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Case study: The Snow Centre

Date Posted: 04/08/2014

An excited group of pupils enjoyed a winning day on the slopes in more ways than one.

Venue: The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
School: Ketton School, Stamford, Rutland
Number of pupils: 29
Key Stages: 2

Ketton School enjoyed a free session at the Snow Centre after Ewan McAnally entered the competition to win ‘a day in the Alps’.

The Hemel Hempstead centre, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year, is the closest real snow slope to London. It has a 160 metre main slope as well as the UK’s largest indoor slope dedicated to lessons and beginners.  The Alpine Experience, designed for schools, is a great taster day for a first visit.

The package includes a one-hour ski lesson followed by a one-hour snowboard lesson, a sledging session and the chance to slide down the slope on a sledge or in a rubber ring.

Only four of the children in Ewan’s class had ever skied before and the session fired their enthusiasm for the sport.

“The children were delighted when we told them they had won a free visit"

Nine-year-old Thomas Upton said: “It was really exciting. I had never skied before and I would love to ski again.”

Year 5 teacher Margaret Kelly, who accompanied the class on the day, added: “The children were delighted when we told them they had won a free visit to the Snow Centre.”

After arriving at the centre Ewan’s and his classmates were kitted out in ski clothes, which are included in the price of the lesson. The only items visiting school pupils need to bring are warm clothing, including their own gloves and long socks.

Then they were fitted with ski boots, skis and a helmet. On most school visits pupils are divided into small groups, depending on their age and ability if some have skied before.

Moving onto the slopes, the youngsters from Ketton were taught the basics, from learning how to walk in ski boots, then walking with skis on before finding out how it feels to slide on snow. Beginners always start out on the training slope, which has a small tow rope that is used once they have mastered the basics of sliding, side stepping and stopping using the snow plough technique.

Pupils that have skied or snowboarded before can have lessons on the main slope if they can use a button lift and make safe, controlled turns.

In between all the action on the slope Ewan and his friends enjoyed a taste of the Alps with refreshments in the log cabin-style Schuss Bar and a hearty lunch in the new Lodge Bar and Kitchen restaurant that overlooks the slopes.

In addition to the alpine experience days, schools can book a range of packages including one off activities or a series of lessons to prepare for a ski trip and learn all the basics before they go.

Winning words

To enter the competition pupils had to sum up, in no more than 14 words, why their class should be awarded the day out. Ten-year-old Ewan McAnally’s winning entry was:

“Skiing is my passion.
Ketton is my school.
Inviting my class would be snowcool!”

Afterwards he said: “The day went brilliantly and all my class mates said ‘thank you’ to me for the day.”

Useful contact:

The Snow Centre:
0844-770 7227

School Travel Organiser's Guide