WEEK 3 updated: BLOG - On the slopes @ Snozone

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Week three on the slopes and it was the last chance for Tommy to master his downward descents before the half-term break, writes Mark Bradley.

It had already been a busy weekend - karate and football already done - but although a bit tired he was really looking forward to his academy session.

The good thing about the set up at Xscape it’s pretty easy to get your child sorted, and even though you have to contend with getting the boots, skis, helmet etc there are no queues and the staff are really helpful.

And for the parents there is always the viewing area with a coffee bar, which is fine for a Sunday morning.

This week Tommy was back on his pizzas and trying to turn through several cones that had been laid out on the slope.

He did ok - manoeuvering his way through successfully sometimes, and not so successfully on other occasions.

But ski-ing is like any other skill, practice is required.

And the good thing about SnoAcademy is that the practice comes on a regular basis so they build on their learning rather than forget it.

At the end of the session he received his first learner’s certificate and all the academy kids had a party lunch.

So I’m sure we’ll be back for more after half-term!

To find more out about SnoAcademy, go to www.snozoneuk.com/sno-academy

Week two on the slopes on Sunday morning and Tommy was really keen to get his skis back on.

What has become evident, even in such a short space of time, is that my son favours speed over control.

There certainly appears to be no fear about going down the slopes, even to the point where “crashing is fun”.

So half the challenge for the instructors is to make the relatively boring bits - how to slow down for example - seem interesting to a five-year-old with a helmet on.

It’s made really easy to understand - using a pizza and chips analogy.

Tommy is told to make a pizza shape with his skis to control his descent (the ski tips forming a point) and then chips to speed up (parallel skis).

He really gets it, and we discuss how he did with “his pizza” in the car home.

After a quick breakfast first though...all that pizza and chips got me hungry!

To find more out about SnoAcademy, go to www.snozoneuk.com/sno-academy

Week 1 - I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go on a skiing holiday when I was a kid and learn how to slide down the side of a mountain, writes Mark Bradley.

Those were the days when a trip abroad was the only way to do it - so it was expensive for my dad but I loved the experience (and so did he, because mum stayed at home).

Now, of course, you can get to grips with skiing and snowboarding a little closer to home, and my eldest Tommy had a taster session at Snozone, at Xscape, Castleford, before Christmas.

He’s no natural athlete, but he really enjoyed it...and after days of begging to go back I signed him up for their SnoAcademy, which is a term-time club designed to teach young children the basics of how to ski or snowboard.

Sunday was his first session, and I’ve agreed to write a weekly blog about his experiences so that readers can ascertain whether or not it might be a good option for their kids too.

I’ll get into more detail about the lessons next week - suffice to say that his instructor Kirsty said he made a good start!

To find more out about SnoAcademy, go to www.snozoneuk.com/sno-academy