There's nothing quite like swooshing your way through bright, white snow and clear mountain air but like any other sport, skiing takes skill, determination and practice.

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And not only that. Skiing abroad can be expensive and with equipment and lessons to think about, the cost can quickly mount up.

So why not consider taking a few lessons here in good old Blighty and be sure that you will make the most of that winter holiday when you can afford it.

Where?
Snow isn't our strong point here in the UK but thankfully there are plenty of indoor and dry slopes that can give you a good idea of whether you will enjoy skiing or snowboarding.

Snowdomes are becoming increasingly popular and you can already enjoy SNO!zones in Bucks, West Yorkshire, Glasgow and Staffordshire, while indoor snow slopes are also up and running in Manchester and Hemel Hempstead.

Of course, dry slopes have been around for some time and that means there are plenty of centres at which to get your ski legs - the Ski Club of Great Britain's website features a full list of dry and artificial slopes in the UK so visit www.skiclub.co.uk to find your nearest centre.


What to expect?
Though all indoor snow slopes in the UK are able to rent equipment such as skis, boots and poles, some dry slopes do not so do check before you go. Don't, however, go mad buying the latest gear - you'll need to be warm for the artificial slopes but waterproof trousers, a warm jumper, ski jacket or fleece and a hat are all you'll really need.

Dry slopes that use the Dendix surface can be unforgiving for fallers, so it is worth considering pads. If you are learning on a Dendix slope, mittens are also advisable as the surface is notoriously good at trapping fingers!

If you're a complete skiing novice, you are going to fall over - fact. But even falling requires some technique if you are to minimise the risk of injury. Falling sideways and landing on your bottom is preferable - using your poles is a definite no-no.

Once you've mastered the art of falling (and you'll get plenty of practice!) as well as the tricky business of getting back up again, you're ready to start navigating the slope.

Most beginners learn the snowplough technique, whereby the skis are positioned so that your skis form a V shape, with the knees bent slightly towards each other. From this position, your instructor can teach you how to turn, sideslip and link turns before moving onto the more difficult skills that will eventually lead to that fabulous feeling of whizzing downhill.


Learning to ski can be frustrating but with a few starter lessons on a dry or indoor slope, you will be able to skip the basics when you do book your holiday and stand you in good stead when you hit the real white stuff.