Snowtrax Ski Centre - Christchurch
Snowtrax is a dry ski slope near Hurn Airport and Christchurch, Dorset. It is in a pleasant tree lined setting and as you look down the ski slope from the top there is a great view and you get the feeling you really are away from the hustle and bustle of life.
There is something for just about all ages at Snowtrax.
Younger children start off with Ringos. These are similar in shape to a child's circular paddling pool. A child sits in the ringo at the top of the slope where there are given a push start by a member of staff. They can select from descending in a straight line or spinning their way to the bottom. Once at the bottom they need to drag their ringos back to the top again. Dragging the ringo back up is quite hard work for any children over the course of half an hour. Small children are likely to need plenty of parental help. There is nothing to stop an adult from having a go and I enjoyed spinning my way to the bottom. Helmets are provided for safety purposes.
For more adventurous or older children there are ski bobs. You sit astride the bob and make your way downhill in a straight line. This is on a separate track to ringos. There are three lanes so children can race against siblings or friends. Ski bobbing can be hot work on a warm day, so be aware that you may need to provide plenty or regular refreshments! Getting back to the top is much easier with a ski bob as you can sit on your bob and ride up on a ski lift. Helmets are available. Again there is nothing to stop adults from riding ski bobs and I have had fun trying to beat my children to the bottom. Personally I find saying ready steady go and making sure I set off before saying go can help!
Occasionally the bobs and ringos get very busy and this can cut down the number of runs you can make in a half hour session. Therefore I would recommend checking how many people are on the slopes before booking a slot. If it is busy you can always spend a bit of time in the Adventure Park first before returning to the bobs and ringos later in the day.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Anyone can try skiing or snowboarding. There are plenty of lessons available and in my experience the instructors are excellent. I recently watched my children try some skiing lessons and was very impressed with the progress they made. The instructor gave them great encouragement and appeared to be able to pass on technical knowledge in a way that was very easy to understand.
Both individual and group lessons are available. I'm not sure if we were lucky, but we booked for a group lesson and it was only my two children in the group. Lessons seem a great idea before a skiing holiday if you are a beginner or would like to brush up on your technique. Snowboarding lessons are available as well.
It is advisable to check the availability of lessons before you head off to Snowtrax. There is a timetable for lessons and you normally need to book your session in advance.
Once you have reached a certain level of proficiency you are allowed to use the slope unaccompanied to practice your skills. The slope seems to be very quiet during the daytime, but busier in the evenings.
All the equipment you need from skis, to boots and gloves is available for hire or loan. It is recommended that you wear long sleeve tops and ankle length trousers rather than shorts for all activities to protect you from burn injuries.
Food and Drink
There is a bar at Snowtrax and food is served throughout the day. There are a number of food options available and I have enjoyed eating there. Don't expect anything gourmet, but I found the bar food better than you normally find in a pub. There always appears to be a good number of people eating. This is always a vote of confidence for the chef!
At the bottom of the slope is an Adventure Park. The park is probably not quite as exciting as the name suggests but there are a number of different pieces of outdoor play equipment for children to bounce on, climb over and swing on if they have any energy left after the ringos, bobs, skiing and snowboarding.
You can book birthday parties at Snowtrax.
You can join Snowtrax. This entitles you to a series of discounts off equipment, lessons and activity sessions. It also gives you free access to the ski slope for open sessions.
I have visited Snowtrax on a number of occasions, over a number of years. My children have enjoyed every single visit and it is somewhere where they always want to go again. Watching other families it seems to be a place where everyone has fun. I am delighted to recommend Snowtrax.