Dry slope skiing started to become really popular in the United Kingdom back in the 1980's, when centres and clubs started popping up all over the place, even in some notoriously flat counties.
The surfaces were, and still are, usually made of Dendix, a material created in the 1960s and manufactured in England at Chepstow. Dendix is a short-haired brush, and are made into hexagonal patterns covering the slope. In recent years other materials have been used to create the slope surface, such as SnowFlex and Perma-Snow.
One of the problems with the materials is that they offer little cushioning when skiers fall (and seeing as though these slopes are often the domain of first-time skiers getting a taster for the reel thing, this happens a lot!) - we all heard the usual horror stories of people breaking their thumbs by catching them in the hexagonal holes in the matting, or getting friction burns when they fell over. For this reason, remember to wear gloves and some padded clothing if you can, it could save you from a bit of pain !
Despite this, it's still a decent way of getting some preparation for a first trip to the slopes (although we'd still recommend the real snow of the indoor slopes if you have one handy) and it will save you much needed time on the first few days on the nursery slopes whilst others are still falling about your feet. There are plenty of centres around as well, check out our map and list below for your nearest slope...