Italy Ski Trip

This year the school was delighted to be able to offer 45 year 9 and 10 students an opportunity to attend a ski trip to Pila, Italy. It is the first time in many years the school has been able to offer such a trip and this resulted in places being highly competitive and enormously oversubscribed. The lucky students who were successfully drawn to attend the trip travelled to Italy on Saturday 24th February and returned 8 days later on Sunday 4th March, after enjoying what was a very successful trip.

Being British our review of the trip will start with our favourite discussion topic: the weather! During their time in Italy, the students enjoyed 6 fantastic days skiing in some very varied weather conditions. The first three days saw the students skiing with beautiful blue skies and sunshine, allowing for spectacular views. However, overnight on Wednesday over 15cm of snow fell, leaving lots of fresh powder on the pistes and making skiing a lot more difficult and tiring on the legs. By Thursday, the pistes had been resurfaced and were back to normal but this was not to last! During lunchtime, the clouds came in and heavy snow once again began to fall. Having already experienced beautifully maintained pistes and heavy powder skiing conditions, the students now had to navigate a mix of the two as the snow continued falling and creating tricky areas of compacted snow and areas of fresh powder. This passed though and for the remaining two days skiing the weather remained overcast, with patches of sunshine to finish the week. 

A typical ski day for the students was a busy one, perhaps busier than they expected and more tiring than they let on. At the start of the week, the students were up at night chatting away claiming they weren’t tired, despite repeated knocks on the door telling them to go to sleep. But as the week went on, a few quiet voices began to ask, “Sir, do you mind if we go to bed early?”. Each day began at 7 am with a lovely wakeup call down the corridor with ready and raring to go replies of “What time is it!?”. Breakfast followed at 7.30am with a buffet of continental food and cereal up for grabs, but where was the biggest queue…the hot chocolate machine! At 8.15am students would get into their groups and set off for the day. The journey to ski hire was a lovely 40-minute drive down the winding valley, with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. Here the students put on their ski boots, collected their skis and poles and then carried them to the gondola station. After a short ride up to the resort, taking in some more views and discussing the day ahead, we arrived at the top ready for skiing lessons to start at 10 am. The students then went off with their ski instructors for a day of skiing, pausing for lunch, which was usually a larger than required serving of pasta or pizza!  

As a group of staff, we were incredibly excited (and perhaps a tiny bit nervous!) to be giving 39 of the 45 students their first opportunity to ski on real snow. This turned to pride when 6 of the 7 groups were ready to move off of the nursery slopes on their first day and hopped on to the chairlift to attempt the blue run. The students were all confident and comfortable with their ski instructors, and it was great to see them happily skiing past the staff, still upright and in control (mostly!). As the days went on the instructors from the resort were full of praise for our students, and that by Wednesday many of the students were confidently skiing down runs that Interski had told us were only likely to be attempted at the end of the week. With all groups on red runs by Friday, and some even on black runs, the praise and compliments from the instructors were clearly well deserved.

At the end of skiing each day, students made their way to return their skis, sharing highlights and funny crash stories with their group leaders. After travelling back to the hotel, students had time to freshen up and relax before dinner and the apres ski activities. Dinner was at 7 pm and consisted of three courses of the largest portions anyone could ask for. Starting with your body weight in pasta, followed by a meat and veg course and finishing off with a freshly baked dessert, there was definitely no one going hungry! Finally, came the apres ski. We saw possibly the lowest score ever recorded, 14, in bowling, mountains of ice cream eaten, unique ornaments in shops, hurling each other down the snow in a rubber ring, endless supplies of pizza and finally a lovely, positive end to the week with an awards evening for the students.

We were very fortunate that throughout the week we had the most amazing staff helping us. From the HBHS staff who came; to Lloyd and Helen our coach drivers; Bella our Interski rep; all of the ski instructors and Roberto the hotelier, everyone was absolutely amazing with our students. They engaged them in games, discussions and jokes, creating much laughter and heaps of positive memories. Combine that with how amazingly our students behaved throughout the trip, proving a real credit to their parents and to the school, it’s no wonder that plans for the next trip are already in motion. #Pila2019!

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