Enjoying the Snow
This year’s Ski trip to Torgon could hardly have started in a worse manner. Fog and flight cancellations meant that the group were forced to stay in the departures area of Bahrain Airport for six hours before the airline eventually booked us all onto a later flight. This, together with a longer than planned stopover in Abu Dhabi, meant we did not get to the resort until Saturday afternoon.
However, the spirits of all the students were remarkably positive and, despite the loss of the first day of skiing, everyone had a great time. The conditions varied from perfect to a little chilly and icy in parts but even the most novice skier made excellent progress. The ski lessons were extended to make up for the loss of the first day and the instructors were impressed with everyone’s attitude to skiing and their willingness to learn and develop the skills necessary. A visit to the chocolate factory, Maison Cailler, was the highlight of the return journey which itself went very smoothly. Next year’s trip to Crans Montana, also in Switzerland, has already been booked.
For the members of staff who are lucky enough to make regular trips on the Junior Ski Trip, the anticipation really builds once our coach pulls off the main motorway at Sion and begins the meandering ascent towards Anzére.
The climb takes around twenty-five minutes, and although this year the journey was through a steady downpour of rain from Geneva, we were over the moon to see deep-lying snow (a great indication of the conditions on the pistes) was in abundance everywhere.
Forty-five children made the trip with Mr and Mrs Armstrong, Mr Wilkins, Mrs Ross and Mrs Thomas and they all faced the challenges of the week – some anticipated, some unexpected – with aplomb, calmness and a fantastic attitude. The early indications were accurate; we were lucky to have exceptional snow to learn or refine our skiing techniques throughout the week.
Despite a handful of visits, the novelty of staying in a chalet in the Alps doesn’t really wear off and the awe and wonder on the faces of our young charges as they experience this environment for the first time is always intoxicating. As ever, the care and kindness of the Viamonde staff helps to make this trip one they will remember for a lifetime.
Our week was full of the usual adventures, crashes, Dingalings (daily awards after dinner) and excitement. The final day races showcased just how much progress everyone on the trip made and the first morning (usually marked with lots of confused and exasperated faces) felt like a distant memory even though it had been merely five days prior.
As many of you will be aware, our progress getting home hit a particularly large mogul headfirst in Amsterdam. But, we eventually made it back (with an extra stamp or two in our passports) laden with swiss chocolate, St Bernard cuddly toys and a miscellany of experiences that will be cherished for years to come.