Freestyle Nights: A peek into the UK snowdome scene

SNO!zone, Xscape, Milton Keynes (MK)

Every Thursday and Friday evening and the first Saturday of the month, the MK Sno!zone has eager shredders queuing round the block. The reason? Their now legendary freestyle nights, where the indoor snow slope hosts different park set-ups every week; consisting of kickers, rails, boxes and pipes. Whether you’re a budding beginner or a seasoned slope-rider, the Sno!zone welcomes all ages and abilites through it’s doors.

The freestyle nights are all about pushing your riding skills to the limit. It’s common to see back flips going down, 720s, rail slides and a groups of girls pushing the tricks to a new level. For those who are a little more unseasoned on the slopes, freestyle coaching is available every Thursday evening, and the Pink Sessions (for ladies only) run on the last Thursday of every month.

I, along with many others, have got addicted to the adrenaline hit of the park nights. A few people have asked me how long it takes to get there; I cringe when I think about it. At best I can do it in two-and-a-bit hours, but at the worst it can take up to three hours. It’s a long journey experienced every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night but I am not alone in making the pilgrimage. Many other regulars are driving crazy distances to get their hit of fake snow, including Animal-sponsored skier James Webb who has his dad drive him across the country several times a week so he can practice his awesome tricks!

When you consider the distance combined with the risk, you would think it would reduce the demand, but in fact the UK indoor boarding scene is booming. It provides British riders with a mix of punishment (as it is a constant reminder of the mountains that we are missing), but also a relief to have a training ground and a place to hang out with like-minded people.

Young riders are hooked to the freestyle nights, with kids wanting to fine tune their skills with a view to making a career in something that they love. Young riders Alice, Emily and Sophie, all 16, are focused on getting sponsored and competing at the Brits next year. They are pushing it hard every week and their progress is rapid; they have no fear, and are all fit, competitive and ambitious which all equals great results.

I smiled to myself recently when I heard one of the sponsored kids explain to his friend how to do a 360, “just turn your head and keep looking for the bar.” That was all the instructions needed and off he went over the kicker looking for the bar! This is why kids progress so fast! Progression is also made all the quicker by the fact that we have rails, boxes, pipes and kickers so you can hit four obstacles in one run, then it’s just a quick button lift back to the top to try the tricks again.

So what pushes me every week to learn a new trick, and then step it up on bigger rails, pipes and kickers? I have a well paid job, extra work through my modeling and a love for a few tame sports. Why risk my enjoyment by pushing it every week? But taking risks and pushing myself outside my comfort zone is what I thrive on. I guess the average Cooler reader would congratulate the idea!

Come and check the scene. Either join the jibber/skater style with the skinny pants around your legs flaunting your coolest boxers, or join the baggy pants nailing the kickers. Or just come wearing your finest threads from 1980s – no-one cares, we’re just all having fun.

So why not check it…

SNO!zone, Xscape, Milton Keynes
Freestyle nights: every Thursday and Friday – 7pm until 11pm
Freestyle coaching by the Sno!academy: every Thursday night
Girls-only freestyle coaching: last Thursday of the month

Call 0871 222 5670 to book your spot!

Words by: Animal and Salomon sponsored rider Catherine Peck
Photos by: Wilf Turnbull


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