Peaks dotted along the horizon, kids drinking hot chocolate, adults enjoying apres ski, it wasn't the alps, but nor did it need to be: it was Sheffield Ski Village.
Once a site of Olympic dreams, the ski village is now a dissembling mass of rubbish: bits of old lift, overgrown dry ski slopes, fresh tinnies dropped by local kids. It's a strange place, good views of the city, perfect for a picnic or to get a taste of what the apocalypse might look like.
Sheffield Ski Village Before The Fire
The first slope opened in 1988 to much fanfare. It was a great success.
In the years that followed the site expanded exponentially. By 1994 there were eight slopes, a bar, a lodge, shops and it didn't stop there. Subsequent improvements saw quad bikes, laser tag and ten pin bowling added. Sheffield ski village was on the rise.
By 2014, Olympians were training there, not just one or two, half the British freestyle skiing team. Despite this, however, trouble was already beginning to arise.
'Let's See Who Can Burn Down Sheffield Ski Village'
The first fire was in April, 2012, and destroyed the main building. It was ruled an accident, but started a trend of arson after arson.
Two separate attacks in May of the same year saw a hut at the top of the main slope burnt down and the nursery slope partially destroyed.
Sheffield Ski Village was closed to the public after these initial attacks, but that didn't stop later arsonists from targetting the site.
Perhaps the appeal was to try and burn down something that, at least symbolically, was made of snow; perhaps it was just an easy target, isolated on an otherwise deserted part of the hill as it was. Either way, the ski village has suffered over 50 different arsons attacks.
Sheffield Ski Village Today
It is now a favourite site of fly tippers and teens looking to misbehave. This said, it can still drawer a crowd on a pleasant Summer's day. It's a curiosity if little else, a modern ruin just ten years after its hey day.
And there are plans to resurrect it.
In 2016, Sheffield City Council started seeking investors to rejuvenate the site. The next year, a development company 'Extreme' won a bid to redevelop it into a £22.5m extreme sports centre. Since then very little has changed.
The hill looks as derelict as ever and Extreme have done little beyond offering excuses as to their lack of progress. They have a snazzy website with a host of different projects listed, but they do not appear to have yet opened any of their own destinations.
The jury is out as to whether the new Sheffield Ski Village will ever get built. Personally, I'm quite fond of our burnt up hill the way it is.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Sheffield Outdoor Escape Rooms - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of England.