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Harlow used to have a dry slope........

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I work in Harlow (and for my sins used to live here) and they used to have a dry slope which closed a couple of years back. Over the last few weeks they've been leveling it to build houses. They've had to shift some earth to do this. Anyone else seen anything similar.
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That's a shame. There must be a way that these slopes could be retained, with new housing done in the style of ski chalets.

The slope where I used to ski and teach skiing - next to Alexandra Palace in north London - was dismantled a long long time ago (15 years, at a guess). Yet, the last time I went to the site there were remnants of artificial ski matting lying around. Archaeologists should know this.
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I don't know whether it's going to stay but there is a day care nursery in what was the old "chalet" calle the Nursery Slope Exclamation
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Hillingdon has gone, after a fire. Just grass, now. The last time I went to one was 2 years ago, in Bracknell. They have a 2 seater chair lift, made a nice change, anything to avoid drag lifts!
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Yes, the Bracknell slope is one of only two plastic slopes (the other being Hillend / Midlothian outside Edinburgh) served by a chairlift.

Not a lot of people know that.
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Will give Bracknell a go (only 10 miles away) and post a report over in Resorts Wink snowHead
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Well, well, Paul S, you learn new things on snowHeads every day. I live quite near the Hillingdon slope and used to go there quite often. I didn't know anything about a fire or that the slope had closed.
But then I usually go to Hemel Hempstead or High Wycombe now - I suppose they are both still in existence....?
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As far as I know they are both still there. I used to use them before every season, to avoid "wasting" the first day's skiing. Over the years this reduced to one visit, as I seemed to get my ability back more and more quickly.
The last visit to Bracknell was only as an observer. I was taking a group to Courchevel, and the beginners took a days course. They all thought it worth while.
This has reminded me that I have been to Sheffield, Beckton, Hemel, Wycombe, Hillingdon and one that I can't remember! It was in south east London near a motorway. Not very long but quite wide. Anyone got any ideas on the location? I may have to phone a friend. Embarassed
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David Goldsmith wrote:
That's a shame. There must be a way that these slopes could be retained, with new housing done in the style of ski chalets.

The slope where I used to ski and teach skiing - next to Alexandra Palace in north London - was dismantled a long long time ago (15 years, at a guess). Yet, the last time I went to the site there were remnants of artificial ski matting lying around. Archaeologists should know this.


Interesting, I used to live near Alexandra Palace (now I live nearer Harlow - AKA Howlow?, but my nearest slope is Welwyn/Hatfield, I think). Where was the Alexandra Palace one placed?
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skanky, Ally Pally ski slope was on the other side of the carpark outside the ice rink. At a guess it was built in the early 60s.
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Do you mean where the pitch and putt is on this map?

Incidentally, the "Sports Ground" used to be a race course, and by the "A" of Alexandra is the old railway station.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Wed 28-04-04 13:32; edited 1 time in total
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Beckton slope closed to build a new real-snow indoor slope over it (same financiers as Milton Keynes "Xcape" Snowzone, though otherwise independent). They got in the foundations and then went bankrupt. I gather someone else is trying to get the scheme off the ground again (see www.the boarder.co.uk/snowuki/beck/ ).
I don't go to dry slopes any more, now that I can ski real snow at Milton Keynes (175yd slopes with 2 lifts).
One tip, though: they add something to the snow that reacts with skiwax and slows you down. If you take your own skis take off the wax.
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I've never skied a dry slope. Judging by the bits of matting you sometimes come across near low lifts etc I think I'd probably hate it. What is it like?
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Chris Bish, good for lessons. I had a great day with the SCGB at Bracknell (ages ago). Use your own boots and rock skis, the rentals seem to be aimed at beginners. A friend spent so much time at Hillingdon, over 6 weeks, he could ski by the time we went on holiday. Mind you, I don't think he was paying...
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Paul S, what are rock skis? are they special ones for dry slopes?

I'm only 25 miles from Tamworth and the snowdome, but the Telford slope is nearer for a possible summer fix!
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The only problem with the John Nike Ski thingey in Bracknell is that its in Bracknell!

I never got the attraction of skiing on carpet
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Nadenoodlee wrote:
The only problem with the John Nike Ski thingey in Bracknell is that its in Bracknell!


Only just, though.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Still Bracknell (scum pit)
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skanky, the site of the old Ally Pally ski slope is NE from the Palace building, beyond the P (carpark symbol) and side road.
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Chris Bish, 'rock skis' ('skis cailloux' over here).... the battered old pair of skis you use instead of your shiny new ones when the whole domain is something like it was when we got down to Villaroger the other week!
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PG, and I was on shiny new ones! Pete I've just been trying (and failing) to mail you some pics from our day together. They seem to be too big for Outlook. I'll try your wedderburn address from my webmail.

But excite rejected it as not a proper address!
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David Goldsmith wrote:
skanky, the site of the old Ally Pally ski slope is NE from the Palace building, beyond the P (carpark symbol) and side road.


Oh, right! Despite walking that way many times, I never noticed it. I believe that you can see it in this picture. Is it the rectangle just above the oval shape on the path, the oval being the rose garden and fountain mentioned below, or the bit with the blue smudge (which I seem to remember is just a gravelled area)?

What's left won't be there for long though:

"Alexandra Palace, meanwhile, has won a £3.5m Heritage Lottery grant to restore the north London park to its former glory. Work starts this summer and is due to be completed in 2007. The project includes restoring the rose garden and fountain, transforming a disused ski slope into parkland and building a visitor centre."

Next time I'm back there, I'll have a close look.
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Paul S, Could it be Sandown at Esher? I used to work there, only 100m long, but quite wide with a corner that got very shiny as new Dendix is too expensive! We had to close every time they had horse racing. The slope is still there and still going the last I heard.

Didn't know about Hillingdon, what a shame - it was a nice slope to ski. Crying or Very sad

David Goldsmith, I remember going to Ally Pally in around 1972! Skullie

Chris Bish, It's like ski-ing on very slow ice. Better if they're using the sprinklers. Very good for skill training as you can't actually do any real ski-ing - just practising bits and bobs. If you take your own skis use furniture polish on the soles, sparkle is good, or Back to Black is very fast. You have to re-spray each run though. They usually bevel the edges of all the new skis as they cut into the plastic "hairs" and damage the slope. Some slopes are very funny about you using your own skis for this reason. Be sure to clean the soles of your skis afterwards with meths or something like that, as the furniture polish doesn't like regular wax. Exclamation
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I tend to use Mr Sheen snowHead Never tried Back to Black, must give it a go Exclamation
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skanky, I'm having slight difficulty interpreting the aerial photo, but here are exact directions:

Turn off the road that runs along the front of Ally Pally, as if to access the ice rink and boating lake. There is a parking area to the left, and one to the right. The right one used to serve as the ski slope carpark. Walk to the end of it and continue for about 50 yards. The ground then slopes away, and that's where the ski slope used to be. There was a row of Portakabin-type huts at the top which contained the ski hire and bar. There was a rope tow, a beginners' slope and a main slope. At a guess, the main slope was about 80 yards long.

I'd be delighted to meet you up there sometime and help you search for plastic bristles if you want a souvenir!
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Oh my goodness, i once skied at the Crystal Palace slope when i was there for some Brownie Guide jamboree thing, many yearsa ago snowHead . I had forgotten all about it. As for the other dry slopes in the area, well, these days i teach at Bracknell (Not this year though, due to injury) and do like their little chairlift, when it is on. Used to do the race club thing at Hillingdon when i was a student in the area for a year, and have been to Sandown also. A cute slope, where you maily learn to turn left, due to the large bend in the middle!!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
David Goldsmith - thanks, I think I can work it out from your directions, but I may be in the area in a couple of weeks and will post on here before I go.

I suppose I'd better get there soon, seing as they'll be digging it all up in the near future. It'd be interesting to see (am I sad?) though, I've spent quite a lot of time up there and never noticed it. Most of the little "archeology" I did up there was around the old railway line and trying to work out where my Grandad was stationed at the start of WWII - there was an anti aircraft emplacement near the main line.
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easiski, I will have to check with my partner in crime! I think it was near Bexley, overlooking the A2 (looking at an A-Z).
Correction- Bromley ski centre, overlooking the A20. Well, I was close!
Chris Bish, yes, tatty old skis! Mine have been sent to the tip, it was a merciful end.
Robbie, Most of the racers at Hillingdon all had their own secret formula for base preparation, which they applied at the top of the slope. I only did the race night once, it was obvious I was new to it, as I pole planted through every gate!
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Is there still a dry slope at Brentwood, behind the Ford's offices at Warley.
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ian bloomfield, Yes there still is, and it has a website http://www.brentwoodskicentre.co.uk/site/frameindex.htm . I once went there and had a tumble and seriously bruised my behind Crying or Very sad
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All plastic slope lovers should know the tale of Beckton Alps in London, now defunct and the site of an abandoned snowdome to replace it.

Beckton Alps was the site of an old gasworks, and therefore a very poisonous piece of land. The Docklands Development Corporation had the bright idea of shovelling the remains of the gasworks and all its nasties into two heaps, to be known as the 'northern and southern' Beckton Alps. In the end, one big Alp was built, which was coated and sealed safe with a thick layer of London clay, excavated from the huge basement hole that was dug for the new British Library at St Pancras.

Not a lot of people know that. But what will become of Beckton Alps now? Will the snowdome plan be revived? Will skiing return to Beckton in any form?
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There was an initial idea to reinstate the dry slope at Ally Pally, but that seems to have been rejected.

Beckton Alp and update.

And more (scroll down).
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ally Pally also had a snowdome plan to replace its defunct plastic ski slope. But the whole story of Ally Pally is one of failed dreams. As the site of the world's first TV transmission it should be a global landmark - and the building is an extraordinary structure - but it's always suffered from a lack of public transport from central London. It also doesn't help when the place is consumed in flames, which has happened twice!

Something must be done.
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It is having some work done on it (see my link above). It also used to have a direct rail link from Finsbury park (hence Kings Cross). The line up to the Palace was later removed (the hill always caused problems), and the connecting link from Finsbury Park to Archway was to become part of the Underground network. However, that plan fell through and the line is now a park, open to walkers (and sometime Muntjac deer) and is quite nice in parts.

The old stations can still be seen, and, including the part finished parts at Archway.

My Dad used to live down the high from Ally Pally, and my Grandfather worked for the (then) Post Office. Using spare parts from work, he built the first TV in the area (or street at least) and used an old frying pan, pointed out the back window, up the hill, towards the transmitter, as an aerial. Cool

But yes, Ally Pally really should be more than it currently is.
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Bracknell update - reports that the slope is "sticky" at the bottom, and the chair lift is out of order. Also, the sprinkler system is not a lot of use, so go in the rain!
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