Halifax, England

Yorkshire Synthetic: Country Carpet in Halifax, England

The town of Halifax, in north-central England’s borough of Calderdale, is known for its toffee and textiles. Home to a little less than 90,000 folks and 850 feet above sea level, it’s not really known for its snowboarding. But maybe it should be, because Halifax is home to the Halifax Ski & Snowboard Centre, a Snowflex-based dryslope with one of the biggest and best jumps in the United Kingdom.

Halifax is where I learned to ride alongside my older cousin Jamie Nicholls. Nowadays, we both travel the world as professional slopestyle riders and Olympians with GB Snowsport. Yet our formative years on boards took place sliding down that synthetic carpet above a backdrop of rolling hills and pastureland.

Learning to ride on what is basically a giant slope made out of toothbrushes meant falling would leave you grazed if any skin was showing. Being kids, it was an acceptable level of risk. I started going to Halifax when I was 3 years old and got my first snowboard when I was 5. It was just a 10-minute drive from my home in lovely Brighouse. Back then, there was a full circuit of dryslope competitions across the United Kingdom, and I would follow those, learning to compete before ever touching real snow. I’d go to Halifax after school most days, they’d turn on the spotlights and we’d ride. Some of my best childhood memories involve dropping into the big jump with Linkin Park, Green Day or Blink 182 blaring from the loudspeakers, rain stinging my eyes in the freshness of the Yorkshire countryside. It was such a supportive community. Everyone would cheer when you landed a new trick. Everyone just wanted the best for everyone else…

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