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Case Study: Skiplex

Date Posted: 08/07/2014

Pupils from Bearwood College got their school ski trip off to flying start with at Skiplex, the indoor skiing complex that has centres in Reading, Basingstoke and Chiswick.

School: Bearwood College, Wokingham, Berkshire
Number of pupils: 14
KS: 3

Jason Dance, a college housemaster and the head of physical education and boys’ games, organised the trip in the run-up to their ski trip to Fiss in Austria.

Total beginners were able to get to grips with ski equipment and find their feet on the slopes and the lower intermediates in the group of pupils aged 11 to 18 had a confidence boosting session to brush up on their skills.

Skiplex ski slopes are made of carpet-like material, which is softer than traditional dry slopes, and provide students with the opportunity to learn to ski or develop their technique in a unique, safe and controlled environment.

The slopes revolve, meaning there is no need for lifts or queues, which in turn enables skiers or snowboarders to ski continuously for as long as they are able. All lessons are structured with a qualified ski or snowboard instructor and the nature of the slopes means they are never far away from the student.

This, combined with the giant mirror at the base of the slope allows for personal and tailored tuition and progression on Skiplex slopes is said to be up to eight times faster than in any other snow sport environment.

The college visited the nearby Reading centre, where they were divided into two groups for the session. Classes can take up to 12 students per hour, and groups of 24 students over a two hour period.

Students are met by their instructor and kitted out with skis, boots and helmets and the instructor will then give a demonstration of the lesson, for example showing the development from sliding on the slope to snowplough and parallel skiing. The groups then typically take part in two 15-minute sessions, one group resting while the other is on the slopes.

The centres recommend students undertake up to six hours of sessions, each with 30 minutes of ski time, during which they will be able to progress from a beginner skier to a confident intermediate or even advanced skier.

At the end of their first lesson students are given a progress book, in which their instructor records their level and development, and they bring this to each subsequent session so they each have a personal record of improvement and progress.

Jason said: “The local Skiplex is only five miles away. Before we booked the first session we went along and had a look and liked what we saw, as it was very different. We returned for two sessions before the 2013 ski trip and took a group of beginners and lower intermediates.”

He described all the sessions as excellent and said the students progressed much faster than on previous visits to a typical dry sky slope and the visit helped them make the most of the trip to Austria.

“The big thing was that it got them all past that horrible first morning when you can spend most of the time falling down and sitting in the snow,” he added.

“They were all up on skis and knew how to snowplough and stop before we went to Fiss. For the beginners it really helped them get used to all the equipment and what is entailed in getting ready to go out on the slopes.

They knew what to do with the boots and skis and this all helped things go really smoothly out in Austria.”

Slope off

Skiplex supports the national Go Ski Go Board campaign launched by Snowsports England to help groups such as schools get involved with the sport, and link it to the national curriculum.

It also offers local schools the opportunity for children to learn to ski at subsidised prices through Sportivate, the project launched after the London Olympics to give young people the chance to participate in different sports.

For more information contact: 

0845-600 3599

School Travel Organiser's Guide