Impressive results for Snowbility at The Snow Centre

by Richard Fetherston April 7, 2013

Herts Sports Partnership


Impressive results for Snowbility at The Snow Centre

It’s almost four years since the first snow fell on the indoor slopes at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead and it has rapidly become established as a popular destination for recreational skiing and snowboarding. The closest real snow to London, cialis The Snow Centre prides itself on offering the ‘best snowsports instruction this side of the Alps’ with a highly qualified team of instructors.



But it’s not just about mainstream teaching – the centre is also home to Snowbility, story a provider of snow sports coaching for additional needs, generic who have recently been recognised by the National Autistic Society for its impressive results with children and adults.

Richard Fetherston, who joined The Snow Centre soon after it opened as an instructor and Duty Manager, is the driving force behind Snowbility, which was established in October 2011 to make a difference through snowsports to individuals with additional needs.

Richard’s students have a variety of needs such as autism, dyspraxia, deafness or rehabilitation challenges and he and his fellow instructors are achieving dramatic results not just in improving and developing their physical skills but in their social skills, confidence and ability to communicate.


‘My hobby is skiing,’ says Richard, ‘My work is motivating and inspiring my students to achieve their potential through snow sports.’

Snowbility tailor each session specifically for each student, working with their parent, carer or school to understand their individual requirements.

The lessons take place at The Snow Centre alongside regular users of the slopes and integrating the students with other skiers and snowboarders can be a real confidence boost. ‘We work with the students to understand how they react, reading their non-verbal communication, ability to balance and relate to other users and reward and chart their progress.


Sometimes one on one sessions are combined with, or replaced by, family sessions depending on the needs of the student.

‘Seeing a child empowered by their ability on skis to feel parity with their siblings is hugely rewarding,’ Richard continued. ‘As they develop their confidence and enjoyment on the snow so it can help boost their self esteem and ability to relate to other people.’

Typically, James, a young man in his late twenties, has a mixture of health and learning issues that lead him to need daily one on one care. Leaving the safety of his own home for a public place creates significant anxiety and social and communication skills are a constant struggle for him.


Working with Richard at The Snow Centre over a three year period has seen a marked improvement in James’ ability to ski, developing his physical fitness and demonstrating skills that far exceeded expectation. But just as important are the improvements to his psychological well-being, with a reduction in his levels of anxiety and a greatly improved ability to communicate after his lessons.

‘These skills are so valuable to his development,’ says his mother Helen, who is his primary carer. ‘The improvements to his verbal and communication skills and ability to tolerate others has made a real difference.’


Easily reached from London, the M25 and the M40 The Snow Centre boasts perfect snow conditions year round. It has a well-managed 160m main slope and the UK’s largest nursery slopes combined with an efficient drag lift system and ski, boot and clothing hire. It is well served with a cafe bar overlooking the slopes so the lessons can be observed.

‘My aim is to establish The Snow Centre as the primary centre for excellence for Snowbility and then encourage other real snow centres around the UK to offer a similar programme. We want to make a positive difference through snowsports to as many people as possible.’


For more information about Snowbility visit . For information about The Snow Centre including lessons and recreational snowsports for people of all ages and abilities

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