Ski Club member Rosemary Beale talks about her experience skiing at Chill Factore during COVID-19 restrictions

When Chill Factore re-opened its doors after the first lockdown I went along to find out what t’s like using an indoor slope during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

New Opening Hours

  • Monday to Friday from Midday to 8pm
  • Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 6pm 

Snow 

Chill Factore prides itself on snow quality, so to ensure amazing snow they removed the top half during the closure. The lower half remained in place to maintain a really solid base. In the weeks prior to opening, all the snow cannons were run day & night to deliver tonnes of amazing, fresh, new snow to enjoy! It was good quality stuff when I skied on it.   

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Snow making

Covid-19 Measures

In line with the Government's guidance on the use of face coverings in enclosed public spaces, face coverings are now mandatory throughout the BEYOND building, including Alpine Street, Changing Village, and whilst participating in activities on the snow.

Other measures include:

  • One-way systems throughout the building
  • Sanitisation stations throughout the building (both warm-side and slope-side) •
  • All guest-facing staff wear face shields • Social distancing at 2m throughout the building
  • Perspex screens on all the guest-facing desks
  • No rental clothing, changing cubicles, or locker facilities
  • Reduced activity and main slope capacities
  • Regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces
  • All equipment is now sanitized between use. This includes skis, boards, boots, poles, helmets, doughnuts, and sledges. It’s an expensive, onerous task but one they are fully committed to delivering thoroughly.

Social Distancing

Chill Factore has significantly reduced the capacities on the slopes, thus allowing more space for people to circulate through the centre and enjoy their time on the snow whilst also socially distancing from one another. I definitely liked having fewer slope users around.

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One-way System

A one-way system now operates. When entering the building, you use the set of doors between Costa & Pauls’s Ice Cream. Then progress around Alpine Street anti-clockwise. When entering the Changing Village, you turn left towards the toilets and circulate clockwise. On the snow, the existing orange walkway is now reserved for those returning from the Main Slope to the Changing Village. An alternative walkway is in place for those heading out onto the Slope. To access the first floor, you head up the escalator and return down the staircase.

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Chill Factore walk-through

  

Changing Facilities

In line with the latest Government guidance, there are no changing facilities or lockers except if you're an adaptive skier. You need to arrive dressed ready for your activity. I changed in the car park. A few other people did too. Chill Factore are allowing you to take in a rucksack or suitable bag to store footwear and belongings on the slope although I noticed everyone has adopted the tactic of getting ready in the car park.

Equipment

You can bring your own equipment or hire is available included in the price of the activity. Hire clothing is no longer available. You can collect Chill Factore equipment (helmet, ski boots/ snowboard boots, skis, and snowboard) from the Changing Village, where there are members of the team to assist you with your selection. All rental equipment including boots and helmets are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised after every use. Helmets can also be purchased at the Guest Services desk.

Skiers will need to be measured and fitted for ski boots. Go to the ski-fit measuring machines on the way to the Ski/Snowboard collection benches; remove your shoes, roll up the bottom of your trousers and stand on the machine, and follow the instructions. This machine is able to calculate the size boots and skis you require and will print a receipt that can be exchanged for the equipment from the Snow Crew.

It can get very busy within the Changing Village, particularly during peak times, so allow enough time to collect equipment. I recommend arriving at Chill Factor 20 – 30 minutes before your activity start time.

  • It is compulsory for all children under 17yrs to wear a helmet for all activities. It is compulsory for all adults aged 17 and over to wear a helmet for the following activities:
  • All ski and snowboard lessons and coaching sessions.
  • Snow Park
  • Freestyle, Race, and Moguls
  • Competition

When you have finished skiing look for signs indicating where to leave your rental equipment immediately as you return to the Changing Village. It's important that used equipment is left in the right place to allow the team to sanitise it effectively. 

Lessons

At the current time, Government guidance only permits people to meet indoors with people from their own household (or support bubble.) Group lessons risk contravening these rules by mixing more households together and so aren’t available.

There have also been restrictions around lessons for younger children due to the possibility of a greater level of contact between the child and instructor should the child fall.

Any restrictions on only Chill Factore staff teaching appear to have been lifted. I booked a private 2 hour lesson with a BASI Level 4 ISTD from Pulse Snowsports. (BASI = British Association of Snowsports Instructors)

Terrain Challenges

Terrain Challenges & Moguls are available each month. Details of mogul timings are available on the Chill Factore website.

Moguls

Snowpark

When I was there the tubing had re-opened. Sessions are 45 minutes long, taking place at half past the hour to enable sanitisation between slots. The staff ensured social distancing was maintained by users. 

Ticket Collection

Chill Factore is encouraging tickets to be pre-booked online. Bring the booking reference with you (you can find this on your booking confirmation email) and you can either collect your tickets from the Guest Services desk or from the Self Service ticket machines situated near the staircase. Social distancing measures are in place at the Self Service machines and at the desk with protective screens in place for the safety of guests and team members.

Keep your ticket with you as you’ll need this to gain access to the snow at the stated time on your ticket. 

If you are using an NHS discount your ticket can only be purchased on arrival at the desk. It cannot be pre-booked. I had no problems doing this and got a slope slot for the time I wanted.

Discount entitlements :
DSUK and BASI discounts are temporarily suspended.
NHS, 999, Emergency Services discounts remain.
I paid £20 instead of £27 for my slope pass 

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