(Who has registered and logged into)
|Resort: Alpincenter 640m indoor snow slope
Domain: Bottrop, near Essen in a particularly industrial and not very picturesque part of the very industrial and not very picturesque Ruhr valley (see pictures)
Our holiday: I was attached to some surgeons at the university teaching hospital in Nijmegen, Netherlands for a few weeks and popped over the nearby border (what border?) one day.
Website : http://www.alpincenter.com/
Basics : I caught the InterCity IC3022 from Nijmegen to Arnhem, then the brilliant 330km/h InterCityExpress ICE 123 (see pictures) to Oberhausen Hbf, then the PEG81217 to Bottrop Hbf from where it is a short and cheap taxi ride or a long and very cheap bus ride into town and out again! Google Earth 51.5236784365, 6.96589959667 On the way back, I met a Dutch girl carrying skis at Arnhem station, we shared a pleasant wait and short ride together talking about my day out in Bottrop and her whole season! in Meribel. She was going to surprise her parents who didnâ€™t know she was arriving back that day.
Lift system : Two noisy but efficient rubber travelators â€“ easy to use but one major proviso â€“ donâ€™t get snow between your bases and the slick rubber as youâ€™ll suddenly find itâ€™s really rather slippery and a looong slide down. Can be funny if someone falls, as unless you step off you'll be taken out as well, and maybe even then if the other person is sliding down. I tried jumping over onto the parallel track as I saw some others do. I didn't make it and took out that track myself. Also, canâ€™t help the feeling that youâ€™re about to get shrink-wrapped and shipped out to the Far East. (see pictures)
The terrain : About 125m nursery slope at the top. Hence a warning sign...which should probably be a bit larger (see pictures). Then, like a river leading to a waterfall there is a point of no return! It gets significantly steeper ~250m including a bends to the right, then sharp left and gets even steeper ~125m (though this can be mitigated by skiing the outside curve), then sharp left again ~100m, then ~50m run -out/-up to finish. You actually enter the slope near the bottom of the nursery slope. You ski down the main slope to the bottom and come up the lift then ski down the nursery slope to where you came in. The nursery slope itself is served by a rope tow on the right of the slope as you are skiing down. (see pictures)
The snow : Somewhere between MK and Tamworth. Not good but not bad. Carveable with decent skis and a little attention to technique, or a lot of aggression.
Off-piste : concrete and rubble â€“ not for the faint-hearted...or the sane; attempt only if armour available - something like a Challenger 2 MBT would be about right. (see picture)
The resort : Marc Girardelli co-partner in the business. A large shed built on a hill. A bit dark inside, like all sheds. Cheap and cheerful really. Parking area at the bottom, then take a separate rubber conveyor travelator up, or parking at the top and walk straight into ticket and equipment hire place. Usual dome rental equipment but there was a shop where you could negotiate a 'demo' for a small fee. I got some Dynastar slalom skis with gooood edges. (see pictures)
Food : Big area for feeding and watering with separate bar area. Unlimited food and drink included in the price! Decent choice, quantity and quality. You can stuff yourself all day from 1130 when the restaurant opens until it closes 2200 (and some people did â€“ I wondered if they knew that you could ski there too), going in and out as many times as you like. Unlimited free soft drinks and beer (not sure how wise that is but witnessed no problems on slope) with spirits extra. (see pictures)
Accommodation : Golden Tulip Val Monte with pool quite nice but 60 miles away in another country (Berg en Dal, near Nijmegen)
Costs: 40 euros all in for all day (0930-2400) skiing - take note HH/MK! And with free food and drink included. And itâ€™s 30 euros on a weekday. It's the deal of the century.
Conclusion: Why canâ€™t they build one here?!? And those prices? Iâ€™d move in. Iâ€™m sure itâ€™d be cheaper than running my household!
Pictures: On Zone. Sort by filename to go through them logically.
Ian Hopkinson - Contains extended scenes of peril - Me & Mrs H