A-Z of resorts: Xscape

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The Independent Travel

Slavish followers of this column might have been wondering what we would do when we got to X, but it was a simple choice: Buckinghamshire's finest ski resort, the indoor slope of the Snozone at Xscape, Milton Keynes. This pleasuredome contains a 170m ski and snowboard hill, qualified instructors, and a ski and snowboard retail and rental shop, plus Quiksilver and O'Neill stores.

Slavish followers of this column might have been wondering what we would do when we got to X, but it was a simple choice: Buckinghamshire's finest ski resort, the indoor slope of the Snozone at Xscape, Milton Keynes. This pleasuredome contains a 170m ski and snowboard hill, qualified instructors, and a ski and snowboard retail and rental shop, plus Quiksilver and O'Neill stores.

Snozone is, implausibly, more expensive than Zermatt or Aspen, with prices up to £20 an hour (although by going off-peak and joining a membership scheme you can ski for two hours for £17). However, although it is twice as expensive as most dry slopes, and no cheaper than the Snowdome indoor slope at Tamworth, it does offer a better experience.

Where Tamworth has one lift (a travelator) and route, Xscape's Snozone has two button tows (which are essential for beginners to learn) and three distinct lines down the slope, so experienced skiers or boarders aren't tripping over bunnies. The snow record is better too – the Snozone system actually involves snow falling from the ceiling, which seems to produce a covering that takes longer to harden. While there is an argument to say that people who learn on slippy matting develop great control early on, it's not pleasant to fall on.

As a resort, Xscape has great infrastructure: there's a multiplex, two climbing walls, a fitness centre and a sports bar with 10-pin bowling; and its restaurants cover all the major food groups – pizza, hamburgers and fried chicken.

Snozone: 01908 230260, www.snozonemk.co.uk

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