We are all about the romance over here, so when one of our bloggers, Scarlett Hawkins told us all about her snowy date to an indoor ski slope, we just had to share…
“He’s stood me up, I decided as the clock ticked over another minute closer to our train’s imminent departure. We should have been nestled, bums in seats, but instead my shallow breathing had kickstarted an adrenaline surge with no recourse.
Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe I’m crazy for doing this at all. Maybe ghosting on me is a passive form of mercy. Would serve you right.
Despite the excessiveness of its snark, my subconscious had a point. Perhaps it had been audacious to invite a man to take a skiing class with me on a first date. An Australian newly transplanted in London, I could count on one hand my every experience with snow (three times, in case you were wondering.) With my charmless clumsiness and intrinsic sensitivity to the cold, a ski class first date ranked highly amongst my more audacious life choices.
Just as I had begun to make peace with my imminent romantic failure, my date arrived. The Comedian was a bearded, brown-eyed New Zealander with a bent towards the dark and brooding. Despite hailing from a nation that boasted some of the greatest snow on earth, he, too, had never before skied. We hopped the train towards Hermel Hempstead, and less than half an hour from Euston, found ourselves at the doorstep of the Snow Centre, a bustling indoor recreational snowboard-and-ski slope that, even for the late hour on a Sunday, teemed with snow bunnies.
We were escorted through the gear hire process without difficulty. Despite the business of the atrium, the chipper rental clerk explained that only an hour earlier, the venue had been at capacity. As such, gear was somewhat limited in availability. Thankfully, his resourcefulness saw us both kitted up swiftly and rearing to hit the snow.
Upon meeting our instructor, Dave, I realised an amusing – albeit unsurprising – fact of life: there is a snow equivalent of the “mellow surfer” from home, and it just so happened that Dave was its perfect embodiment.
Our private lesson permitted us a full hour of Dave’s time, and through guidance that was both encouraging and energising, he pushed us to yield as much from it as possible. Within moments of latching on our skis, we were coaxed through a series of skills that would aid us in navigating the gentle slopes. In this realm, my sidestepping uphill saw me slide downwards more often than it did ascend, and the Comedian fell with an artlessness that somehow managed to knock over a stuffed Snowman marker at the same time.
Still, despite our general disarray, Dave somehow managed to instil in us the requisite skills to shift to a steeper slope. There, we learnt how to brake effectively, optimise the momentum we couldn’t help but gain, turn, and even read the divots in the snow to discern the best possible path… All of which came plenty in handy when, shortly thereafter, the Comedian almost railroaded a small child into oblivion.
By the end of the hour we were sweaty, sore in the ankles and arches of our feet, and thoroughly content with the life choices that saw us sign up for a class at the Snow Centre. As the most intense of novices, I was astounded by how physically tiring the last hour had been. When the skis were returned to their racks, both the Comedian and I found ourselves mutually baffled by how very light it felt to haul one’s own feet.
After bidding Dave adieu, we enjoyed a generous meal of pizza and pasta in the cabin-style Lodge restaurant and bar, which specialises in winter warming comfort food of large portions and affordable prices. The Lodge provided an impressive overlook of the slopes, allowing us to appreciate the skills of more advanced skiers and snowboarders as we ate.
It seemed despite all odds, the date was a resounding success. Although that could easily be attributed to the winter wonderland experience, rather than any inherent charm of this author. A private lesson at The Snow Centre makes for a romantic day trip from London, but it may well be slightly too adventurous for a first date unless both people have the capacity for self-deprecation.
Thank goodness I took a comedian.”
The date: Beginner’s ski class
The venue: Snow Centre
Transit: 30 minute train to Hermel Hempstead from Euston
Food and drink: Available for purchase