Get your skis on — it’s time to go on the piste on the northside of Cork City.
The country’s first publicly-owned ski slope underwent its first official tests yesterday as the Glen Resource Centre announced it is now taking bookings.
“We’ve been inundated with people putting their names down to have a go on the slope since the project was announced last December,” said centre manager Robert Watson.
“We’re just delighted now to be able to start taking bookings.
“We’re out to prove that skiing is not an elitist sport — that it’s for everybody. It’s just so different, I think people will jump at it.”
The centre has hired a team of seven experienced ski and snowboarding coaches, including teenage skiers Claire and Isabel O’Leary, sisters from Mallow who have represented Ireland at international level, to lead the public classes from November 24.
Snowboarding coaches, Robert Mitchell and Austrian, Martina Schwarz, who was snowboarding as soon as she could walk, and who will lead the snowboarding classes, took a run down the slope yesterday as the finishing touches were put to the facility.
The entire coaching team underwent intensive training with the Irish Association of Snowsports Instructors at the country’s best-known artificial ski slope at Kiltiernan.
But they said they are really looking forward to bringing their sports to the public in Cork.
The floodlit, 30m-long, 5m wide outdoor nursery slope has been built alongside the adventure centre’s five-a-side soccer pitches.
It has an artificial all-weather perma-snow surface with an in-built pad underneath to absorb the shock of falls.
It has a gradient of about 14% — about half that of St Patrick’s Hill — and will be open seven days a week, year round, from 9am to 10pm.
There are plans to install rails and halfpipes on the slope for snowboarders next year. The centre will offer taster lessons to people who want to try the snowsports, before they have to commit to blocks of four lessons, with all of the equipment being supplied.
Skiing is available for anyone aged five and up, with snowboarding available for nine year olds and older. Snow tubing is also available.
The entire project — the slope and ski equipment — was built and supplied for €55,000 after receiving a €21,000 government grant under the Sports Nation Initiative last year.
The Cork City Council-owned Glen Resource Centre is managed for the city by a voluntary board of community representatives.
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