So a visit to try out the Sno-tubes at Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre this time, and we were lucky enough to have a gloriously sunny day (also cold which fitted well with the theme)…A pretty steep drive up lands you in the car park at the ski centre, and the uphill terror ride (yes that’s an exaggeration) is rewarded with a fabulous view of Llandudno and a surprisingly tropical looking Irish Sea.
The disabled parking is on the left close to the centre, the car park itself is pretty rocky and uneven (it is on top of a craggy Great Orme though). It would probably be very difficult in a wheelchair, but as I keep reminding myself the reviews aren’t focused solely on wheelchair access and it’s hopefully about highlighting the aspects that are accessible even if you have some mobility difficulties.
We made our way straight down to the slope where the sno-tubes are set out, there is a ramped bridge followed by a walk across a grassed, slightly uneven area.
As big fans of Makaton and of course Mr Tumble, we had been able to prepare Emily in advance by watching (for the 247th time) the episode where they visit Craigavon Ski Centre to try out sno-tubes; and had learnt the Makaton sign.
We watched big bro whizz down first, as Emily always needs to see things for herself before trying them out and it always helps if he does a demonstration. Luckily she’s pretty much an adrenaline junkie so once she’d seen it for herself she was happy to hop in. We were a bit unsure when told she had to ride alone, so started her off lower down the slope for the first go…
Emily loved the ride down, then just needed help to pull the tube to the end of the slope until everyone in the group had travelled down. Next up is the walk back to the top with your tube.
I had emailed in advance about the height of the sno-tube slope, and was told it is 80m but that adults can help with the walk up. Turn number 1 Daddy thought he would pull Emily up, but safe to say after an uphill workout it was a 2 man job the next time with one of us walking up with Emily and one pulling the tube…
We were then able to have a go at travelling down in a group with a bit of spinning thrown in (luckily not fast enough to be thrown out).
We always approach new activities like this with a bit of uncertainty, not knowing if Emily will be able to join in or access the activity fully. Emily spent physio sessions at home in a standing frame between the ages of 1 and 2, and wasn’t able to pull herself to standing at furniture until she was almost 2. She started walking at 2 and a half, using a rollator for the first few months.
It would definitely have helped us in those early uncertain days if we’d known that she would be able to do something like sit in a sno-tube independently, and have such a great time.
It was a little tricky to find any accessibility information on the ski centre’s website, but my emails were responded to very quickly with as much information as possible; so get in touch directly if you need specific details. Or watch an episode of ‘My First’ on CBeebies when Rex and his family visit the centre!
There is a nice café at the centre, serving delicious hot chocolate. It was pretty problematic for us in terms of lots of steps to access the building (ramped access in places); and also internal steps and levels so helicopter mode around Emily was activated.
A great day for everyone, you can hit the slopes (not literally hopefully), go toboganning or enjoy yourselves in the Sno-tubes.
Disability Skiing Wales run a dedicated group on a monthly basis on a Saturday afternoon, so get in touch if you fancy hitting the slopes!