Joe Preston shares the devastating news that rocked Sheffield and the snow sports community.
On the 29th April, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue were called to the Sheffield Ski Village at 01:00am, after reports of a blaze at the centre.
At one point around 3’000 litres of water were being used per minute. Apart from the actual slopes, the whole of the bar area, bowling alley and shops have been destroyed.
Joe, 25, has worked at the Ski Village for three and a half years, and says the situation has been life-altering.
No reason to come in
He says: “I was a ski and snowboard instructor for the Sheffield Ski Village.
“I was getting ready for work and just got a phone call from one of the managers. He pretty much summed it up by saying there was no reason to turn up today because the ski village had burnt down.
“I was kind of bit half asleep, and just didn’t understand what my manager was telling me.”
The day after the fire, staff at the centre met at the site, to see for themselves what had become of their work place.
- “Yes, I’ll be completely honest, I did cry seeing it all. And yeh I’m a guy, and guys don’t cry because of you know, macho crap, but still, I cried, because it was so upsetting.”
Joe says he can’t get depressed and instead must focus on a new start. However this is tainted with the thought of facing unemployment.
“One of the worst outcomes could be that I might have to sign on. Personally, I did not want to sign on. It’s a moral objection, and I hate it. I didn’t want to see it as an option. I might have to now, but I will do my best to try and get another job.”
A move to the French Alps, planned for this winter, must now also be put on hold.
“Every single piece of ski and snowboard equipment that I own was in the boot room of the Ski Village. So that’s me without any equipment. I mean, can I even class myself as a skier or snowboarder anymore?”
For Joe, this is still something that hasn’t sunk in just yet.
“Looking at it now, I feel ok, but I’m still quite gutted.”
“I just hope that out of this situation and through the Facebook campaign, we can rise from the ashes and the ski village can be better than it has ever been before.”
An investigation into the cause of the fire is still on going.
In this video, Joe shows The Awkward Pint the wreckage of the Ski Village.
For any more information and to follow the plans for a new centre please visit the ski village website http://www.sheffieldskivillage.co.uk or join the Facebook group ‘Re-open Sheffield Ski Village (Project Ashes)’.
If you are a young person who has recently been made un-employed and would like some advice or someone to talk to, please contact Get Connected on 0808 808 4994 or visit their website at http://www.getconnected.org.uk