Here follows our interview with friend and colleague Pete Gillespie, the Head of Snowsports at The Snow Centre.
Skiing is possible in many places around the UK and England. The Snow Centre is one of the main HUBs for UK ski instructors and ski passionates. We asked Pete some of the history behind the opening of the facility that makes skiing in London possible. We also found out more about what their focus is about, what Pete would call their “DNA”.
Tell us about The Snow Centre facility and the history that brought to its opening.
Originally on the site where The Snow Centre now stands stood a very successful dry ski slope.
As a child I used to train on the old slope as I grew up locally. I have to say the original Hemel Ski Centre gave me a great foundation to develop my skiing and start thinking about a career in Snowsports. The dry ski slope was a kind of HUB for Snowsports with many now professionals like Warren Smith, Ali Smith and myself all having strong roots there.
The then owner David Surrey had a vision after 30 years of running the old slope to turn it on to an indoor facility with real snow. He worked hard to get the planning and finance partners in place to make it a reality. As this time I was working seasons and when David approached me and asked if I would like to be involved it sounded like a really good challenge and came at the right time for me and my family. I was invited to become part of the senior management Team and oversee the development of the Snowsport school and our guest centred focus. The rest is history!
What kind of guests The Snow Centre caters for?
We are all about kids, families and beginners as our man focus. That said we cater for all levels and have many of the UKs leading instructors using the facility with their own guests. In addition we are a HUB for instructor training with IASI, BASI and Snowsport England regularly running courses at The Snow Centre.
We also have some great low skill snow play activities. This really does bring affordable fun in the snow to everyone.
The Snow Centre is more than just skiing. How does it all run?
At The Snow Centre we cater for corporate groups, Team building and activities outside of Snowsports. The facility has a great restaurant and meeting rooms with conferencing facilities. In addition on the lower floor we have a large Snow+Rock and Cycle Surgery shop complementing the business. You can also get your foreign currency in our exchange buro on the lower floor.
We have a new partner for 2019/20 in Neilson holidays who have a booking station at the centre. So you can learn here, purchase your kit, book a holiday and get your Euros : )
Talking of Ski schools, which qualities do you look for the most, in new ski instructors?
Our business is all about People. The main quality we look for in instructors and in fact all Teams, is people who can deliver a great experience. We are a people centric business. Alongside that we work in a dynamic business and the nature of our work in not 9 – 5 Monday to Friday! We require a flexible approach to working.
Which suggestion would you give to instructors looking for work at The Snow Centre?
Come and see what we do and maybe shadow a few sessions so you can get a feel for our “DNA” and the way we work. The Snow Centre is a great place to work but requires flexible thinking and a “can do attitude”. We always welcome people shadowing whatever level. We love to share our passion.
What are your latest projects for the future of The Snow Centre?
We are always looking for new and exciting projects. The next project in our plan will be opening our new facility: The Snow Centre Swindon. This is going to be a very exciting project and an opportunity to roll out our guest focused experiences to another audience.
Thanks to Pete Gillespie for his time and best of luck with all your future projects!
The Subzero Coaching Team
Subzero Coaching at The Snow Centre
As Pete mentioned, the facility is home to a number of UK ski instructors and instructor training, so we couldn’t miss our chance. The Snow Centre is one of the facilities where our Summer Training Programme runs, delivering sessions for instructors in multiple locations across the north of Europe. We also run tailored one to one and group coaching there, for any skier interested in developing further.
UK ski instructors can also count on us for their long term development courses, such as the Full Blast Level 2 course (4 weeks to get the IASI Level 2), the ISIA Level 3 course (comprehensive training towards all L3 modules) and the Level 4 course (towards the highest qualification). The coaching team is also available for ad hoc training days or weeks during the winter in Zermatt!