clothes
Understandably it is quite cold on the slope, especially when you are out there for while practicing your skills. With the average temperature ranging from between -2°C and -6°C, you need to dress appropriately.
If you have never skied or snowboarded before and don’t have the corrected waterproof clothing or you are unable to bring your gear along, then that is not a problem, you can hire both a waterproof jacket and trousers from The Snow Centre.
As for waterproof gloves and thick socks, you can purchase them on the day.
- Jacket and trousers Hire – from £7 per person
- Waterproof gloves – Purchased from £10
- Thick socks – Purchase some for £4
- Do not think about wearing jeans, leggings or even tracksuit while Ski or Snowboard . You can wear them to the centre but will need to change once you enter the slope area.
You can always get your gloves and thick socks before you go
Snowboards, Skis, and poles are included in your session and can be collected once you have changed into your gear. You will need to know your height, weight and shoe size for the equipment rental. The equipment collection desk is at the end of the rental area.
Whether you are having a lesson or are just using the slope, helmets are compulsory and are included in your ticket. Helmets can be found near the changing room lockets and equipment collection desk. You can not miss them and but if you do just ask someone, who will happily point you in the right direction.
Lockers are next to changing rooms and are £1 which is refundable.
Getting to The Snow Centre
The Snow centre is situated in Hemal Hempstead St Albans just on the outskirts of central London. The best way of getting there is via train or car.
You can catch a train from London Euston to either Hemel Hempstead or Apsley, which runs regularly and should take roughly 30mins. From there, you can either walk (30-40mins journey) or catch a cab about 10mins.
Apsley is a closer station but Hemel Hempstead is a bigger station and has a taxi rank right outside. At Apsley, you will have to call one to come and collect you.
- You can not use your oyster card to get to Hemel Hempstead from London. You are best to buy a return ticket from London, which should save you money.
I would suggest taking the car instead of catching the train, as it should work out cheaper especially if you are a family or a group of friends visiting at the same time. Also, parking is free at The Snow Centre.
Take either the M1 (Junction 8) or the M25 (Junction 20), depending where you are driving from.
Address – St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9NH
- If there is a group, I would suggest working out how much it will cost to get the train and see if it is cheaper to hire a car for the day, which is super easy to do.
- Opening Time – 9 am to 5:30 pm daily (10am to 5:30pm on Sun and Mon)
- Closed – 24th-26th Dec and 1 Jan
- Last Entry – is 30 minutes before closing
- Clothes Hire – All hired clothing, can be collect from the clothing desk near the change rooms and lockers.
- Duration – It should take you around 1-2hours from arriving to finishing your lesson and changing.
- Meet your instructor – The bench number where to meet your instructor is on your lesson pass.
Would I Recommend It
I definitely recommend The Snow Centre for anyone of any age. Wanting to learn how to ski or snowboard or even an introduction lesson. Also, it is a great day out if you looking for something to do.
One of the reasons why I was able to pick up Snowboarding so quickly was because I could fully focus on what I needed to learn and put it into practice. Without having to worry about other skiers or snowboarders flying past me on the slopes. Which put any skier or boarder off, especially when learning.I also felt safe and in control of what I was learning, which can make the world of difference too.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a ski holiday but want to get a feel for skiing. Then take an introductory lesson at London’s closest indoor real snow slope.
Top Tips for visiting The Snow Centre
- Take a screenshot of your reference number because you will need it when you check it. It is much easier than printing all the paperwork out.
- Make sure you arrive at least 30-45minutes before your lesson, so you can check in and get ready.
- To save time and money book your tickets online.
- You can use the free WIFI when at The Snow Centre
- If you have someone waiting for you while you take your lesson, they can sit in The Lodge Bar & Kitchen. It is also a great spot for after your lesson for a drink to warm up.
How about some of these activities around in and around London England
Ski Resorts great for beginners
Wanting to take your new found skillls to a Ski Resorts that are great for beginners whether snowboarding or skiing? Feel free to read the following ski resort gudies from a personally prespective.
- Jahorina Ski Resort Sarajevo – Where Skiing meets History
- Les Gets Ski Resort France – More to off than Skiing
- Breuil-Cervinia Italy – The Italian Side of the Matterhorn
⇒ Before taking off on your next ski holiday adventure, make sure you have the right travel insurance.
Thank you for reading this article on ‘Learn to Ski or Snowboard in London’. I hope it helped answer any questions you may have had before visiting.
Have you been to The Snow Centre to ski and snowboard before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
⇒ Looking for other days out in London? The feel free to visit my United Kingdom page.
Remember have a great time!!!!
Disclaimer: Even though I was a guest at The Snow Centre. All views are my own and based on my own experience.