Last weekend we took ourselves off on a bit of an exciting adventure to Chill Factore, our local indoor snow destination! As Amy and I watched the fun from the warmth of the Mont Blanc Cafe (and tried to take photos for you) I’m handing over to Dave for a full write up of the frosty fun!
We love a good adventure here. The clue’s in the name really! So we were thrilled to be invited to The Snow Park at Chill Factore near the Trafford Centre in Manchester. If you haven’t heard of Chill Factore it boasts the UK’s longest indoor ski slope at 180m of real snow where you can learn to ski or snow board. Today however we were sliding around in a variety of fashions on the kids’ Snow Park.
Because of the age restrictions on The Snow Park, Amy wasn’t able to take part and we decided that rather than playing in Mini Mooseland on her own, she would stay with Colette whilst I took the big two. Luckily I was joined by Chris from Team Custard to help. Chris is no stranger to snowy adventures and he and Ben have a growing bromance so he was the perfect choice. Aunty Custard (Kirsty) from Team Custard joined Colette in keeping Amy occupied while the big kids (Chris and I are definitely included in that statement) played in the snow.
On offer in The Snow Park are Downhill Donuts, Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide, Sledge ‘O’ Mania and the Snow Luge – it’s worth checking the age restrictions on each of these before you book.
Once you’ve paid for your adventure at Chill Factore you need your cold weather clothing. Waterproofs are recommended as well as hats and gloves. Luckily if you haven’t got such gear yourself you can hire waterproofs and buy gloves right there. (Helmets and snow boots are provided.) It’s good gear too. The boots, trousers and coats me and the kids got were all really well fitting and comfy and kept us warm throughout. Chris had his own gear, as you can see in the pictures, and very colourful it was too! Very helpful for spotting him across the piste!
You book your time in the Snow Park in hour long blocks, which sounds like a long time but it flew by for us. It’s worth mentioning that you really need to get to Chill Factore a good while before your session starts to give you time to get changed and prepared – getting those snow boots on can be quite time consuming! Once you get inside the snow area a guide explains the rules of the Snow Park and what the various rides are and how to use them. Once that’s done you’re unleashed! We went straight for the Downhill Donuts first off. To get to these you have to ride a travelator up the slope to the top before choosing your track back down. The travelator takes a second to get used to, and getting off at the top was a little tricky for the kids in the beginning but they soon got the hang of it. At the top of the slope there are two bumpy tracks and one which is a straight, smooth track. This may sound boring but the operator at the top spins you round at quite a rate.
Chloe chose a bumpy track straight from the off while Ben went for the spinny one. I thought Chloe might not enjoy the bumpy track as she can be a bit nervous but she loved it and Ben, as predicted, enjoyed everything the Snow Park could throw at him. Even for big kids like Chris and I the donuts were good fun, and you do feel a bit dizzy once you reach the bottom of the spinny track.
We tried the Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide next. To use those you pick up a tray at the bottom of the slope and walk it up to the top. There are two Luge tracks to choose from. One is for up-to sixteen year olds and the other is for six years and up. Chloe stuck to the smaller Luge track and was very happy with it. Ben used both but in the end I think he preferred the smaller Luge. Chris and I were both restricted to the larger Luge. It was very good though. Plenty of speed with some good turns and a few drops which did a good job of stretching my spine out! Both Ben and Chloe were smiling when they reached the bottom which is the whole point.
Lastly we tried the sledging. Reluctantly I missed my turn so I could film from the bottom of the slope. Chris took the two of them up to the top with their sledges (more trudging) and Ben and Chlo had a race. Ben is very keen to point out that he won however, Chloe did travel further down the slope so I think they were both winners. Chris and I didn’t attempt the sledging as the sledges were quite small, and I could well imagine myself getting thrown off a sledge which was approximately the same size as my backside!
So with everything tried the kids chose to go on the Donuts a few more times. Trying out the different tracks over and over. We all did the Luge again a few times and then there was just enough time for the kids to have one last go on the sledges before our time was up. It really did fly by but Chloe was quite tired by the end of the session so I think it was probably just long enough!
Once we’d got the snow gear off and met up with Colette, Amy and Kirsty we went next door for Pizza at ‘Pizza della Piste’. A solid ending to a fun morning out. Anything that ends with pizza is a win in my book. We managed to feed and water four adults and three kids for £60 which was fantastic value, especially considering there was pizza leftover to take home!
Ben and Chloe have been skiing once before and they both mentioned that they’d like to do it again while we were eating afterwards. I think they’re about ready and judging by their Snow Park adventure I imagine they’d take to it very well.
*We were invited to try out the Snow Park and Pizza de la Piste free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*