The Great 'Xscape'

By John Weatherell, a friend and his 11 yr old son

You may have tried the "ice" slope at Tamworth or a cold and very frosty night at Rossendale, but this is next best thing to the real stuff.

This is an experience in every sense of the word. Skiing in a very pleasant -2 Deg C on a gentle 195 m long slope in fresh powder like snow which we found very much to our liking.

Junction 32, M62 at Castleford finds this new development quite easily, down the slip road, turn left, first left and into the car park. As this complex combines Freeport designer type shopping and fast food type outlets as well as Starbucks and a decent standard of restaurants, it certainly can keep non-skiers happy.

The skiing is not the only activity in the main building as a large rock climbing wall complete with water fall is open to climbers and a very soon-to-be-completed Ice Wall will be available.

The slope is 195m long and approximately 40m wide, Blue run steepness with a "step" halfway down, which, in the bright flat light caught out a few people. There are two button lifts, one on each side, to take skiers up to the top.

Safety is paramount on the slope with patrols on and off the skiing area. Beginners are not allowed on the slope unless in a lesson, anyone who cannot control their speed, turn or stop will be asked to leave the slope and exit WITHOUT a refund. When booking or paying at the entrance you will be asked questions regarding your standard of ability.

We went Wednesday afternoon in half term hols at off peak rates of £25.00 for two hours this included skis, boots and sticks. Sellopetes and jackets can be hired for £5.00 but gloves are not for hire but can be purchased.

The queues were not long, 2 -3 mins at most and did not spoil a very good two hours, although warm clothing and good gloves are highly recommended as -2 does get you in the end.

The trip to me was well worth the effort to get there, approximately one-hour's travel time. I would recommend that anyone going to allow 45 minutes prior to their ticket time to get ready, dressed etc. as when paying for your ticket your are asked "what time you wish to start skiing."

Overall Verdict

In my view well worth a visit with or without the children and non-skiers as well are catered for. Best of all, to get the legs going on a surface that is good for you!

For more info