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Chillfactore bought by the people who own Hemel.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
https://www.facebook.com/154299487966818/posts/4104824149580979/?sfnsn=scwspwa

No idea whether that's good for customers or not. Having never been to Hemel, I have no idea how well it's run. Puzzled
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Presumably using the money they were going to spend in Swindon?
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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?
Hemel is well run imo.
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jamtastx wrote:
Hemel is well run imo.


Agreed. I doubt if the new management will be that keen to continue with Chillfactore's previous gimmick of Zorbing (that shut off half the width of the slope to skiers when in use Evil or Very Mad ).


http://youtube.com/v/sjNJ2U09p_k
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Awdbugga, I teach a little a Hemel, so my view is that it is very well run is perhaps a little biased, however you might like to compare Tripadvisor scores for a more independent view....

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g2433765-d734957-Reviews-Chill_Factore-Stretford_Trafford_Greater_Manchester_England.html
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g503869-d1639389-Reviews-The_Snow_Centre-Hemel_Hempstead_Hertfordshire_England.html

Certainly my experience is that Hemel put a lot of effort into focusing on making the guest experience good.
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@jamtastx, The CFe is okay in general, but they have a very frustrating habit of carrying out maintenance on lifts or the bottom of the button lifts when the place is open to the public. I've lost count of how many times I've been there and there have been huge queues, because only one lift is operational; whilst they dig away at snow and re-lay mats at the bottom of the other lift. They always start the work just after they open to the public. Evil or Very Mad They also, annoyingly, fail to ensure there is snow on the very top of the button lifts. Plastic matting is nearly always showing through; which scrapes all the wax off your skis. Very frustrating. No point complaining about it, as the staff are NFI.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Alastair Pink, I've never seen any Zorbing there since I've been going there, over the past three years. I haven't seen it advertised either. Puzzled
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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!
@Awdbugga, sounds like they realised it was a dumb idea and dropped it then. Madeye-Smiley

Edit: Maybe they sold off the Zorbs at a non exzorbitant price.. Toofy Grin


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 6-04-21 15:00; edited 1 time in total
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I don't see the point of Zorbing. Might as well just sit in a spinning wheel.
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@Awdbugga, never been to Chill factor but have been known to frequent Hemel a few times a month with various other snowHead 's Laughing
It is well run even through opening in COVID in the summer. Good facilities and kept very clean.
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@Linds, the CFe was clean and everything apart from the slope seemed to be quite well run. It is just their insistence on carrying out scheduled maintenance when it is open to the public; instead of getting the staff in earlier or working over night. I walked off one day and got a refund (free pass) because the queues were horrendous. It was clearly a case of we'll do it when it's convenient for us; never mind if it inconveniences the public. It takes me close to two hours to get there some days; so facing unnecessary queues and having to walk off added to my frustrations. Evil or Very Mad
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
["Awdbugga"]@jamtastx, The CFe is okay in general, but they have a very frustrating habit of carrying out maintenance on lifts or the bottom of the button lifts when the place is open to the public. I've lost count of how many times I've been there and there have been huge queues, because only one lift is operational; whilst they dig away at snow and re-lay mats at the bottom of the other lift. They always start the work just after they open to the public. Evil or Very Mad They also, annoyingly, fail to ensure there is snow on the very top of the button lifts. Plastic matting is nearly always showing through; which scrapes all the wax off your skis. Very frustrating. No point complaining about it, as the staff are NFI.[/quote]


Yes the CF does seem to have an attitude, I agree with all the points you made. I rarely go there even though its only a short drive for me, the last time I went was for the moguls which they had not bothered to make "because they were closing for lockdown" the next week.
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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
It has to be better under new management
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I found CFe to be miles better run than Xscape Castleford. It's all relative.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
brianatab wrote:
I don't see the point of Zorbing. Might as well just sit in a spinning wheel.

Like a hamster? snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Awdbugga wrote:
@jamtastx, The CFe is okay in general. . . They also, annoyingly, fail to ensure there is snow on the very top of the button lifts. Plastic matting is nearly always showing through; which scrapes all the wax off your skis. Very frustrating. No point complaining about it, as the staff are NFI. . . .


With you on that one 100%..
They scrape the snow off the top and bottom mats at the drags at Hemel too, so I'm also p*ssed off with that as well, so don't expect any improvement there.
A snow dome with no slidey snow there: I ask you; what a preparation for the Alps!
Also, if the plastic mats aren't grippy enough to be annoying they replace them!
Gawd.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 6-04-21 16:55; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Awdbugga:
FYI, they have a habit of maintaining the drags at Hemel during the opening hours too . . .
P*sses me off.
Once again, OMIGAAWWDD!
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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?
Seahoob wrote:
It has to be better under new management

Not necessarily!

Although we haven't had the Zorbs at Hemel (yet) so far as I know.
The Park Tricks box rail ramp stuff in pursuit of the yoof demographic at the expense of us 'normal' folks usually annoys too.
Not inconsiderably.
And I know I sound like a grumpy old sod.
As usual.
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@Alastair Pink, if I saw that on arrival I'd get straight back in my car and drive home, even if it is a 2 hour drive! Mad
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hemel MD was spotted at Snozone MK last year too... Glad they have bought CFe instead tbh. Two domes in the same area would have been bad news for competition and pricing.
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Chillfactore has always been better maintained and better value for money than Xscape, so much so that even though Cas is 20 mins from me, I would actually drive to Manchester instead. Far better facility.

I hope this doesn't mean a drop in standards/hike in price at Chillfactore.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@NickYoung, prices have already gone up in the CFe.
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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!
Hopefully they'll get the freestyle nights organised on a more regular basis.
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Fat George wrote:
Seahoob wrote:
It has to be better under new management

Not necessarily!

Although we haven't had the Zorbs at Hemel (yet) so far as I know.
The Park Tricks box rail ramp stuff in pursuit of the yoof demographic at the expense of us 'normal' folks usually annoys too.
Not inconsiderably.
And I know I sound like a grumpy old sod.
As usual.


Fair enough George, I see a lot of things from the Grumpy Old Sod point of view these days, probably from bieng grumpy and old.
The CF has some excellent staff, but management decisions can change a place dramaticaly. Good to know most think Hemel is OK.
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you'll probably find that nothing will change very much - sounds like it is only a change in the money men at the top.

All the staff will be the same as under previous management probably
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I've only been to CFe once but found it hectic - parking was a total nightmare too.
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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.
Very interesting reading the above. Living a mile from CFe I’ll generally buy a pass every month (around £90 to £100 for the entire month) and go 6 nights a week and sometimes at lunch too!

After doing this for years I’ve honestly never really had much bother; it’s always seemed good value with plenty of snow and lots of bits and pieces on the evenings like jumps and moguls.

I share that the staff aren’t massively motivated - certainly at the front desk - but then it’s quite clear how chaotic the management is. I feel sorry for the staff and what they clearly have to put up with sometimes.

Their IT systems are the sort developed by somebody who isn’t really an IT person. Their hardware is the same ilk. Always managing issues and always a 45 minute queue at peak times for civilians.

I guess being a local on a pass I just get used to walking straight in and going about my business!

I am looking forwards to having “snow” oriented management but note the prices have gone through the roof whilst opening hours have been slashed, so not a great start.
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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
Just a quick update - on my last reply I stated prices have gone through the roof, yet today found that monthly passes are now £80 for the MONTH to non members in May. Can't whack that........
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Fat George,

Quote:

And I know I sound like a grumpy old sod.
As usual.


Laughing Best got off your chest.

Vote with your bindings and find a nice healthy outdoor Dendix matting slope instead?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@PeakyB: Smile

No way!

Don't give me options with my temperament.

I thought you knew that b*gg*rs can't be choosers. Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Fat George, I think we’ve had the discussion about relative cost per km skied, comparing a UK snow shed with even the tiniest lift served area in Scotland, for example.

They’re a faff and a rip off. Until they’re nationalised as an essential service, with 95% state subsidy, I’ll leave them to you snow junkies. Well, unless Chemmy buys and personally manages the slope maintenance, anyway. Then a season ticket would be good value Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PeakyB wrote:
@Fat George,
. . " a faff and a rip off . . "


@PeakyB

Your comment on 'season tickets' is fair enough. But so as not to do any newbies a disservice by omission, I have to comment on the above.

From memory, that's something of an oversimplification of what I thought I had said to you (when we were on a chair going up from StMdeB I think?). By coincidence, I was thinking about this once more in the context of going to Hemel on Monday.

I'd done some calcs in 2018 in my head to work out my best strategy for getting value out of Hemel. It was a no-brainer to get the monthly ticket, go as often as reasonably possible, and do at least 4 hours at a time, and more longer sessions rather than fewer short ones, and, as I lived 50 miles away, keeping the pro-rata travel costs down was a no-brainer. A bit later, I also became a member at a discounted club rate for a better deal as many sHs had remarked. Non-member individual short sessions, driving a long way on your own to get there, is the least cost-effective way to do it.

All those factors vary the cost of skiing at Hemel dramatically, depending on the individual's circumstances and their strategy. Having instruction is another factor to consider although I've never considered that for myself at Hemel.

Then at some point in the past, I had set up a camera on the balcony at Hemel, pointing to cover the whole slope. The idea was to help an acquaintance, by recording all the runs she did over the full 2 hours of her skiing session, and then editing it down as a video for her to watch of her own skiing.

The finished video was pretty short! When making it, I also had the opportunity to collate my own runs, and watch other people's runs too.

Informative. As well as a view of my own skiing (ugh) and helping someone else, I got a good take on how many minutes of actual sliding one gets per hour, and the total length of slope skied, as opposed to a subjective impression. My previous in-my-head calcs on that factor had been way too optimistic. Not like me, eh?

It hasn't changed my strategy for getting some value, but the main consideration for me in particular is I'm disadvantaged by having significant travel costs.

If people are considering a snow dome for the first time, I'd say: if you live close, and can get a monthly pass, a discount for being a member, slide to the max, by my totally unreliable calculations done for myself, it can approach, and possibly even better, the same cost per hour's sliding as the costs of a package, travel/flying/transfers to the Alps for a week in a chalet, buying lift pass, hiring skis and boots - if you take the indirect cost of the accommodation and food out of the equation as only seems fair. If you can't manage all or some of that, it can get a lot more expensive per hour. Then after you've factored in the other things, say the non-money factors, and getting some instruction benefits, you might think yourself better saving your money for a ski holiday, or not. Each person will have to make their own judgement. And do their own calcs.

I'm still going on Monday even though I still live a long way away from Hemel.

And it's no good accusing me of being a nerd; that just makes me worse. Blush

[Edit: to clarify cost factors I used.]


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sun 11-04-21 10:42; edited 5 times in total
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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?
@Fat George, Thanks for the analysis George, I live ten minuets drive from the CF but rarely go because of the actual amount of skiing that I get done in a session. I have to convince myself that it is like a gym session (something I also dislike) grinding out the repetitions for exercise which I need at the start of the season.

Sometimes I attempt to increase the frequency of runs by staying as fast as I can get away with in the queue area, which is rather selfish and irrisponsible.

I have enjoyed sessions when they have moguls, but trying to find out when they are scheduled is a nightmare.

The firm I used to work for has fixed the roof at CF on a number of occasions, so occasionaly I can get a discount which knocks a few quid off the c. £30 for two hours. This makes it a bit less painful.
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@Fat George, I shall accuse you of nowt but your genius.

Yes I’ve oversimplified our discussion. If I quoted any in full we’d be the subject of a long weekend seminar of psychologists for sure.

As for snow sheds, whatever floats your luxury cruise liner old chap. FWIW, I think the drills you do there show through clearly in better technique out where it matters, on the tougher slopes.

Having given up the aspiration to improve technique years ago, I have little interest in snow sheds and even less in dry slopes.

I still like to see them all thrive, as I think they offer massive benefits to complete beginners and some to early intermediates.

I raise an eyebrow when regular snow shed visitors claim to be unable to afford a week on the mountains. Still, yer pays yer money...
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Seahoob wrote:
@Fat George, Thanks for the analysis George, I live ten minuets drive from the CF....


Ah, I take it you play classical music on your car stereo then.... Toofy Grin
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@Alastair Pink: Very Happy

So that's where he learned that!
With skis on 'tis difficult, but having seen him ski a couple of times, I can confirm @Seahoob dances on piste. Little Angel

Me, I like vegetation so I prefer a good face plant.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Inevitably what will make the take-over a good or bad thing is whether the underlying leadership is better or worse than it was before.

I've dealt with all the snowSlopes intermittently over the years so have had quite an interesting stop-frame view of how easy/difficult each is to do business with.
IMV, when Ian Brown was put in charge of Hemel, it was on the road to ruin. Yes, there was passion and enthusiasm from staff and clients but the underlying organisation was haphazard, chaotic even and the cracks were starting to show.

I think Ian Brown's own pragmatic enthusiasm has managed to keep the in-house enthusiasm going and to raise it, while tidying up the structure and processes. Quite simply, year on year, they have become easier to work with while Xscape went the opposite way.
Chill Factore, meanwhile has always been a bit random because, I suspect, there hasn't been consistent leadership or established structure. Generally nice folk who mean well but a member of staff changes and U have to start all over again, figuring out how to work with them. That they were still easier to work with than Xscape is saying something.

Personally, I think Ian Brown is a good man for the job - he's built a system at Hemel that's working and I reckon he's got what it takes to implement the right bits of it at Chill Factore. I look forward to the next OktoberTest up there!
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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!
@Fat George, see you Monday morning snowHead Laughing
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I also know Ian Brown a bit and has seemed a sensible, friendly chap to me. He was a guest on The Ski Podcast a few months ago and spoke about how the got through the last year, plus why Swindon didn't go through, although he didn't mention anything about ChillFactore... Very Happy
https://audioboom.com/posts/7785843-67-behind-the-scenes-at-ski-sunday-with-chemmy-alcott-inside-the-snow-centre-james-blunt-to
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[quote="Fat George"]@Alastair Pink:

With skis on 'tis difficult, but having seen him ski a couple of times, I can confirm @Seahoob dances on piste. Little Angel

Thanks George, I think I will use that in my signature, @astrol did point out my schoolboy spelling error.

Anyhow were you not off to Val d'isere last season for a coaching session with a Jackson Hole ski ballet ledgend, obviously a bit of a dancer yourself.
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