Snowsports Trip - April 2023
Our troubled journey through Dover is already well documented, both live through our Facebook page and nationally through the press. It appears that things could have been far worse as an ex-colleague of ours had a 24 hour delay for their school, missing the first day of skiing altogether.. With the St Gotthard tunnel also heavily delayed, we took the scenic route via the Italian lakes, arriving at the Hotel around 8 hours late…by far the longest journey ever. The students were magnificent and patient throughout – and the drivers, Alex, Monique, Jamie and Adam need a special mention, as of course, they were the ones if affected most. Fortunately, our journey home was much smoother with no delays whatsoever,
The Hotel Miramonti was as accommodating as ever with great food and facilities. They have served us very well over the years and it was great to see the same familiar faces. Rooming was more of a challenge than ever, with as predicted, the rooming list not matching the one we had received at home. However, the affected students were really patient and understanding in working through the problems with us, everybody ending up with a satisfactory solution. The other three schools in the hotel faced similar challenges.
Eight different ski/boarding groups presented a challenge to us in getting everybody to the correct place at the correct time. Some students, as ever, found the timekeeping more of a challenge than others – but got there in the end! The instructors were fantastic at all times, balancing technical instruction with exploration of the mountain and challenging everybody to get the very most from their six days on the snow.
Evening entertainment, coordinated by Mr T and Mr MJ always included the daily award nominations – which were given and received with good humour! Suffice to say, most awards were very well deserved for a wide variety of indiscretions..
All 12 members of the staff team were fantastic in stepping up to deal with situations as they arose, from the dreaded rooming issues, chasing up late students, to the daily monitoring of rooms and bedtimes. Without a strong and proactive team of colleagues, the whole trip would be far more difficult to coordinate. A huge debt of gratitude must also go to Mr Bullion who spent the best part of 2 days at Trento hospital.
With such a large group of students on the slopes in conditions which, though always sunny and pleasant - but undeniably heavy, some injuries were inevitable. One badly broken arm was the worse injury we had ever had and the lad involved was a trooper throughout, in a situation which would have tested the resilience of any student, let alone one so young. A twisted knee and another, thankfully less severe, arm fracture were our other two injuries. Though I would obviously have preferred no medical issues at all, I cannot fault the care provided by the local emergency services. They were calm, caring and efficient throughout.
The weather was very kind to us all week with almost unbroken sun and blue skies. It really does make the experience more enjoyable, even at the expense of not skiing on fresh powder snow. In fact, the only fresh snow we saw was as we were leaving!
From the feedback we have seen so far, it seems that the students had a fantastic week away. They have represented both parents and our school community superbly. Snowsports is, as I have mentioned before, far more than a sport. It is a lifestyle which challenges and rewards in equal measure. I hope it will remain a treasured memory for all.
From a personal point of view, I return from my final Snowsports Experience with very mixed emotions and a heavy heart. Proud and satisfied that we have offered our students a great experience, but sad that I will never be doing it again. Without doubt, it is the most rewarding week, in the wider educational sense, of my school year… Intense and challenging, but ultimately enjoyable.
I have over 30 years of treasured memories from Andorra, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Some of the students I first took are now in their 50s, many having since taken their own families skiing. I have always been supported by a fantastic team of colleagues, from the legendary Roger Booth in the early days, to the current core team of Mr T and Mrs Fisher. Jamie Munro, our legendary driver, has been a constant on the majority of our adventures.
Moving towards the twilight of my teaching career I have had to make a judgement as to the correct time to hand over the very special and treasured Snowsports baton. I am confident that Mr Bullion, Mr Moore and their new team will ensure this opportunity continues to be offered to Calthorpe Park students long into the future.
Thank you Snowsports 1988-2023 – it's been emotional...