A few weeks ago the Wales Ski Team ventured up to Manchester for a weekend of technical and gate training at the Chill Factore snow dome. The centre is one of the newest indoor training facilities in the UK, and this is certainly reflected in how the snow holds up throughout the day.
We were lucky enough to have the slope to ourselves with Chill Factore’s own training group on the Sunday morning, giving us the opportunity to make the most of the freshly groomed snow, and set out three different training courses. The Saturday however, was a whole different experience. The lift queues winded round the netting and crash mats at the bottom of the slope, making turn around time pretty slow, and coupled with the glaring looks from snowboarders, it all made for quite an uncomfortable experience. That said, the facility is fantastic, and they appear to bearing well under the crowds of eager people. Team GB’s success in Sochi certainly seems to have had the desired result, with the centre feeling the full force of the ‘Winter Olympic’ effect. Speaking to the staff there, it was clear that the Olympics and Paralympics have resulted in a surge of customers for them. This was great to see despite the queues, as it is always nice to see people trying out the sport for the first time.
Talking of new experiences, on the Sunday morning I was also given the opportunity of skiing as a guide for visually impaired racer Menna Fitzpatrick. The 16-year-old is a fellow member of the Wales Ski Team, and has hopes of competing at the next Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She usually skis with her father, but as she now become too quick to follow him, she is looking for a new guide. I can honestly say that it was an absolute pleasure to ski with Menna, and she certainly kept me on my toes with her pace! I wish Menna the best of luck for the future, and hope she is able to find a new guide soon. To find out more about Menna, please click here.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading and following my blog from the start. I am off to London tomorrow to complete two work experience placements, and will be spending two weeks at The Telegraph’s Ski and Snowboard magazine. If I don’t get round to putting any posts up, then I must apologise for this now, but I imagine I am going to be pretty busy during my time there. I do however plan to write-up my experience at The Telegraph and offer advice to anyone who is a budding snowsports journalist like me.
Thanks for reading,