Just wanted to share some knowledge on skiing and ski areas in the mountains of England. A few years ago when I stumbled upon an online forum discussion on the topic I thought it was some elaborate joke. However, having now skied at all bar one of the centers operating in the English mountains I can safely say that I have been proved wrong!
Operational Ski Tows:
2. Yad Moss
Top Station: 830m
Bottom Station: 720m
Price: £20 membership (compulsory) £15 for a day lift pass (members only)
Raise is wild and rugged, sitting in the midst of some of the tallest peaks in the Lake District. The ski tow itself sits in a high bowl serving a snow-holding gulley on Raise, which is one of the summits on the ridgeline leading to Helvellyn. The hike in is a tough one, regular members can conquer it in under an hour, but be warned, attempting this on a hangover carrying more kit than you absolutely need can easily double the time it takes and the pain you will go through. Once you get up there the views are fantastic. The skiing is rough and ready, the tow track dug out by hand, and the “pistes” maintained solely by nature. If the conditions are good it is an epic day out, but not for the fainthearted. In good conditions talk to the club committee members who run the tow about routes to descend. Off the back of the summit there is a long snowfield followed by a gulley that holds the snow incredibly well. Descents of up to 500 vertical metres are possible. For the more adventurous there are several serious freeride descents within striking distance of the ski area, but be aware of snow conditions. Last time we were there (December 2012) we saw debris from a slab avalanche, so treat these mountains with respect.
My advice would be if you’re fit, and not scared to earn your turns, hike up to the ski area and check it out. Talk to the locals and if the ski conditions are stable then go exploring, if not then just hit up the small, but fun area served directly by the tow.
Top Station: 725m
Bottom Station: 600m
Yad Moss is a banging place. The longest single lift in England (650m) serves wide open pistes in the heart of the Pennines. They have a piste basher and when the snow is good you can be ripping up perfect corduroy. There is a hardy crew of locals, some of whom are enthusiastic about freestyle. There has been talk of building some rails and some jumps over the previous years. However, the downside is the area is not that steep, and any jumps that are built by locals end up having flat (or when we visited, uphill) landings. The advantage to Yad Moss is that it’s very easy to get to. The ski area starts around a 100m hike from a main road. On days when the conditions are good, get there early to ensure you can park, and bring a shovel in case you need to dig out a parking space.
My advice on this one would be it’s a good introduction to skiing in England, friendly locals and an easy to access area. There is also a good variety of runs when conditions permit. However, if you are looking for more than just laying out some chilled out turns in beautiful surroundings on home soil then look elsewhere. The cost is around £20 for a day lift pass.
Report from our trip to Yad Moss in ’09: www.winterhighland.info/publicreports/index.php?50,1308
Top Station: 655m
Bottom Station: 488m
When the conditions are good, Weardale is dope. It sits on the East side of the Pennines approximately level with Durham. Two lifts (the F1 and F2) provide runs of over 1km. The club has a piste basher which they use to good effect, and a large club-house with decent facilities. The F1 serves a number of shallow wide pistes which are similar to (but less extensive than) those at Yad Moss. The F2 is a short lift (perhaps only 200-250m long) but it takes you to the fell top, where the terrain is far more undulating and varied. In ride anywhere conditions it’s simply awesome for England, and there are a load of spots prime for shaping kickers. For those prepared to hike the gullies about 600m to the right of the top lift can be awesome.
My advice, if it’s absolutely dumping head here! It’s the best place in England when the snow is good! Last time we went it was £20 for the day.
Top Station: 686m
Bottom Station: 607m
Located in the same valley as Yad Moss it, Harwood provides a quieter area with shorter runs (500m) served by a rope tow. A day ticket is around £15. The members are friendly and the ski area, whilst smaller than Yad Moss, is equally fun.
Top Station: 539m
Bottom Station: 479m
Allenheads is a small area about an hour from Newcastle, served by two rope tows. It is sheltered, and the grass is short, so needs very little snow to open and be running. Often locals will shape a small jump. Not somewhere to go for adventure, but definitely a place to go if you want a couple of casual runs followed by a pint.
Cost is £20 per day.
The web addresses are all in the above
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