Final Day for England Ski Centres as Lockdown Arrives

Snow centres in England are closing as the government orders another lockdown. Skiers & snowboarders express their disappointment & sympathy with many pragmatic to get Covid-19 beaten. UPDATED

The closures come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown starting this Thursday, November 5th.

They reopened in August as restrictions were eased.

Wednesday is the last day they can offer skiing and snowboarding for the time being.

“With the national lockdown coming into effect from Thursday, we’re opening late on Wednesday to make the most of the snow while we can still ski and board,” announced the Chill Factore in Manchester.

The main slope will be open until 10pm.

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Others are encouraging people to have a last blast.

“There’s still time to squeeze in a quick trip to our slopes …. and together let’s keep Snowsports Alive!” said the Snozone that has centres at Milton Keynes and Castleford.

Both Castleford and Manchester are under Tier 3 restrictions, but indoor leisure is permitted as long as guests do not mix with other households.

As well as all the people unable to do recreational skiing and snowboarding across England, it will also impact those who were taking instructor exams and other professionals who are training for the coming season.

A new initiative to get more children interested in skiing and snowboarding has also been affected.

It was due to take place in November.

The National Schools Snowsports Association is behind the grassroots initiatives, which was run in partnership with many of the UK’s snowsports centres and endorsed by Snowsport England.

New initiatives to get kids on skis

The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead was the first to announce it would be shutting its doors.  It says it will maintain the slopes ready for when it can reopen.

People who have booked a visit for 5th November onwards will be e-mailed over the next few days.

“We have enjoyed welcoming so many guests back since we re opened back in August, and we have been delighted with all your positive feedback about your visits,” said the MD, Ian Brown.

“While we are closed we will continue to assess and update our procedures based on guidelines and your feedback to ensure our team and guests are safe and you can still enjoy your visit to The Snow Centre.

“We will also continue to support and help our team through these challenging times.

“I guess none of us know what this winter and coming months holds for us all, however please be assured we will be ready to welcome you back as soon as we are able to.”

The Snozone Milton Keynes, the Snozone Castleford and the SnowDome Tamworth have followed suit.

“Following last night’s Government directive, it is with deep regret that Snozone and Skizone will be required to close from Thursday 5th November,” said Snozone on Sunday afternoon.

“We will be monitoring Government guidance during this period and we will provide further updates with regards to reopening as soon as we are able to.

“In the meantime our website will still be live for future bookings and gift vouchers. Please stay in touch with us on social media and we thank you for your continued support during these challenging times.”

The SnowDome at Tamworth in Staffordshire said:

“SnowDome is open until Thursday 5th November and will then re-open on Wednesday 2nd December. If you have an existing booking affected by this closure, we will be in contact with you in the next few days.”

The Chill Factore in Manchester is also shutting on Thursday.

“Following the government announcement on 31st October 2020 regarding the upcoming national lockdown measures coming in to force, Chill Factore will be closed from midnight on Thursday 5th November,” it said in a statement.

The Chill Factore and Snozone Castleford are currently within Tier 3 restrictions –  they are allowed to open but people can not mix with other households.

“The closure of gyms, pools and indoor sports facilities just a few months after they introduced strict hygiene and safety protocols enabling them to re-open, despite data showing comparatively low risk of transmission, will reinforce demands for a £1.5bn recovery fund for the sports sector, similar to the bail-out given to the culture and arts industry earlier this year,” said the BBC Sport Editor, Dan Roan.

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Snowsport England has said it is ‘disappointed’ by the latest government measures

“The safety of the nation must come first but really disappointed that safe sport is not recognised as essential to our wellbeing,” said Tim Fawke the CEO of Snowsport England on Twitter.

Snowsport England

Snowsport England

Customers have been expressing their disappointment and sympathy on the indoor snow centres’ Facebook pages.

SnowDome Tamworth

Kirsty Matthews: “Such a shame for you all, & I really do feel for the staff & management, they have been working very hard to keep the venue safe and covid secure and you all deserve better.”

Sue McAuley: “Gutted, we had booked a surprise winter wonderland visit for our boys 8th birthday for the 22nd nov. Glad we kept it a secret now… he would be so sad x hope all is better for those due to go in december 🎅 X”

Snozone Milton Keynes & Castleford

Graham Keel: “Such a shame but let’s hope the next 4 weeks does what’s needed and you’re open again before Xmas. Had a blast yesterday at MK with my daughter.”

Tom Colman: “Just come back from our first session at Castleford since they reopened after lockdown, and was very impressed with how they are running things to keep us all as safe as possible. More chance of picking up Covid from a trip to the supermarket than Snozone. Keep up the great work, and see you in December 👍👍

Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead

Sylwia Dorosz: “So sad for you 😟 but so happy we managed to visit and enjoy the snow this week ❄️ everything was great 👍🏻 It’s heartbreaking when you see businesses having to close yet they have been following the rules and working so hard to make it Covid safe 😣

Rick Danes: “Have loved skiing with you over the last couple of months, it’s been really enjoyable and most people have been so welcoming and respectful. I do feel for all staff who have worked so hard to get everything fit for our enjoyment. Take care be safe and hope to see you soon.”

Chill Factore Manchester

Mark O’Sullivan: “Sad times but was gonna happen with a lockdown fingers crossed back open in December! 🤞So may as well get as much riding in before Wednesday midnight Hey!”

Elizabeth Prosser: “Such sad news.”

Christian Ward: “Hope to see you back soon 🙏

There is no specific mention of outdoor ski slopes in the measures, but they will likely close too.

Here are other sports facilities in England that are closing:

  • Swimming pools
  • Golf courses and driving ranges
  • Bowling alleys
  • Dance studios
  • Stables and riding centres
  • Climbing walls and climbing centres
  • Archery and shooting ranges

To read the government rules and guidance then see here.