Demand Grows To Ski In England

We could all be looking to ski closer to home this winter. One ski area in England has already had unprecedented demand and is turning skiers and snowboarders away.

With most ski holidays now being booked for 2022, we could all be looking to ski closer to home this winter.

There’s not a lot of outdoor skiing in England and, up to now, it’s attracted a small but hard core following.

Did you even know you could ski in England?

The Lake District Ski Club is based in one of those ski areas on the fells of north west England.

But it is exactly what it says: a club.

And, suddenly, everyone wants to join.

The waiting list for membership has shot up and more than a hundred people have just signed up to the club’s Facebook group.

It looks like they’ll be disappointed.

“Welcome to the 150 or so new people to join the group in the last few days. We know that many of you snow addicts need your fix and want to come up. Unfortunately that’s not possible just now,” says Mike Sweeney on the club’s Facebook page.

“Here’s the problem: We have 5,600 people in this group and 320 paid-up club members.

“We have a single fixed-button 360m tow which can cope with 50-60 skiers and boarders at a time.

The button tow at Raise, 5th December – photo Lake District Ski Club

“We have limited car parking at the end of a narrow track (with restricted vehicular access).

“We have a waiting list which has rocketed to 200 in the last few days!

“We simply can’t accommodate more people, safely and responsibly, especially with the need for social distancing.

“We’ll try and open things up for new members and guest skiers as and when we can.”

Skiing at Raise – photo Shaun Senior, Lake District Ski Club

The ski area is on the slopes beneath Raise (883 metres) in the Helvellyn range between Thirlmere and Ullswater in Cumbria.

There are nine recognised runs, none of them groomed, which are open most weekends and some weekdays when conditions allow.

Ski area at Raise

According to the club, the location of its one and only tow lift is near-unique in Cumbria in how well it catches and preserves the snow.

Nowhere else nearby has sufficient snow for skiing, except on rare occasions.

The button tow, and the club’s huts, were built – and are maintained and operated – by unpaid club members.

They are dedicated bunch.

Access to the lift is by a steep uphill hike from the youth hostel at Glenridding.

It takes at least an hour, longer in snow and when carrying kit.

And, if you want to see what you’ll be missing,  have a look at this fabulous film made by club members Ben Barden and Debbie McGowan back in 2009.