The Snow Centres Group acquires UK’s largest indoor ski centre from U+I.

The operators of The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead, London’s closest indoor skiing and snowboarding destination, have added a second facility to their portfolio of real snow indoor centres. 

The sale is part of listed developer U+I’s strategy to dispose of non-core assets to boost funds and reinvest in major regeneration projects across the UK. 

Snow Centres Ltd has acquired the Beyond including the Chill Factore ski slope from U+I. Beyond is located less than four miles away from Manchester City Centre, adjacent to The Trafford Centre; one of the most popular shopping destinations in Britain.  

Chill Factore boasts two indoor real snow slopes – a 180m main slope, the longest in the UK, and a 40m lesson slope – plus a designated fun zone for sledging and snow play. Chill Factore is also home to a broad range of cafés, bars, and restaurants as well as retail brands, such as Evans Cycles and Snow & Rock. 

Ian Brown, Managing Director of Snow Centres Ltd, says: “For more than a decade, ChillFactore has built a reputation as one of the most iconic leisure brands in the UK. It complements our existing business extremely well and was the most obvious way to expand our role in the growing UK Snowsports industry. We are hugely excited by the prospect of working with a highly accomplished Chill Factore team and building on their considerable success to date. We look forward to welcoming guests back to ChillFactore when we re-open the doors on 12 April.” 

Matt Potter, Head of Direct Investment Portfolio at U+I, says: “The sale of Chill Factore to The Snow Centre is part of our ongoing strategy to dispose of non-core assets. In so doing, we can focus on investing time and resources on our regeneration portfolio and boost our balance sheet. Chill Factore has performed strongly in terms of operational and rental income, so we have every confidence that The Snow Centre will make it a success as people start to enjoy using sports facilities again.” 

Oliver Church of Arcane Real Estate and advisor to Snow Centres Limited (SCL) on the acquisition of Beyond, states: “This purchase signals SCL’s intentions to gain market share in the indoor ski sector.  Despite Covid-19 causing major disruptions to the retail and leisure industry SCL have looked past that and can see the opportunities that present themselves in a ‘post-Covid’ economy. With ‘staycations’ increasing SCL are looking to capitalise on their ability to offer customers’ exciting experiences a little closer to home. Through innovative asset management SCL are looking to elevate Beyond to one of the UK’s top retail and leisure destinations.”