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It’s snow joke we’re becoming physical

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With Winter Olympians skating, curling, skiing and sleighing into our collective consciousness, Catherine Musgrove found

out where people can participate in the sports in the North West

Winter Olympic madness is hitting Lancashire.

Families have been flocking to a special ice week at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet in Bilsborrow all this week, with children trying out their skills on a temporary ice rink and snow-themed rides.

Queues have also been seen at Ski Rossendale in Haslingden Old Road, Rossendale, which offers a 200m main slope, a freestyle park, a nursery slope, and a quarter pipe as well as coaching for beginners up to Level 4.

Dave Fuller, head of the ski school, said: “Without doubt, people are watching the Winter Olympics and are wanting to have a go at things like jumps, rails and half pipes, especially the younger ones.

“It’s also half term at the moment, so we’re seeing a lot of interest.

“It’s great that kids are getting out into the fresh air and getting physical.”

He added: “In the past we’ve had England Olympians up here, and also have very good members of ski clubs using our facilities.

“We traditionally get more interest in skiing than snowboarding, but boarding is becoming popular, with more and more people wanting to have a go at slope-style that they’re seeing at the Olympics.

“People also want to have a go at the slalom skiing, and we can take them from raw beginners right through to a competitive level.”

Competent skiers and snow boarders can drop in at the facility, but lessons have to be booked.

Ski Rossendale is closed on Mondays, but open to the public from 1pm to 5pm from Tuesday to Friday, from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday and from 9am to 5pm on Sundays.

The ice rink at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the oldest purpose built ice theatre in the world, and offers ice skating, speed skating and figure skating training, public sessions, a Hot Ice show, and a chance to try ice hockey.

The arena has helped develop the talents of many British and international champions, including Robin Cousins, who performed in a gala at the Arena in 1980, the year he won Olympic Gold.

Ice skating lessons, fun sessions and a chance to watch ice hockey is also available at Blackburn Ice Arena.

Chill Factore, near the Trafford Centre, is home to the UK’s longest indoor skiing and snowboarding slope. It has a 180 metre long, real snow slope to learn new skills and hone technique, and offers coaching and shops.

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