5 things to see and do in Glasgow
From snow fun and football to Time Lords and the Bard of Ayrshire, there’s plenty to get excited about in and around Glasgpw this Spring. Starting with a frosty experience, David Pollock chooses the best of the bunch
After the winter that Britain has just ‘enjoyed’, most of us will be glad to see the back of the snow. Not the staff and customers at Braehead’s massive indoor ski centre SNO!zone, though, one of the company’s three sites in the UK where winter sporting types can find real snow all year round. Opened in 2006, the giant refrigerator that is SNO!zone features a 200 metre main slope, a 50 metre practice slope, contains around 1500 tons of real snow and manufactures (recycles, actually) around 30 more tons every night.
The Scottish skiing and snowboarding industry has taken a bit of a battering due to the lack of snow in recent years, but Campbell Orr, SNO!zone’s events programmer and a qualified snowboard and skiing instructor, doesn’t believe that his facility takes away anything from the outdoor version of the sport. ‘We work closely with Ski Scotland,’ he says, ‘because the more people who get into the sport, the more work we all have. There were thousands of people out on Scotland’s slopes this February, and there are a colossal amount of people in the UK interested in snow sports, if they can get the opportunity.’
When the weather is bright outside, though, SNO!zone provides an off-season refuge for powderheads of all ages. There’s a public freestyle event every Friday night and a number of regular activities and lesson packages, again for those of varying abilities. The centre is also involved at all levels of the sport in Scotland, from sponsoring promising young athletes to helping families brush up on their skills before an alpine holiday. ‘It’s always more fun to go on a skiing holiday when you’ve taken lessons first,’ says Orr, ‘because that way you can be more adventurous and see more of the mountain. One of the most rewarding things for us is being able to watch people grow into confident and enthusiastic individuals within the sport.’
SNO!zone Scotland, Kings Inch Road, Braehead, Renfrew, 0871 222 5672, www.snozone.co.uk, one and two hour slope passes range from £16–£31 (£13–£25). Oct–Apr: Mon–Sun 9am–11pm; May–Sept: Thu & Fri 9am–11pm, Sat–Wed 9am–10pm.
2. Doctor Who Exhibition
Scottish lovers of Saturday night sci-fi will be particularly sad to wave goodbye to the Tenth Doctor David Tennant at the end of this year; he’s from Bathgate, despite the accent. This huge touring show of props and sets should help fight off the tears.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow (F4), 28 Mar–4 Jan, 0141 276 9599, www.glasgow museums.com, £7.50 (£4.50).
This year of Homecoming in Scotland is the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth, and so this celebratory show will feature pieces of specially-commissioned art in tribute to the poet. Among a bunch of famous names showing work will be Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Peter Howson.
Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow (D4), 4 Apr–20 Sep, 0141 287 2999, www.mitchelllibrary.org
4. Burns an’ a’ That! Festival
While we’re on the subject of Burns, this annual festival of traditional and contemporary music, comedy and art has long been a big date on the Scottish cultural calendar. In honour of the Bard of Ayrshire’s birthday, this one promises to pull out all the stops for the special occasion.
Various venues around Ayrshire, 16–24 May, www.burnsfestival.com
5. Homecoming Scottish Cup Final 2009
Football fans should experience the Hampden Roar if they’re in town for this showpiece event, and are advised to support the underdog if possible. If it’s an ‘Old Firm’ clash between Glasgow’s big teams Celtic and Rangers, then an intense match is guaranteed.
Hampden Park, Letherby Drive, Glasgow, Sat 30 May, 3pm, 0141 620 4000, www.hampdenpark.co.uk