Before heading out onto the white stuff, Jason Collie and sons find the perfect place to practice

The fear for all but the keenest skier and snowboarder is wasting time out on the piste.

Time out on the white stuff is so precious that you don’t want to waste time getting your snow legs back or, as a complete novice, be holding the rest of the party back.

There will of course be the understanding looks from the advanced skiers or snowboarders but you still feel like you’re holding everyone up – a guilty feeling that usually strikes as you’re sat on your behind having taken another tumble.

The answer may be found in the unlikely shape of a one-level industrial unit in Woodley in Reading.

Rather than a large indoor ski slope such as Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre, Skiplex can easily cater for novices who need to learn at their own pace without having others hurtling by.

It houses two ‘carpeted’ treadmills that are wide enough to have you shushing through your turns pretty quickly.

My two lads Dylan and Alex, pictured, 10 and six respectively, have never been on skis but within 20 minutes they were steady and upright and coping with the movement of the treadmill underfoot.

And by the end of their first session they were able to come down the slope without being a tangle of helmet and skis.

Skiplex offers a six-lesson package for beginners and it looks like that would be enough for all but the most uncoordinated.

The ‘carpet’ (although that’s probably a great technical injustice) gives the appearance of a surface that is just a little less forgiving than snow. That is a godsend because if you have mastered that then when you’re out on the real stuff it all seems so much easier and your confidence soars.

The instructors can adjust the speed and pitch of the two slopes and have sessions running right up for those who are targeting ownership of black runs this winter as well.

Your more dedicated skier might be a bit sniffy about it but that moving treadmill looks a simple way to get on track for your winter break.

Skiplex prices start from £19.99 for an off peak one-hour lesson. Learn to ski from £99.95 for six lessons. Ski Fit lessons £34.99. Ski Fit Bootcamps £180.
Three venues: Reading, Basingstoke and Chiswick.
Skiplex Reading Book online at or call 0845 6003599