A-Z of Skiing: D is for dry ski slope

For anyone who has ever skied on mountains, going on a dry slope is a hellish experience: the scenery is uninspiring; the surface is ghastly; and when you fall it hurts. But beginners know nothing better and will benefit from at least a few hours on a dry slope.

For anyone who has ever skied on mountains, going on a dry slope is a hellish experience: the scenery is uninspiring; the surface is ghastly; and when you fall it hurts. But beginners know nothing better and will benefit from at least a few hours on a dry slope.

The more time you spend there, the less you will waste in the mountains: even having got the hang of boots and skis will give you an edge over other beginners, and getting a feel for basic side-slip and snowplough techniques will also help. But while synthetic surfaces are improving, with the fairly new Snowflex (it's like a spiky plastic hairbrush) providing more slip and grip than the Dendix matting, they still don't make skiing easy.

The Snowdome in Tamworth has an indoor "real snow" slope - on which the Ski Club of Great Britain will hold several of its one-day, pre- season courses. But it is small, and often crowded; absolute beginners would be advised to have their first, clumsy encounter with skis on the open spaces of a dry slope, in front of a smaller audience.

For information on the Ski Club of Great Britain's courses (from pounds 40), telephone: 0181-410 2022.

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