Why is dry slope becoming pre-historic? Is it because of the rise of cheap flights to Europe or the rise of the UK fridges (snowdomes)? It could be a combination of both. Having spent almost the entire month of February sleeping through the days and awake most nights to catch the action in the Olympics, it got me thinking how these athletes, (if I'm allowed to call them that), got so good coming from a country with very little access to mountains.
The quick answer is that most of them ride dry slopes. Billy Morgan, (Olympic Big Air bronze medalist) spent most of his time riding dry slopes like Calshot and Southampton. Jamie Nicholls rode Halifax almost every night, to hone in on his laser lead ability.
So why do the kids who are coming up through the ranks prefer to ride indoors?
Gathering the Subvert Boardstore crew together, we jumped in multiple cars and headed over to Halifax dry slope to see if these (now) dome kids could actually still ride dry slope.
We were there for just over 2 hours and we saw almost every type of weather that day, from perfect blue skies to gale force snow showers! However, that’s what makes riding outside so much more authentic.
It was so good to be back on the plastic with friends. I feel when riding indoors everyone just keeps themselves to themselves, getting as many laps in as possible. However when you get outside the dynamics seem to change, everyone cheers each other on, pushing each other to go bigger or grab for longer. This is the reason I believe the best snowboarders coming out of the UK are from dry slopes.
If you want to experience dry slope for yourself, then just get out there, it is as simple as that. A lot of these centres have lessons almost every day. Most now also have features to play on all day every day (that’s better than waiting for your 2 nights a month in your local dome). You will also be surprised how many dry slopes there are around the UK, just Google it and I’m sure they’ll be one close by.
Words and photography by Jamie Keeble