Right here at home, state-of-the-art indoor ski slopes provide brilliant snowy conditions all year round, allowing people to brush up on their winter sports skills.
I’ve always had two left feet, so when I found out I was going for a skiing lesson with my four-year-old daughter Megan, it’s no wonder I was shivering with fright.
Strapping 5ft lengths of plastic fibre to my boots to throw myself down a steep slope seemed like, well, madness.
We arrived at Snow Factor’s indoor skiing slope at Braehead, Glasgow, and, as Scotland’s only real indoor ski slope, it’s an enthralling if slightly unnerving sight for someone as ungainly as me.
“How come it’s been snowing inside, daddy?” Megan asked.
As I didn’t know the full technicalities of how such a feat of fridge-like engineering works, I found myself waxing lyrical that Elsa from Disney’s Frozen must have been let loose with her temperature-plunging magic hands. It seemed to do the trick.
Suitably suited-and-booted in protective gear – including heavy snow jackets, ski boots and helmets – we made our way out to meet our ski instructor Chris.
Visions of us instantly being able to hurtle down the slope like a pair of professionals were immediately quelled when Chris showed us to the nursery slope.
After falling on my chilly backside half a dozen times in the space of the first few minutes, it all went quickly downhill from there.
Megan, on the other hand, was a natural. “I am so much better at this than you, daddy,” she reminded me constantly as I tried to remember what patient Chris had just taught me.
It all seems so unnatural.
“You need to copy Megan and pretend you’re a scary dragon,” I was told, as that’s how she’d cracked it – leaning forward, hands in the air, ready-to-pounce like a deranged beast from Game of Thrones, and screaming her head off with quite an impressive “roaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” as she slid down the nursery slope.
Incredibly, it worked.
The feeling when skiing comes together – even for that fraction of a second – is like any sport. It’s that one perfect drive out of a 100 in golf – an addictive, exhilarating thrill.
I can see why so many people quickly fall in love with it. Soon we were both clambering up the slope, slip-sliding away, and desperate for more.
OK, so changing direction was still a bit of an issue for me (at this juncture, I feel a need to apologise to the giant SpongeBob SquarePants inflatable figure I gave an almighty thwack to).
But it was exhausting fun that had us laughing all the way to Bar Varia – Snow Factor’s own cosy, family-friendly bar and restaurant. It affords panoramic views of the ski slope where you’ve just been exerting yourself.
Feeling smug, we ordered some filling food. A Bloody Spaniard pizza came slathered in mozzarella, red onion and red pepper, a snip at £11.95,
Parents will be pleased to note Bar Varia is modelled on a traditional German bier halle – and has the goods to back the claim up.
There are more than 20 different bottled German beers. Not that I tried all of them – but I’d recommend the £4.95-a-bottle Veltins Pilsener, which is made with mountain spring water.
Megan tucked in to a fab children’s menu meal deal (kids eat half price from 12-5pm on Sundays) which was topped off by a moreish sundae I somehow managed to sneak a spoonful of.
Over our delicious meal we warmed up and discussed our plan – namely to get good enough at skiing to head to the Highlands and take advantage of the natural slopes we have on our own doorstep. Why head to the Alps when we have such brilliant conditions right here at home?
In the meantime, dreams of whooshing like James Bond in the Spy Who Loved Me down the most challenging runs Glenshee has to offer will hopefully come at the end of some more fun lessons at Snow Factor.
We both can’t wait to grab another piste of the action.