SNO!zone @ Xscape Milton Keynes

A disabled skiing lesson at SNO!zone Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

“You need to wear two pairs of socks.” Rich, 9

It may be set in a giant building plonked in the middle of Milton Keynes, but the SNO!zone has conditions so identical to a snow-covered mountain, that a ski experience here feels every inch authentic.

Covered in 1500 tons of real snow – created every evening by firing chilled water into the air – the 185-yard slope is impressive, occupied by skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities. Enthusiasts sharpen their skills alongside beginners who are skidding and sliding around for the first time and sledgers flying downhill at an astonishing pace. Ski and board lessons, including ones tailored to infants and families, are available and popular. In fact they are compulsory unless you can link your turns, control your speed and use the lifts confidently. If that is you, you can buy a session pass and go it alone. Snow can be a daunting prospect for many disabled people, but the right assistance and equipment can allow anyone to experience the exhilaration of skiing and snowboarding. Disability Snowsport UK also provide lessons at SNO!zone, as do Silent Snow who operate sessions for deaf and hard of hearing people; they can also provide BSL interpreters.

As well as SNO!zone, Xscape Milton Keynes is also home to several other attractions including the Vertical Chill climbing wall, Airkik indoor skydiving, Mid City Lanes tenpin bowling, Cineworld and many shops and restaurants. From the car park, proceed through the shopping area to reach the slopes. Induction loops are available at the SNO!zone front desk, and the duty manager is responsible for the RADAR key. With the help of Disability Snowsport UK, access to the snow for disabled people is possible in a number of ways. Sit ski’s have a seat clamped to either one (mono) or two (bi) ski’s and are best for those with no lower body mobility – these are steered with hand-held outriggers and can be slowed by another skier tethered behind if necessary. Also available are outriggers for amputees; walking- and Zimmer-frame style ski poles for unstable but ambulant users; and high-visibility clothing for blind and visually impaired participants. There are two other SNO!Zone centres in the UK – at Xscape Castleford and Xscape Glasgow. Disability Snowsport UK operate at both sites, and several other indoor ski centres: Hemel Hempstead, Tamworth and Manchester.

Food & drink: SNO!lounge is an alpine-style restaurant/bar overlooking the ski slope. Open 8am till 9pm this is a spacious and pleasant area to warm up and watch others still on the slope. Pizza, paninis, jacket potatoes, toasted sandwiches, nachos, etc are available, as is a kids menu and desserts.