WHEN it opened in 1988, Sheffield Ski Village was hailed as a ‘vision of the future’ transforming scrub-covered slopes once home to back-to-back terraced houses into a leisure paradise which attracted up to 180,000 visitors a year.
Developed by entrepreneur and former council civil engineer John Fleetham at a cost of £2.5 million, the centre was open seven days a week and could cope with up to 2,000 skiers per hour.
The main building which burned down at the weekend was built the year after the village opened and was modelled on a ‘Swiss-style chalet’.
It soon became one of Sheffield’s most popular leisure venues.
But the ski village also led to the city’s hospitals having to cope with a rash of unusual injuries on a daily basis, with fractures, sprains and strains of the legs, ankles, ribs, wrists and thumbs.
Some of Britain’s top skiers trained at the ski village, with the British Nordic Junior squad making use of the slopes within months of their opening.
Big names visiting included former World Champion Franz Klammer and Britain’s top skier in the late 1980s, Martin Bell. The Duchess of York also paid a visit.
Over the years, extra facilities were developed including a national training centre for the British Ski Federation which featured a 30-degree ramp and 60ft pool for skiers to practise twists, turns and somersaults into water.
And in 1995, former Olympic ski jump star Eddie the Eagle set a world record by jumping over six buses.
The slopes, which were untouched by the fire, include a freestyle park consisting of a half pipe, hip jump, kicker, a quarter pipe and various grind rails..
In 2005 plans were unveiled to turn the ski village into an £80 million Snow Mountain Leisure complex featuring a range of new slopes, buildings and cable cars.
There were also once plans for a hotel at the site - neither project ever came to fruition.
In recent years, extra facilities were added to expand the centre into a ‘family entertainment complex’ including a ten-pin bowling alley and downhill biking. Parts of the Adventure Mountain complex were closed for refurbishment and were due to re-open next year.
Sheffield Sharks Ski Club is also based at the slopes.
A statement on its website said: “The Sharks Hut and the adventure mountain were not affected by the fire, the slope was also not affected. At this stage we do not know when it will be possible to ski at SSV again albeit with limited off slope facilities.
“In the meantime all Sharks events that take place at SSV are cancelled until further notice.”
The ski village was also a popular venue for events such as children’s birthday parties.
Star reader Ashley Smith said: “My nephew was suppose to have his sixth birthday party there on Saturday. Gutted for him.”
And bride-to-be Natalie Hobbs was supposed to be having her wedding reception there.
The Ski Village Management are saddened to confirm that the main building at the Ski Village has been devastated by fire and the site is closed. Customers with enquiries should email: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.sheffieldskivillage.co.uk for updates.