The project involved the unusual challenge of pouring concrete on a steeply sloping ‘piste’.
Designed to provide visitors with an authentic alpine experience, Manchester’s Chill Factore is the first indoor ‘real snow’ ski slope in the North West and the UK’s longest.
As well as its 180m main slope, Chill Factore also includes a 60m nursery slope, a toboggan run and an alpine-themed shopping mall with a mix of shops, restaurants and function rooms.
The facility is the UK training headquarters of Snowsport GB, the body that represents all competition racing and snowboarding at international level.
To pour concrete on such a steep incline we used an extra stiff mix, carrying out the work in 5m wide sections down 40m stretches of the slope. Alternate sections were missed to allow access up the slope.
To help reduce the amount of work at height, snow making gantries were prefabricated off site. Delivered in sections, they were then lifted into place with the main steel frame erection. This produced savings in cost and programme.
We worked with the design team to develop an innovative solution for the centre’s 60m elevated toboggan run. Steel supports and sturdy but lightweight modular glass-reinforced plastic sections were manufactured to create the ride. Modified freezer pipes were fitted to the base structure to create the ice layer.
We used excavated top soil for landscaping which saved more than 3,500 vehicle movements.
One of the challenges our team faced was safe access above the slope. After considering the loading characteristics of the slab and the steep 15 degree incline, an innovative solution was developed using lightweight spider cherry pickers anchored to the sloping concrete slab.
Chill Factore built on our success at the Xscape retail and leisure complex in Milton Keynes which also features a real snow ski slope. We used predominantly the same design team on Chill Factore with the lessons learnt at Xscape and the relationships built during that contract all contributing to its success.