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To Ski Better You Need Fitness, Attitude and Repetition - A Talk From Peter Hinde, The Operations Manager At The Chill Factore

Reporter: Carol Sencicle

The building of the Chill Factore was a leap of faith; they were not sure if the piles would take the weight or whether enough people would want to use it! The building was designed to give guests ‘the alpine experience’ as well as the opportunity to shop, eat and relax. (They have a service orientated culture so call customers, guests). The site was chosen because it was within 1 hour commute of 9 million people, mostly from the west.

However, the leap of faith has proved worthwhile because people have travelled from much further to get the Chill Factore experience. A survey of post codes of customers showed that they cover every county in the country with the exception of the Orkney Isles.

In the beginning the building was in overspend but the investors have seen the success and have given more money so cashflow is now healthy and the company is making good profit. There are now plans to update the ski equipment and to redecorate and recarpet the building.

Why the ‘e’ on the end of the name Chill Factore? It is a play on words meaning extreme and exciting. It should be pronounced ‘Chill Factoreee’ , not Factor or Factory.

The Chill Factore has the most qualified Ski Instructors in the country and they are promoting getting people into skiing. The Chill Factore run training courses for instructors and require a special type of person to join the team. They require more than good qualifications. The instructors must make it fun to learn to ski. They encourage guests to keep moving safely rather than just talking about the technicalities. The Chill Factore prefer their instructors to instruct both skiers and snowboarders. Roughly 10% of the instructors are female.

The Luge and Tube encourage non skiers to get into snow activities. Lots of guests come back. Some guests are encouraged to move into freestyle and racing - whatever their goals are. Snowboarding is no longer on the increase. Beginners lessons are usually 50/50 skiers and snowboarders but skiers stay on longer for lessons.

They have a kids academy making learning to ski fun whilst encouraging families. They work with schools to get kids into sport and they pick out the talented children to move into racing. The Chill Factore has the most successful race team in the country. In the 3 years they have been open they are doing very well but they need longer to see the results of the children’s development. Children can get private lessons from the age of 4 but group lessons do not start until children are 6.

Skiing technique has not changed greatly over recent years but the equipment has. The old French style of skiing with feet together has been replaced by feet apart to give stability. The emphasis is on being centred and balanced through the middle of the foot with flexible ankle, knee and forward from the hips. Like a weight lifter you must be centred over the foot.

To get better you need fitness, attitude and repetition.

Peter does not get out on the slopes as much as he would like. He didn’t even get a ski holiday last season but he still manages to tutor BASI level 1.

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