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Saturday July 23, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

During the hot weather across parts of the UK last weekend many headed to the beach, their local park or just some shade in the garden. PlanetSKI had a much better idea.

We've been at the Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead to the north of London for a spot of skiing and the chance to cool down.

The mercury has been pushing 30ºC outside and it seems we're not the only ones to head to the Snow Centre.   

On Saturday alone there were more than 600 people out on its slopes.

The car park was packed.  

The Snow CentrePopular spot
















Inside it was a cooling -2ºC.

There is a main slope that is 160m long and a shorter beginner area that also has a tubing area.

The Snow CentreThe main slope
















The Snow CentreBeginner area















"Business has been brisk not just this weekend in the heat, but across the summer and we've so far had 20% more people than this time last year.  In a funny sort of way as it is hot outside, people come here to cool down and escape the heat," said the manager of the ski school, Peter Gillespie.

There are hundreds of people out enjoying a spot of summer skiing here in the UK.

Some spend hours and hours here and are regular visitors across the summer months taking advatnge of a monthly lift pass of £57 with unlimited use - others are here as a one off to avoid the heat and simply have fun.

Then there are the professionals and would-be professionals.

There are some on ski instructor courses being run by Snowsport England and the Irish Association of Snowsports Instructors, IASI.

The Snow CentreInstructors under training
















People from Disability Snowsport UK are here, clients are being taught by the ski school, Inside Out, plus others doing a mogul course run by the Centre itself.

There are kids lessons and parties taking place on the nursery slope - with proud parents and grandparents watching from the café area.

The Snow CentreChilling out and looking on
















"We keep the Snow Centre slopes at a constant -2ºC throughout the day and then drop it down to -6ºC to make some snow and improve conditions in the evening. The hot weather outside makes it harder for the chillers inside to work but they certainly do their job," said Pete Gillespie.

So, what's it like skiing indoors in the UK?

"It is effectively a giant fridge with a ski slope inside. It's not like being in the mountains, but if you want to come and slide around on snow for a few hours to practice your turns, enjoy skiing in the middle of summer or just to cool down then it is well worth the experience," said the PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove.

"I always come here a few times over the summer for a bit of practice and have a great time, whether it be out on the slopes or just chatting about skiing in the café or over a small beer at the end of the session. And at this time of year with the hot weather outside it is the perfect place to come to chill out," added James.

Keeping coolKeeping cool
















And there is even an apres ski bar on the slope.

The Snow CentreThe Snow Centre















A 2-hour lift ticket costs £38.40 for an adult and £31.20 for a child. 

Alternatively there is a monthly pass that gives unlimited access across a 4-week period for £59.

Apart from enjoying the slopes and the snow James was also looking at the development of the Irish Associations of Snowsports Instructors that runs courses for would-be instructors.  Later this week he will be reporting on the courses and how people can start a career in snowsports here in the UK. Look out for his report later this week.

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

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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