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Southampton Plastic Fantastic... or otherwise?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does anyone have experience of the dry slope in Southampton?

Just over 6 weeks until i head out, spent a couple of hours at Hemel but its a bit far to go regularly... the Soton place has a 30 day pass which would let me go as much as i wanted, although id stll need to pay for tuition / coaching... is it worth it?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's fine if you're an absolute beginner and are looking for tuition so that you don't waste your first proper holiday on snow learning how to stand up in skis. The surface is a plastic brush grid which is very grippy when dry so it's hard to get any speed up, it's a bit quicker when wet but can also be a bit iffy if you fall; dislocated thumbs are not uncommon because of the mesh structure. This close to your holiday you don't want an injury! On the other hand, starting your first proper week on snow one step up from the beginners' class will open up the mountain to you and you won't look back snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
That's all assuming you're a beginner. If you're not then don't bother, it's way too slow IMO. Skis just don't run on that surface. Last time I went I straightlined the main slope and just got slower and slower as I went down, then burnt myself on my hired skis at the bottom due to the friction. Don't ever take your own skis on that slope unless you wish to melt them.
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Quote:
it's hard to get any speed up
Try going there on a race weekend.

Quote:
dislocated thumbs are not uncommon because of the mesh structure
Well, it is Dendix.

It's a decent slope and any dry slope experience will greatly enhance your time on snow. It's also soooo much cheaper than a dome.

Broken record time, but Snowtrax is so much nicer and the surface is more forgiving for kids and beginners if you can get to Christchurch.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks @moosepig, I'm no beginner, and we're only going for 3 days so wanted to get some practise in before as not enough time for a lesson out there... had a blast at HH but could always do with more pointers!
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I honestly wouldn't bother. You'd be better off going to MK or Hemel a couple more times.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hi @HoneyBunny, that would be my preference but with work, family, etc I'm pushed for time... =0(

@musher, thanks for the pointer on Snowtrax, will have a look =0)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I originally learnt to snowboard at Southampton - seemed fine at the time when I didn't know any better.

Now I've found the luxury of snow (both in the mountains and in the domes), I find it quite awkward going back to the dry slope at Southampton - I find it needs a slightly different / more refined technique (more patience on my turns) that results in a lot of bad habits kicking the board round to finish off a turn that I pretty much got rid of on snow creeping back in. This is especially true if the weather's been little dry because they don't seem to water the slope very often so it can dry out and run a touch slow.

I've also tried Snowtrax - the surface seemed better than Southampton although I found it harder to hold my edge than I'm used to. I'm not sure if that's the same on skis or if it's a little easier to ski on.
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@EarthWindandWater, I spent a few days taking lessons there about 2009, its ok and staff were ok, it was a good taster and made me more confident when I actually hit the slope. The Calshot Activity Centre also had a dry slope which was ok for absolute beginners (It was a solid brush, so less chance of getting caught), but it was quite short.

Snowtrax definitely looks better though!
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some negative comments for plastic here. I'll drop my tuppence worth. I race trained on plastic and some of the best skiers I know learnt and spent their youth racing and practicing on plastic. plenty passed the euro test and are teaching in the alps. I'd rather practice on plastic than in a dome, a lot cheaper get, back to the top quicker and less people in your way.
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@EarthWindandWater, not been on the Southampton one but can second that I like the Snowtrax one, it is the best dry slope surface that I have skied on. Also if you are able to get a half day off they do coaching coffee mornings where you get coaching and a coffee for £13.50 (IIRC). I did this with my daughter before Christmas when she broke up several days ahead of my youngest. If you don’t have your own gear there is also a hire charge for that. I enjoyed my daughter less so (she is 11 and felt she didn’t get what they were asking her do).
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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.
Thanks all, vety helpful...
@NickyJ, I saw those, could be a winner!!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Southampton Dry slope is in my opinion the best dry slope there is. Possibly because it is centred around Skiing and boarding.
Snowtrax vaguley near Christchurch, Hurn Airport and Ringwood has the most awful lift possible (Soton has two proper draglifts) certainly not a type of lift you see very often in a ski resort and if you are over 5ft involves bending double!
Snowtrax main income appears to be from kiddies on innertubes having a birthday party and yoofs hanging out at the top of the slope yelling at their mates who are sitting across the rise at the end of the main slope.
The staff on the slope are marginally less rude than the shop, restaurant or boot/ski issuing staff. I assume they have been taught their non-existent customer skills by the one bar maid who seems to think she is employed only to serve the dubious 'locals' lined along the bar. Should she drag her self away from said punters she will dramatically overcharge you.
Please don't ask the shop staff any questions as getting the look of pure disdain on their face is clearly much more of an effort than avoiding you in the first place!
Apart from all of the above, it is of course more expensive than the slope in Southampton.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@boredsurfin, can’t disagree about the lift on the main slope, yes that is the worst lift I have ever used.

The rest though doesn’t match my experience there. Maybe it is a timing thing and we have managed to time it right (we do try and always avoid their busy times).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@NickyJ, Sadly my experiences there are over a number of visits over a period of 2 years, obviously I haven't been back since the 2016 season for the reasons above
I find Soton more professional perhaps because they have no other priority than skiing and boarding.
Those saying that plastic is slow. Southampton usually has a lube block near the top of the main slope. Or go on a rainy day Toofy Grin
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Or take a bog standard candle to rub on the ski bases every now and then if there's no lube block.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@EarthWindandWater, I'm biased as my children train at Southampton, but for little more than the price of one indoor slope session, give the £30 pass a try.

As @Mother hucker, has pointed out, some of GB's best racers and freestylers have started on plastic so it can't be that bad (Billy Morgan is a Southampton dry slope graduate).

I'd also encourage as many people as possible to use our dryslopes - use it or lose it - without our support, we may not keep our dryslopes for the next generation coming through.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yes @rachelharrisonsmith, the 30 day pass is "value" compared to a single session. However their times for coaching don't quite fit with my little ones' routines!

Agree that we need to support whatever we've got: not everywhere can be "real" snow indoors and grass roots is essential for any sport.
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For those saying plastic is slow have a look at how 'slow' The Rocket is on plastic:-

dave early years-LITE from happy coach
https://vimeo.com/88270491

@rachelharrisonsmith, do you mean Billy Major rather than Morgan? Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Gaza, +1. I think plastic shows up technique like nothing else (it certainly shows mine up). The best skiers look amazing, and the rest of us realise we're not as good as we thought!

Any hint of skid in your turns is immediately exposed by the friction of the slope, but when you watch our coach ski near-perfectly, it's almost indistinguishable from snow.
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@Gaza, I mean Billy Morgan, though granted he's a boarder rather than a skier.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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@EarthWindandWater, If you choose to use Southampton then from a journey planning perspective you should be aware that Bassett Avenue (part of the usual route from J5 M27) is closed inbound from Feb 11th for 4 Weeks so diversions will be inplace and may add some time to your journey!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Gaza,
Great video, cheers for the link. I trained on dry slope in my younger days, raced with LSRA and skied dry slopes all round the UK including Dublin.
It's an amazing resource and great opportunity to hone technique, but needs some time to get used to the surface and adapt your style.
I also love the outdoors so that's a big advantage over fridges.
Seriously hope the Sheffield Ski Village rises from the ashes and the recent bid goes ahead. I want to at least offer my boy the chance, should he want it.
I'd rather be in the mountains but it's not always possible and I owe a lot to plastic!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Has anyone used the revolving slopes at Basingstoke? How do they compare to a traditional dry slope?
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thelem wrote:
Has anyone used the revolving slopes at Basingstoke? How do they compare to a traditional dry slope?


I learnt on the dry slope and used to teach beginners on the one at Aldershot. I tried skiplex in Reading a couple of years ago and couldn't get on with it all. I'm sure if you learn on it then it's probably fine.
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thelem wrote:
Has anyone used the revolving slopes at Basingstoke? How do they compare to a traditional dry slope?


Ive been to the Basingrad one a couple of times, very different IMO but if you can get used to it i suspect it is "good": you can't get away with being lazy!!
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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.
thelem wrote:
Has anyone used the revolving slopes at Basingstoke? How do they compare to a traditional dry slope?


Terrible, couldn't get out of a snowplough! I thought the Basingstoke Skiplex closed?
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I used the wind tunnel a few weeks ago. No one was actually skiing at the time (a weekday evening), but the slopes were still there and looked like they were still in use.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
UPDATE - have been to a few sessions at Snowtrax now, was impressed with the experience. ("Trip Report" here)

@boredsurfin: I was mindful of your comments above, but from my experience things may have gotten better over the last couple of years: even in half term, the staff and service were great. However, in the interests of balance I get the chance I will try Southampton for a direct comparison.

@NickyJ: I really enjoyed the coffee morning session, if only I was retired like (almost) everyone else there, not sure I could pull off WFH at the dryslope...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@EarthWindandWater, that and Mums that aren’t working at that time. Two of them had children in the same school as mine.

Glad you enjoyed it.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
30 quid for a 30 day pass..... What's not to like about that. I've got that for my kids at the moment, gives us something to do and they love it. It's no mountain..... It's short, but it's fun.
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