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The next best thing - Sarah Vizard, The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead
Friday February 19, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The indoor snow centre in Hemel Hempstead - it might not be the Alps but it is possibly the best alternative. PlanetSKI pays a visit. NEW

Ideally we'd all be in the Alps taking in the scenery, swishing down the slopes and partaking of some apres.

Unfortunately some of us aren't lucky enough to be in the mountains so instead we have to make do with what we can find nearby.

And Hemel Hempstead is the next best thing.
This being half term week the slopes are busy both in Hemel and the Alps.

Luckily thanks to the advice of Peter Gillespie, head of snowsports at the Snow Centre he had reminded us of this fact, and we booked an early morning slot rather than one in the afternoon.
So at half 10 on a Friday morning me and my parents found ourselves getting kitted out in our ski wear and heading out on to the slopes.

They had taken pity on me.

They'd managed to get in a week in Morzine in January but budgetary constraints caused by my mad decision to buy a first flat meant the mountains were out and Hemel Hempstead was in.
Despite skiing since the age of 6 and with three ski seasons under my belt I felt a little apprehensive.

It had been a couple of years since I'd last put a pair of skis on.

But two trips round the Poma lift and it all came flooding back.

Skiing downSkiing down
















The slopes were pretty quiet despite it being half term and even at its busiest we never had to queue for more than a couple of minutes to get back to the top of the slope.

Keeping to the left-hand side of the slope meant we almost always got a clear run down and the snow was lovely and soft, with a few bumps so we had to concentrate to ensure we stayed upright.
I'll be honest and say it doesn't take long to get from the top to the bottom, but plenty of time to get a few turns in and remember why I love skiing.

Like being in Solden at Hemel HempsteadAlmost like being in Solden - Hemel Hempstead













Snow centres like Hemel will never be able to replace the mountains but they're a great substitute if you can't get out there for whatever reason.

And it's a great place to try out the sport for the first time - whether you're four years old or 40+.
I'll be back in the mountains next year, but before I go I'll be heading to Hemel again to get those snow legs working again.

And I'll be taking my boyfriend, who has never been, so he can learn the basics before we head out on the slopes.
I can't wait.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

For the spirit of the mountains

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