It’s been almost five years since Sheffield Ski village was burned to the ground. While a little rough around the edges and certainly a little past its prime, it still provided a haven for Sheffield’s snow sports lovers, not to mention providing a testing ground for a few Olympians in the process too. Flying somewhere under the radar was the plans to development mountain biking on the site too (with the hope that it would compliment the XC loop being built at Parkwood)
After a few sessions experimenting with how a T-bar could propel a mountain bike up the hill (some exciting trial and error was had!, not to mention riding back down the hill on the Dendix!), Bike Track took to the hill and built a reasonable amount of track down the hill. Then throughout the summer of 2011 a couple of times a week (and fuelled by a free pint each session) volunteer diggers were up on site, buildings more trail as well as tweaking other sections, as well as occasionally getting a chance to enjoy the hard work.
What we had was a track that took about one minute twenty to get down, but which only took about the same time to get back up the hill! And it was a fun ride while it lasted! A bridge was being built at the bottom of the track to make finishing the trail a little easier and plans were in place to run a small pilot scheme to see how easy it was to open up to the public.
But then in April 2012 all that ended when the Ski Village burnt down!
Since then there has been the occasional glimmer of hope (as well as the occasional smaller fire) that one day it would open up again, the occasional rumour on Facebook as well as the odd story in the local press, not to mention the odd video of people skiing through the debris or riding down Eh Up Line. But that was about it, Well until last week that is, when it was revealed that Sheffield City Council was looking for an investor in the site
So what has changed?
Well quite a few things really, for a start the council is finally back in control of the site. One of the big challenges of the past few years was getting the tenant out of his lease, which has finally been achieved. Another thing is that the vision of the council has changed a little too. They are now solidly behind promoting Sheffield as The Outdoor City and having the Ski Village back up and running would be a massive boost to the cities credentials as The Outdoor City. It also has Jon Dallow involved in the process, who has been instrumental in the development of the trails at Parkwood and Lady Cannings, not to mention the future development of RADmires and wherever next!?
So what can you expect?
Currently SCC are looking at someone to invest in the whole site (this goes beyond the current boundaries in a couple of places) and will integrate with the wider plans to develop the whole of the Parkwood Springs site once the land fill site closes. As to what we get, well that depends on the investors! We could end up with a few lift accessed ski runs as well as an excellent network of lift accessed MTB trails, complimented by dual tracks, indoor trails, retail and refreshment opportunities if we look at the best case aspect of the development. At the worse case we may end up with a few more trails that would link into the current Parkwood MTB trails; or anything in between!
So right now this is just the start, but it is a positive one and something that as the MTB community we need to get behind. Investors need to see the potential in the site, but also in the support it will receive from the city and its potential users.
Sure it may not match the scale of somewhere like Bike Park Wales, but it would be an incredible addition to the riding we already have in the Peak, Warncliffe and Greno, not to mention Parkwood and Lady Cannings.
Yes it is just the start and the end product is definitely a while off, but it is certainly something to look forward too!