Where to try winter sports in the UK ahead of the PyeongChang Olympics

Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 13:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 14:40 pm

It is exactly one month until the Winter Olympics get underway in PyeongChang South Korea.

And despite Great Britain's relative dearth of winter sport facilities, expectations of a record medal haul are high, with one group of data analysts predicting that Great Britain will scoop up five medals.

Short-track speed skater and Sports Personality of the Year nominee Elise Christie will be spearheading the Great British assault for medals.

Follow in Christie and her fellow Team GB comrades footsteps and try out popular winter sports in your area.

Skiing and snowboarding, Glasgow

While there are several outdoor ski slopes dotted around the country, winter weather is rarely anything, but unpredictable.

Several indoor ski slopes, blessed with permanent layers of fake snow have popped up around the UK in the past couple of decades including centres in Manchester, Milton Keynes and Yorkshire.

Braehead is home to Scotland's only indoor ski centre which boasts a 168 metre piste. Once you're done skiing or snowboarding, athletes can indulge in some apres-ski at the centre's Bavarian themed bar and restaurant.

Snow Factor in Renfrewshire is home to Scotland's only indoor slope (Photo: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam)

Ice Hockey, Sheffield

Due to the success of five-time Elite Ice Hockey League champions the Sheffield Steelers, the Yorkshire city is a hotbed for grassroots ice hockey clubs.

Sheffield International Venues offer free taster sessions and lessons for beginners at IceSheffield - and once ready to make a step up you can attend a trial at the Sheffield Ice Hockey Academy.

Luge, Manchester

If flinging yourself down an icy track at speeds of up to 85 miles-per-hour sounds appealing then the luge might be for you.

Manchester is home to the UK's only luge track, but at 60 metres in length will only offer a taste of whats involved in the winter sport.

Keen participants will need to head abroad if they want to truly get to grips with the sport.

Cross-country skiing, Yorskhire Dales

Despite typically being associated with the likes of FInland and Sweden there are a number of cross-country skiing clubs across the UK, the majority of which practice roller skiing due to the country's lack of snow.

Clubs in Manchester, London, Cambridge and Huntly all run regular sessions and lessons.

The Yorkshire Dales Cross Country Ski Club hosts cross-country and roller skiing events throughout the year.

Eve Muirhead claimed a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (Photo: John Devlin)

Curling, Edinburgh

Team GB took home a silver and bronze medal in the curling event at the Sochi Olympics.

There are twenty-two curling rinks across Scotland, one of the most popular being the Edinburgh Curling Club near Murrayfield Stadium. The club offer beginners courses and group sessions throughout the year.

Bobsled and Skeleton, Bath

The skeleton has become an unlikely success story in UK sport, with Shelley Rudman, Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold all winning medals at the three previous Winter Olympics.

All three trained at the University of Bath push-start track.

Those looking to give the Skeleton - or bobsledding - a go, can try a taster session complete with world-class training at the Somerset track.

Biathlon, Aviemore

The Biathlon combines the two disciplines of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, serving as both a physical and mental challenge.

The Cairngorm Biathlon & Nordic Ski Club in Aviemore is run by former Winter Olympian Mike Dixon and runs training sessions throughout the year.

Ice skating, Nottingham

Whether it's figure skating or speed skating there is likely an ice rink in your nearest city where you can hone your skating skills.

World champion Elise Christie, however, sharpened her skating skills at the world class National Ice Centre in Nottingham which welcomes skaters of all levels.

Ski jumping, Germany

Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards won the hearts of the British public for his ski jumping heroics at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Unfortunately - and unsurprisingly there aren't any ski jumping facilities in the country meaning prospective jumpers will need to look overseas for suitable facilities.

Obertsdorf in Germany is home to five different ski jumps, the highest of which is a dizzying 125 metres.