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Unseasonal snow gives skiers a chance to return to the slopes

·2-min read

Unseasonal snowfall has given skiers in the Lake District ideal conditions to return to the slopes after a winter of lockdown.

Lake District Ski Club members were “giddy” at the unusual sight of snow-covered mountains in May, club president Mike Sweeney said.

He said about 40 people used the tow on Raise, near Helvellyn, to get to the top on the slope on Wednesday, when there were blue skies and views as far as Scotland, as well as deep snow.

He said: “It was fabulous, people were just giddy with excitement.”

The snow started to fall on Tuesday and was still coming down on Thursday, although visibility had got worse, he said.

He told the PA news agency: “I haven’t seen snow at this time of year before, but I was speaking to some other members who said there was snow in June in 1963, although that was a very unusual year for weather.”

For many of the club’s 370 members, including Mr Sweeney, 64, who lives in Lancaster, the snow gave them the chance for their first ski of the season because of lockdown restrictions.

After spending Wednesday on the slopes, he said he and fellow skiers braved hailstones for an apres-ski pint in the beer garden of the Travellers Rest pub.

A skier makes their way down the slope at the Lake District Ski Club
A skier makes their way down the slope at the Lake District Ski Club (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Former president of the club and assistant hut warden Gerard Unthank, 80, said: “It’s very unusual to get the snow at this time but we’re very pleased to get the opportunity.

“People are very enthusiastic and excited and it’s been wonderful.

“Up here we rely on drifts and have snow fences because we don’t get a great depth of snow, but some of the drifts today are as high as the fences.”

Mr Unthank said there are still Covid restrictions in place in the club’s hut to ensure social distancing.

Spring weather May 6th 2021
A skier makes her way down the slope at the Lake District Ski Club on Raise, next to Helvellyn, after an unseasonal May snowfall (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He said: “We came up here for one or two days in November and then lockdown restrictions came in so we weren’t able to.

“We’ve been looking at all the snow reports while we’ve been in lockdown and we have had quite a bit of snow this year.”

The club was founded in 1936 and operates a 360-metre button tow, about an hour’s walk from Glenridding, to give access to the mountain.

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