DIY dad builds his daughters a ski slope in the garden after coronavirus scuppered their annual Easter holiday plans – and even created his own chair lift

  • Snowboarding instructor Steve Cross built family a ski lift from wooden pallets
  • His daughters  Emily, 10, and Jessica, six, were thrilled with their new toy
  • Steve turned the garden in their home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, into a resort 

A DIY dad was so upset when his family ski trip was cancelled he built a ski lift in his back garden to recreate the experience.

Snowboarding instructor Steve Cross missed out on his holiday with wife Nicky and their daughters Emily, 10, and Jessica, six, because of coronavirus.

But he refused to let the British lockdown stop his family enjoying themselves on the slopes and resolved to spend his extra free time building a ski lift in the garden of their home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

He said: ‘We go skiing as a family every Easter and when the holiday was cancelled due to the virus, the kids were gutted. 

Snowboarding instructor Steve Cross (centre right) missed out on his holiday with wife Nicky (left) and their daughters Emily (centre left), 10, and Jessica, six, because of coronavirus

‘I decided to see if we could get the ski holiday experience at home.’

Using his mounting hoard of wooden pallets he spent a day building the structure by attaching a chair to a rope and pulley system, before spending another day putting it through rigorous testing and tweaking it to make sure it was safe.

‘I couldn’t really keep it a secret, so my girls Emily and Jessica were constantly trying to guess what it was,’ he said.

‘When they finally figured it out they were ecstatic and got stuck in helping me finish it so they could use it.’

Steve joked he gets a solid workout whenever his daughters use it because he has to pull them up himself. 


Steve’s daughters have loved using their new slope and give their dad a workout each time because he has to pull them up onto it

He added: ‘They’ve been on it loads which is giving me a bit of a workout pulling them up each time. I think the next project might be a motorised winch!’

Steve decided to build the ski lift because ‘it would be more fun than fixing the shed’ and he had already built the ski slope alongside their tree house.

His daughters had used it for winter sledging but had never tried to ski on it before.

He added: ‘ ‘I’ve been stuck at home and like to keep busy [so] building a ski lift was more fun than fixing the shed. 

Steve decided to build the ski lift because ‘it would be more fun than fixing the shed’ and he had already built the ski slope alongside their tree house


Steve is an avid collector of odd bits that he intends to turn into something useful one day – and it meant he had everything he needed during lockdown

Using his mounting hoard of wooden pallets he spent a day building the structure before spending another day putting it through rigorous testing

‘Both my kids learnt to ski from the age of two and we’ve been able to enjoy our passion as a family both abroad and in the UK. 

‘Working in the [snowboarding and skiing] industry has been a huge advantage. Both my kids are blessed with a spirit of adventure and a love of the outdoors, and I think snow sports have been a big part of inspiring that in them.’

Steve is an avid collector of odd bits that he intends to turn into something useful one day – and it meant he had everything he needed during lockdown.

He added: ‘I like to collect lots of things that I think will be useful for projects and I have a mantra of “you can never have too many wooden pallets in your garden”, so I had everything I needed. 

‘My wife Nicky is very patient as I’m often coming home with another car load of junk, but it’s being put to good use during the lock down.’

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