Upper School Choice - chess

Sunny Ski Trip to Sestriere

29th February 24

When February half term rolls around it’s a welcome chance to relax, regroup and find peace in the winter darkness….unless you’re taking 80 students to the Italian Alps for an epic ski trip!

The grand scale of this year’s ski crew meant that two separate groups set off from the School on a grey Sunday morning. The early group made a brief stop at the wrong hotel before finally pulling up in the beautiful resort where the hotel looked directly over the slopes. The second group arrived in the middle of the night and, once rooms had been allocated, grabbed a few hours sleep so they were ready to go first thing on Monday.

With ski lessons throughout the day for students (and staff) who had never skied all the way up to experts, the days were a blur of bodies in and out of the boot room (which was not a hotel highlight!) but somehow everyone ended up where they needed to be with all the right equipment (even if it was someone else’s!)

Ethan in Year 9 enjoyed the challenge of learning something new, “I started in beginners but by the end I was in the intermediate group. I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy the skiing but I really did and it was great to get better at something. Even though I wasn’t in ski lessons with most of my friends I still really enjoyed it.”

Bianca in Year 9 was also a fan of the lessons, “I improved a lot going from blue and red runs to blacks by the end of the week. We had a good balance of time doing stuff and time to hang out with our friends.”

Lunchtimes meant a couple of hours to free ski with members of staff or relax near the restaurant and take on vital nutrients (fanta and chips are vital nutrients right?)

On the Wednesday Hannah, Jeff and Hen took a group of advanced skiiers out of their lessons and headed off up the cable car and across two valleys (which didn’t contain a lot of snow) to check out the limits of the ski pass by skiing into France. They tore up some fresh pistes and enjoyed themselves so much they missed the last cable car down to the resort and had to use their charm to get the lift reopened. Will these teachers be able to command any respect with regard to timekeeping ever again? Questionable.

The weather was glorious, a little too glorious as the snow was definitely not the best by the end of the week though everyone still managed to find runs they loved and top up on Vitamin D in their downtime.

The evenings saw the group descend on the hotel dining room where the themed buffet changed each night. There were local specialities served out of what looked like a cauldron one night and on Valentine’s Day we were treated to living statues by the desserts. Odd.

Despite weary legs, everyone found the energy for the après ski activities. Students debated the answers to Eleanor’s quiz night vigorously (congrats to the Y12 boys who were the overall winners), played football, volleyball and basketball in a local sports hall, glided (stumbled?) through an ice-skating session and enjoyed a chips pizza at restaurant where we were assured it was a local speciality.

The midweek room inspection was, according to Jeff, “the best I’ve seen in nearly 30 years of ski trips” and featured classical music, guards of honor, food bribery and performance art.

While we can’t pretend it was all smooth sailing (lift breakdowns, broken doors and lost room keys became a daily ritual), the trip was a fabulous way for nearly a quarter of the Upper School to get to know each other better, learn a new skill or perfect an old one and see a beautiful part of the world.

Thanks as usual to Jeff for organising, and all the other teachers who made it possible.

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