In May, we were invited along to the launch of the re-imagined Snow Park at Manchester’s Chill Factore. The Snow Park sits next to the Chill Factore’s giant indoor ski slope, and offers the whole family a chance to play in the snow together, whatever the weather. When we last went to the Snow Park, it was set up as a contest, where you work with your family/friends to go on as many activities and clock up as many points as you can on each of the activities. You had a set time on each of the 3 zones (tubing, ice luge and sledging) and points earned were converted into mountain metres – the ultimate aim being to earn enough metres to reach the top of Everest. The new design has done away with this competition element, and you are now free to go on whichever of the activities takes your fancy during your 1 or 2 hour slot.
The biggest difference in the new design is in the tubing area. You take an inflatable donut, drag it onto a travellator and are carried up to the top of the tubing slope. Previously, there were only 2 lanes to go down, which I could imagine at busy times would lead to big queues building up. Now, there are 4 racing lanes and, with the introduction of double donuts, racers no longer have to ride solo. Instead, up to eight people can ride at one time across the 4 lanes, so the entire family can race against each other. This was definitely a bonus for us, being quite a competitive lot!! The donuts fly down pretty fast, which is lots of fun, but there are big inflatable crash pads at the end so you never feel unsafe or out of control. We loved it! There seemed to be plenty of donuts too, for minimal queuing time when it’s busy.
There is a completely new snow slide, which is essentially a trench dug into the ice which you ride down on a single donut. It went pretty fast and you spin around on the way down, so that was lots of fun too! The popular ice slide/luge still remains in the new-look Snow Park – you grab what looks like a thin body board with handles, lie flat on your back at the top of the slide and then whizz down the ice track, flying up the sides on the corners. A definite favourite in our family! And last but not least, the sledging slope is still there, offering the chance to race a friend on single sledges, or gather some serious speed on a double sledge. The kids enjoyed beating us in races and then spraying us with snow at the bottom when they put their feet down to brake……
At each of the areas, there are staff on hand to make sure you’re riding safely and to give you a push off if needed.
It gets pretty cold in the Snow Park, so you’ll need lots of under-layers and then waterproof trousers, jackets, ski gloves and boots. If you have this equipment it’s best to bring it if you want to avoid an additional charge for equipment hire, but if you don’t everything can be hired. All the kit looked brand new when we went and kept us nice and toasty. No need for hats – helmets are provided free of charge to everyone.
We had a brilliant morning at the Snow Park, and will definitely be back. Ed is even considering having his team away day at the Snow Park, as they can organise corporate events and private hire.
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