Ski centre closes because of the snow

Ski slope today, filled with snow but no skiers Credit: Chatham Ski Centre

Update Thursday 1st March: The Centre has announced on its website that it is to remain closed today.

The Chatham Ski & Snowboard Centre in Kent is shut at the moment because of the snow.

The firm's website states that its bristle slope is 130 metres long. However, while it may be filled with the real thing, it's not likely that anyone will have the chance use it.

A statement on the company's website and social media accounts gives the main reason for the closure.

The statement has led to some comments of disbelief on social media about the irony of a ski slope not being open because of the snow.

However, the centre's manager of seventeen years, Andy Rushton, says there is a good reason - 'safety comes first'. He says that there is so much snow in the surrounding area that it would be difficult for the emergency services to get into the site if anything did happen - and that it is difficult for employees and customers alike to get to the site, particularly without a 4x4 vehicle. The ski centre is on a narrow road, and about six inches of snow has fallen in the area.

Access to the ski centre from Capstone Road

"Like any firm we're in the business of making money, but safety comes first. Some years ago we had an incident when the snow wasn't as bad as this, and the ambulance had difficulty getting to us."

Andy Rushton, Manager, Chatham Ski Centre
The centre's snowed-in car park

Mr Rushton added that being an artificial dry slope, the hill is designed to be used in a particular way - and that it has matting and netting beneath the artificial snow. Real snow would need to be handled in a completely different way.

He also said that given past experience, many people have not ventured out for their skiing lessons when it snows, with potentially difficult journeys for people travelling to the centre from as far away as Margate.

"We've had good season so far on the back of the Winter Olympics. We're fully booked out with lessons for skiing and snowboarding... We had a really busy half term. I didn't take the decision to close lightly. We'll take it day-by-day. We'll be open again as soon as possible."

Andy Rushton, Ski Centre Manager
Buried toboggan run at the Chatham Ski Centre