Ski Trip to Les Deux Alpes 2023

As the mince pie sugar-highs from the tutor group end of term parties were dying down, 48 students and 6 staff set off to France on an overnight coach journey; the gentle snoring started as we exited the Channel Tunnel just after midnight, following the first challenges for some students (trying to count fish from the train windows, and seeing if it was possible to walk the length of the train and back in the journey time – the answer to which is ‘just’!).

Most slept very well, after a long hard term, and we arrived to a sunny resort, with our super-smiley rep Lucy waiting to receive us at the Italian run Hotel Atmosphere, now a firm Blue Coat favourite, where we stayed in 2017, and the Race Trip stayed in 2019.

The ski fit was really efficient and, as we were the first school party in the resort, many got new equipment! We had a good look around town, followed by a delicious dinner and an early night, in anticipation of skiing bright and early the next day.

Our instructors greeted us with a ‘bonjorno’ the next day, rather than a ‘bonjour’! ProSki use many Italians as the border is less than an hour’s drive, and Marco, Alberto, Nico, Bruno and Nicolo looked after our 7 complete beginners through to our 10 experts brilliantly all week. They were full of praise for how keen our students were to learn and improve, and refused to keep calling the beginner group ‘beginners’ by the end of the week – having skied with them on day 6 down a very dark red run.  I completely agreed, and we debated whether ‘novice’ would be a more appropriate term for their certificates. The intermediates and experts all loved the fact the slopes were relatively empty as French students were still at school, so there were no queues for lifts, and they could go round and round the snow park as many times as they liked. They skied hard and fast on immaculately groomed snow and, although we didn’t get any fresh snow, ice and slush were rare occurrences. We had fantastic blue skies for the first 4 days, and then many experienced their first adverse conditions with fog, high winds, and sideways icy sleet rolling in and out. Luckily, it was good visibility more than bad on these days, so we could enjoy chalking up the experience and lessons learned without it becoming too draining, or spoiling our last runs.

Evenings were spent with the Blue Coat après-ski classics, including Mr Hickman’s Quiz night, the snow-man competition night (this year’s ‘animal’ theme winner being a phenomenal life-sized alligator made by the Year 11s, with the Year 8 Galapagos giant turtle, complete with a nest of snow-ball eggs, proving close competition), a film night with marshmallow-loaded-hot chocolate, and the all-time favourite ski-trip-themed bingo, with calls delivered in alternate dead-pan Mr Baker-isms or utter Mr Hickman-esque hilarity. Mr Pritchard and Ms Cataldo provided excellent adjudication throughout, and Erin kept us all appropriately dosed/cared for/checked upon in medical-related things, as well as providing good company for the beginners group on her first ever week skiing.

A brilliant week was topped off by the hotel staff complimenting us on the behaviour of the group, and my thanks to staff and students alike for making this a fantastic week with a very positive attitude to activity both on and off the slopes, and a lovely interaction between year groups.

Next year’s trip details are just being finalised, but I can reveal it will be to Serre Chevalier, leaving again on the last day of the Christmas Term, and that there will be a quiz, snow-sculpture competition, and a bingo night 🙂

Until then, my best wishes,

Tanya van der Werff,

Ski Trip Leader

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