Bid to get skiers back after blaze

Sheffield Ski Village: all that remains of the main buildings after devastating fire.
Sheffield Ski Village: all that remains of the main buildings after devastating fire.

MANAGERS of Sheffield Ski Village are aiming to see skiers back on the slopes soon, despite the fire that ripped through the main Alpine-style wooden building.

Function rooms that hosted wedding and children’s parties, a bar and restaurant, a bowling alley and a children’s play area were destroyed in the blaze.

But it is hoped that the artificial slopes at Parkwood Springs, which were largely unaffected, can be used again, once dangerous structures have been made safe. The Ski Village is the longstanding home of Sheffield Sharks and Peak Performance Ski Clubs.

General manager Vicky Lloyd said: “We are looking to rebuilding the centre but that is in the long term. It could take a year or more to get it up and running. In the meantime, we want to get the skiing back.”

Fire service investigators have finished examining the wreckage and police are now carrying out inquiries off-site to try to establish exactly what caused the blaze in the early hours of Sunday.

Fire crews were called out to another building 48 hours later, in what was confirmed as an arson attack. The outdoor play area was burnt down by arsonists last year.

MP David Blunkett described Sunday’s fire as “a tragedy for the many young people and their families who spend hours accompanying them for both pleasure and competitive skiing. It had been hoped that a major redevelopment would take place but the global recession and lack of takers for an imaginative development has scuppered this for the time being.”

At least there was relief for one couple, who were forced to cancel their wedding reception at the Ski Village. Karl Smith and Natalie Hobbs, both aged 47, of Frecheville, who got married in Gretna Green yesterday (Wednesday), will now use Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, which is providing the venue and music free of charge.

The ski village was opened in 1988. Plans for an £80m Snow Mountain leisure complex, including cable cars across the valley, fell through, and the centre was hit by competition from ski slopes with real snow in the region.