A PACKED day of events marked the golden anniversary of The Hill, Ski Rossendale, with attractions all day long and into the night.
Although former Olympic British ski jumper Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards was unable to attend in person, he recorded his very best wishes and shared his memories of the slope where he won one of his first seeded ski races and jumped over eight cars.
Wishing everyone all the best for the next 50 years, he concluded: “I will try and pop in next time I am in the area, have a coffee and have a ski.”
Visitors to the special open day enjoyed taster sessions in skiing, snowboarding, tubing and airsoft, there was a host of different stalls, facepainting, food, funfair rides and live music from local bands.
Councillor Anne Cheetham called in and recalled being at the opening ceremony 50 years ago.
She said: “My husband Jeff was one of the first recruits to book in for lessons on how to come down a slope ahead of our holiday in Austria.
“He got to the bottom and he wasn’t bad; and he found muscles he did not know he had.”
She also recalled how they held the first charity event at the slop – a 24-hour ski marathon for the Roy Castle Lung Foundation and Roy’s widow attended.
Anne said: “We raised £8,000 and had support from Pendle Ski Club. Jeff skied all night and I did from 11pm.
“When Jeff was Mayor, he brought the Mayors from other areas to the ski slope and three skied down led by the Mayor of Wyre.”
She bought her granddaughter Jemima, six, signed copies of the books written by former Rossendale skier Kimberley Kay – Ski A-Z and Lake District skier Caroline Elliott – Fjord’s Mountain Mission.
Kimberley, who learnt to ski at the slope age five, went on to do work experience and based her school PE study on the slope, is an illustrator had a 20-year-career in travel writing.
She said: “Ski Rossendale has been a key part of our lives. We would not have done what we have been able to without Ski Rossendale and it has been fantastic to be here today.”
Eve Renton, 10, from Loveclough, enjoyed her first ever tubing experience. She said: “I have never been before and it is cool. It feels really weird when you are going down but it is cool and I am glad we came today.”
Her father Alex used to snowboard about 20 years ago and said it was great to have places like The Hill to go to.
Rossendale Leisure Trust challenged youngsters to use a spin bike to create a smoothie and Damian Field, nine, was quick to have a go.
He is a member of the Special Olympics Club at The Hill and said he loved to ski.
His mum Jeanette said: “We are here every night when it is open – from Tuesday to Sunday. Damian is autistic and attends the club on a Saturday for people with special needs. He has made lots of friends at the club and enjoys being with people.”
Manager Dave Fuller was delighted to see so many different people sampling the slope, including for the first time a group of Asian women who had a ski lesson.
He said: “We are very grateful to Eddie for posting a message of support for us and we really appreciate all the stallholders who came along and supported us.
“In the evening we had an after party on the rooftop terrace area with entertainment from The Difference. The Hill is a place for everybody, young and not so young, families, clubs, individuals and children. Everyone can come here and have a slide.
“Today has been about celebrating 50 years of this unique and iconic place.” – Cathrine Smyth Media.