I can hear a collective, country-wide sigh of relief as most children head back to school this week or early next. It’s great to spend time with the kids but as school holidays progress they get bored, restless and a touch fed up (as do the grown-ups!). So what can you do in the next holidays that will help alleviate the glum faces and hunched shoulders which will give them, and you, more bounce and restore some joie de vivre?
Last week we headed off to our ‘local’ indoor snowslope, Snozone in Xscape at Castleford in West Yorkshire, as a group of mums and children looking for something a bit different. All the adults and kids were proficient enough to obtain a recreational slope pass and no one had lessons. Although this is our local slope it is still a two hour drive away, so we decided to make a day of it with some shopping, eating and snow-time. We headed to Pizza Express for an early lunch to get loaded with some carbs and ice-cream. Plus the kids got colouring pencils, quizzes and other bits and pieces to keep them occupied. We also had a discount voucher; the food tastes even better when you are bagging a bargain.
The advantage of going to an indoor snowslope in the summer is that it is generally much quieter than in the winter months. There is more room on the slope and less time spent in queues for the lift. Less people also means less hassle queuing for equipment hire too. I had a new snowboard to try out (more of which in another post) and the kids were keen to try the rails and features on the snow. I could not look as my daughter Freya headed toward the A-frame box rail following the older children.
Once Daisy and Lottie had successfully ridden away Freya took it slow and landed it no problem. I was a nervous wreck envisaging a broken arm on her return to school, but I should have more faith in her progressive approach to skiing. I tried my new snowboard and loved it; once I started to get the measure of it I tried a few flatland tricks and switch. Rosemary, who up until recently had not skied for 20 years, enjoyed getting the feel of her ski-legs back and spending some quality time with her older daughter Ellie. And Caroline, an accomplished and stylish skier, enjoyed her time on the slope with both daughters and a daughter’s friend. Afterwards we had a quick look, in the shops, at the sale items and some of the newly arrived winter stock before we headed back north to be home in time for tea.
The day out allowed the adults some dedicated time to chat whilst participating in a favourite activity, and the kids got away from their electronic devices and enjoyed the physicality and relative independence bombing down the slope. For those living closer to an indoor snowslope other activities are on offer too such as:
School holiday snow camps: these are generally aged at 7-15 year olds and can be found at Snozone in Castleford and Milton Keynes as well as Tamworth SnowDome and Snow Factor in Glasgow. If you or the kids fancy a different form of childcare during the holidays than traditional sports camps this may just fit the bill.
Children’s birthday parties: there are various options from sledging to lessons plus food for everyone.
Sledging and ice tubing: if the kids are not keen to try snowboarding or skiing then other activities are on offer.
Family ski/ snowboard lessons: these can be a great way to spend time together as a family learning something new, although I have never personally tried it.
Snow garden: some indoor snowslopes have areas for the ‘little-uns’, aged 2-5, where they can get a snow experience; and most offer a cake and drink afterwards too. You can find these at Hemel Snow Centre and Chill Factore in Manchester.
Extreme sledging, snowscoot and airboarding: alternative activities which can be found at Manchester’s Chill Factore, and one for the older children and adults alike.
SnoAcademy: this is found at Snozone in Castleford and is a weekly children’s club designed to develop snowsport skills. This operates in three distinct age groups catering for children aged 3 up to 15 years old.
Although the UK has little or no snow for most of the year all the family can get involved in snow activities thanks to the indoor snowslopes. For us it provided a last day of excitement before the school re-opened their doors, and normal, routine life resumed again (at least until October half term anyway).