Snowboarding Lessons at Chill Factore is a paid collaboration with Chill Factore.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always secretly wished that I could snowboard.
Partly, this is because I’ve watched the film Chalet Girl far too many times. Maybe because my Mum never let me have ice skating lessons. And partly because I used to skateboard in my teens, so I figure I’ve got more chance of staying upright on a snowboard than skis.
This Easter, my Chalet Girl dreams came a (tiny) step closer to reality when the folks at Chill Factore invited us to try out their new “Fresh” programme, which claims to be able to teach anyone to ski or snowboard in six hours. And for the bargain price of £89!
The Fresh programme is all about encouraging kids and parents to try out new things and learn new skills. The six hours of tuition don’t have to be done all in one day – it’s a lot easier for kids and those of us who might not be in peak physical condition to split the lessons over two or three days.
That said, we opted to do our lessons in a single day, because we were away for most of Easter. This meant lessons starting at 11am and finishing at 6.50pm. This makes for a long day but there’s an hour for lunch plus two shorter breaks. It’s the sort of thing that’s perfect if you want to get your skills up to speed fast before a winter break.
At this stage, I have a confession to make.
For the morning session, Flea’s Dad actually took the lesson with her. He’s also always wanted to learn to snowboard. And when presented with the opportunity to spend a few hours watching my ex-husband fall over? Well, it’s a better woman than me who could say no.
See? Doesn’t he look excited?
Of course, Flea has been skiing before, but she has never snowboarded before, so they were both complete beginners! I think it’s great for parent and child to be on a level playing field, both learning something new together!
Starting the Chill Factore Experience
We arrived 40 minutes before our 11am lesson start time.
Check-in was really fast, and smooth. That said, the extra time was needed because Flea and her Dad both needed to hire cosy coats and snowboarding trousers. Do be aware this costs an extra £8 per person plus £5 per person for gloves, if you need them.
You’ll also be fitted for snowboarding boots and a helmet. These items are included in the lesson fee.
Once the guys were all kitted up, our instructor Brad arrived and the lesson began. Lessons can have up to nine students – but we attended on a quiet day so there were just four people, including Flea and her Dad.
What’s Covered in the Snowboard Lessons
The snowboarding lesson started with the basics. How to get your board on (and off) and how to move across and up the slope by taking one foot off the board and hopping like a bunny.
After that Flea and her Dad spent the next couple of hours gradually moving slightly higher up the beginner slope, and taking turns sliding down – first forward, then back. Brad was by Flea’s side the whole time, talking her through how to control her descent, and how to stop.
There’s a magic-carpet escalator at the side of the slope, so you don’t waste loads of time trekking up the hill between slides, and it gives your legs a bit of a rest.
After a much-needed break during which Flea’s Dad complained a LOT about his arches (apparently THAT’S why he fell over so often), it was back to the slopes.
Over the next few hours, I watched as Flea moved gradually further up the slope. She learned to slide down forward, then backward, and then moved on to learning to steer the board with her toes.
There were a few tumbles, and definitely some bruising. But Flea was having so much fun she barely noticed. Even Flea’s Dad managed to go a few feet down the slope without falling after a couple of hours.
At lunchtime, Flea’s Dad decided to “take a little break” from snowboarding lessons, and I finally got to live out my Chalet Girl dreams.
I can confirm that a) I have no natural balance and b) snowboarding boots really hurt your calves.
Can you learn to snowboard in six hours?
The Fresh programme at Chill Factore promises that you’ll learn to snowboard (or ski) in six hours. Our experience is that after a few hours of snowboarding lessons, you’ll definitely be able to stand up, and descend a simple slope confidently.
But don’t panic – if it takes you longer, the company promises to offer top-up lessons until you ARE at the required standard.
If the Fresh course whets your appetite, then it’s worth knowing that this course covers stage 1, 2 and 3 of the venue’s snowboard training.
You can also sign up to do their intermediate lessons (stage 4, 5 and 6). These lessons take place on the Chill Factore main slope. This is actually the longest indoor ski slope in the UK, and looks pretty terrifying to me!
How to Book
If you’d like to learn to ski or snowboard then the Fresh offer is – honestly – amazing value for money. Standard snowboarding lessons at Chill Factore cost £140 for adults, so £89 really is a steal.
The £89 offer applies to lessons and courses taken booked and taken before 31/05/2019. If you book before May 5th, you can also book the snow park for £20 a person, or £75 for a family of four.
Find out more about the special “Guaranteed to Ski” offer over on the Chill Factore website here.
We were offered complimentary snowboarding lessons and paid for our time in creating this review.