21 February 2017

On Friday 10 February 2017 a group of 37 students and 5 staff departed Abingdon on a coach for the school ski trip to Saint Gervais in the French Alps. Despite a longer than anticipated journey due to half term traffic jams and poor weather we still arrived at the resort early afternoon on the Saturday in time to check in and collect our equipment from the ski hire shop.

Students shared self-catering apartments that were located approximately 1.2km outside of the centre of town giving a good variety of eating out as a large group, reserving their own tables in restaurants as small groups and even the challenge of the boys cooking for themselves with provided ingredients on two of the nights. ​Particular trials for some were working out how to cook rice and learning how to put duvet covers on.

A large snowfall during the preceding week led to good snow conditions and also gloriously sunny weather throughout our time there. The main skiing area extended from the top of the Bettex cable car at 1400m up to the top of Mont Joly at 2525m giving a good variety of skiing options. On the first day all students spent 6 hours in ski or snowboard school provided by ESF, refining techniques previously learned or venturing out onto the slopes for the very first time.

The morning of the second day gave the students their first opportunity to explore the slopes with their friends with the majority of the groups re-skiing the routes shown to them by the instructors previously. Lessons then resumed from 2.00pm to 5.30pm each day with the instructors enjoying guiding the more able groups off piste and down black runs that they were not allowed to ski outside of lessons.

On the Wednesday and Thursday mornings, the coach took us 15 minutes down the road to the resort of Les Contamines to give some further variety in the skiing. Fewer people and short lift queues meant many miles of skiing were had. Mr Simmons and Mr Dempsey who both previously thought that they were reasonable skiers enjoyed spending an afternoon with the advanced group and realising that they weren’t quite as young and agile as previously thought; devoting much time getting back up from the floor after falling over. On the last afternoon the boys enjoyed being taken to the VIP area of the Folie Douce at the top of Mont Joux by their instructors and joining in the fun of dancing on the tables. 

Particular mentions should go to Aaron Mara and Connor Fanning for being the best skiers and Graham Suttie for being the best snowboarder but more notably to Daniel Hollis who was a complete beginner at the start of the week but managed to master a black run in his ski lesson on the last day. His instructor commented that Dan was the quickest learner he has encountered in his 30 years of ski instructing. We would also like to thank the staff that accompanied the trip: Mr Dempsey, Mrs Griffiths, Mrs Hack, Mr Simmons and Mr White.

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