On Good Friday 2018, 41 students and six members of staff (Mrs Applin, Mr P Knight, Mr Edmonds, Miss Niblock, Mr Burton and Miss Burn) left school bright and early on a sunny morning with their final destination of Saalbach, Austria.
It was a long journey but we watched some films and played some great bus games planned by Miss Burn including pass the parcel which was really good fun. We arrived early in the morning to a snowy resort. We dropped off our bags and headed straight down to collect our ski equipment. A quick lunch back at the hotel and it was time for our first ski lesson. For most of the students on the trip this was their first experience on a mountain with real snow. It was a hard first two hours with lots of falling over, especially from our teachers who were also new to skiing. Lots of the group picked it up really quickly and were linking turns within no time.
The next day we rose early for breakfast and with lots of nervous energy we headed off for the first full day of skiing. One group headed straight up the mountain with their instructor Luca. As the most experienced skiing group they were challenged from day one. The other groups focused on learning on how to turn and go straight, which sounds easier than it actually is! Lunch on the mountain was busy as it had started to snow and everyone wanted to be inside. After refuelling students were keen to get back to their lessons.
Over the week the students’ skiing skills improved dramatically. We were lucky to experience all types of snow that week with the first few days being snowy and cold. It then warmed up and we had some lovely blue skies with the fresh powder which is perfect conditions for learning to ski! We had one slushly day which was hard work for everyone as the slush slows you right down. The Science teachers had lots of fun challenging the students to explain why this was using the Big Ideas of Science!! Some of our Year 8 students did an excellent job of this, Nathan in particular was fantastic at this. All of our four instructors were extremely talented and clearly loved spending time with our students. They were really impressed with their excitement and with the developing resilience of the students as the week went on. All of the students made such great progress in their skiing that week. It really is the best age to learn to ski! Mrs Applin’s group were total beginners at the start of the week, but they were cruising down blues and tackling reds by the end of the week. The second red run they did was super steep and Stephanie was so pleased to make it down without falling, which really was an achievement as Stephanie spent almost more time on the ground than upright. However she always got straight back up with a smile and got straight back on task. This is the reason why Stephanie was the winner of Skier of the Week.
All the groups took on the various snow trails and jumps, with Miss Niblock being the only one with a serious injury. She is back at school now awaiting to hear if she will need further hospital intervention to get her ACL back to normal. Fingers crossed she will be back on skis in the near future as she loved the trip.
After each day’s skiing we got together in our ski groups and had the tough task of nominating students and staff for the daily awards. We had the funnies story which usually involved a mass wipe out from one person, or that time that one student had put his boots on the wrong feet and didn’t realise! There was also the most improved and the moose on the loose. The moose was probably the most coveted prize as along with the sweets and certificate that each prize won they also had to wear the moose helmet cover on the mountain the next day!
With different evening activities each night the students were kept busy. We enjoyed a movie night with lots of sweets and popcorn, a trip to Bobby’s arcade and skittles bar, a trip to the local pizza place and Easter egg hunt on Easter Monday. Our excellent PGL rep organised a great games night which was very entertaining with unusual competitions, including the after 8 face challenge! A firm favourite of the group was the trip to the ice hockey match, which was a special match for PGL schools in the area and it was really fun to watch the game, eat snacks and watch the scuffles on the ice. On our last night we had a fancy dress disco. It was great to see the students who planned their fancy dress and those that had to get creative in the hotel, such as Chloe the troll!
The journey home was quite dreaded. However as students had developed many new friendships, the atmosphere in the coach was calm and quiet during the overnight drive. We managed to watch the entire hunger games series during the drive. There was a lot of appreciation for the films with the mocking jay song and signal throughout the coach all the way home!
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