Chill Factore - First Impressions

By Ernie Metcalfe

I had my first skiing visit to Chill Factore on Saturday 15th December when I took my 11 year-old grandson, and somewhat embarrassingly, he kept overtaking me!

I was very pleasantly surprised by the facilities and particularly the snow conditions. It was certainly the best artificial snow I have skied on, and we would all be delighted if the natural stuff was always as good as this. The slope itself is about blue standard and long enough and wide enough to do some reasonable practise. It was also quite cold and you certainly need your full ski gear, especially if you have to queue for a few minutes. If I have one small quibble it was the lighting could have been a little brighter.

We had booked a one and a half hour session starting at 10.00 am. They seem to let a fresh batch of people on every 15 minutes as one lot finishes. So the numbers are regulated and the slope, though busy, did not feel crowded.

There are two button lifts with the slow one on the left and one of reasonable speed on the right. The longest we had to queue was about 5 minutes and this was just after 11.00 am when there was a rush of new people for the lift.

The opening times vary with the day as do prices according to peak and off peak periods, and with reductions for under 18's and over 65's. The price includes hire of boots, skis and helmet if required. There are reasonable changing facilities and small lockers for your clothes. These are too small for skis so if you take your own you have to keep them with you if you go for a drink later.

I took my own boots and used their skis, which were of reasonable quality. The girl in front of me collecting her skis complained she was only given 175s when as an 'expert skier' she should have 190s. How some people delude themselves! I think my boot bag could go downhill almost as well as she could, and as for style my grandson could show her a thing or two. Ah well, it takes all sorts, I suppose, and many seemed to end up at Chill Factore that Saturday morning. There were also a few, though in a minority, snow boarders sharing the slope.

In summary it was fun, enjoyable and a good way to limber up for ski holiday. Overall I think they have done a good job, and I hope the Club can arrange a group discount in future. I certainly hope to have a few more visits before going to Val d'Isère, and hopefully will see a few Club members on the slope.