On a February afternoon, 32 students and four members of staff parked up in the school grounds with a vast amount of luggage – huge bags containing skis, boots, pillows, blankets – and, of course, a multitude of snacks. This was all in preparation for 25 hours on a coach to Courmayer in Italy. Mr Jeffs, ably assisted by Miss Collingwood, Mrs Ryall and Mr Douglas, performed a number of head-counts before the time finally arrived to set off. Various films were watched during the journey, which was also punctuated by occasional toilet stops and a very rushed visit to McDonalds – rarely have chicken nuggets been consumed so quickly!
The group caught the evening ferry from Dover and, upon arriving in France, tried to get some sleep as the two capable drivers made the long journey southwards. Our students’ behaviour was impeccable throughout. Soon, levels of excitement heightened as the first signs of snow were spotted.
Arrival in Courmayer was earlier than anticipated, and the group went to get their skis and boots fitted. The view of the mountains was spectacular – the students were immediately captivated. The hotel was in Pré-Saint-Didier, a small town on the outskirts of Courmayer; the rooms were all very comfortable and spacious. The students were in groups of twos and threes spread over two floors. Meals were held in the hotel’s restaurant – typical European fare of bread, pasta, meat and vegetables.
Hayley, the group’s Interski representative, was very knowledgeable and professional, with a lovely personality: she oversaw every aspect of the trip and was always available for help and advice. She helped to get the students into their respective groups and off for their lessons with their instructors, Tom, Matt, John, Linus and Nia.
Progress was exceptional as the week moved on – from nervous snow ploughing to parallel turns and even black runs and moguls for the advanced groups. Time disappeared so rapidly – with shopping, ice cream, crêpes, countless pizzas and finishing the week off with a brilliant karaoke night. Mr Jeffs (“Sir”) and Mr “Dougie Fresh” Douglas kicked off proceedings with Kingston Town by Bob Marley and Wailers; the students were amazing – it has to be said that Taylor’s rendition of Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran reduced some of the party to tears.
Far too soon, the week drew to a close – having enjoyed unbroken bluebird skies the entire time – with the last few runs on the Saturday. Unfortunately, George was involved in a collision with a skier from another group. Mr Jeffs accompanied him to the medical centre where he was swiftly x-rayed, diagnosed with a fractured tibia and put in a full leg cast. However, he remained in good spirits throughout and arrangements were made to fly him home to Bournemouth airport, where he was met by his family. The remaining – very tired – students returned home on the coach, continuing to be a credit to the school for the entire journey. Everyone arrived back at Lytchett just before 1.30pm on the Sunday afternoon, to be met by Mr Jeffs who had made it back slightly earlier, having accompanied the injured George on his flight.
“A fabulous week, with lovely colleagues and students, which went by far too quickly.” (Mrs Ryall)