Ski trip to Pila in the Aosta Valley, Italy

On Saturday 20th January staff and pupils from Longdon Park School travelled to Pila in the Aosta Valley, Italy for the inaugural annual ski trip.  The intrepid adventurers started with a 24 hour coach journey down to Dover and across France to Italy, travelling through the Monte Blanc Tunnel and arriving in resort on Sunday 21st where we met Sasha, our Interski rep.  She features in quite a few photos and was a great source of fun for the pupils.

Day 1 – first day of skiing. 

A new experience for everyone, not necessarily because they hadn’t skied before but because no one had skied in rain!! It chucked it down all morning and was quite possibly the worst start to any ski holiday.  By lunch time kids, staff and instructors were feeling pretty miserable.  However, Lauren and Karen (Interski instructors) did everything they could to chivy everyone along and before we knew it the sun was out and pupils were beginning to make real progress.  After a long day of skiing we got off the slopes and hit the bowling alley.  A monumental competition ensued with some very close scored and some most excellent strikes.  The day ended with a drawn between Ellis and Sasha.  We then returned to the hotel for some fabulous Italian food cooked by out host Hector. 

Day 2 – up and skiing early. 

Laurent and Karen started to work out where students had progressed to and after a morning on the nursery slopes most of the pupils went up the chair lift to the next slope.  By this point pupils were making excellent snow plough turns and making their way down the slope with confidence.  After a day on the slopes we hit the supermarket to get goodies and then went back for a karaoke party.  Sam P was the master of the machine and gave his own rendition of Castle on the Hill with Nyree accompanying.

Day 3 – more skiing. 

Fantastic conditions and really growing in confidence.  Further up the mountain again today and preparing to get the chair lift to the top at some point.  Some great skills developing at this point and the groups of pupils were beginning to look like proper skiers and following the instructor in lines with turns in the right places.  Amin and Nyree continue to try to learn to do 360 turns with much hilarity when things went wrong.  A master wipe out technician was identified – no names who managed to take out the entire group at one point with skis and poles in all directions.  Pizza night in the evening with all you can eat pizza and fries.  Many pupils were really adventurous and tried pizza with black olives on.  There was a personalised vegetarian pizza for Amin which the pupils were really pleased with as they were worried that food in Italy would not be suitable for him.

Day 4 – terrible conditions on the mountain. 

Visibility was really poor and made skiing difficult.  Ellis’ jacket acted as a beacon to the whole group and helped us find our way across the mountain.  The confidence of pupils at this point was a little shaky because of the weather and a week of skiing felt like it was taking its toll.  However, all of the pupils found renewed strength and commitment and battled through to achieve some great turns and skills and tackle some more difficult runs.  Ice cream night in town meant lost of beautiful gelato and really good prices.

Day 5 – Assessment day. 

We were met by beautiful sunshine and skiing conditions. A fresh dump of snow over night had made to runs nice and soft and with the sunshine everyone was feeling much more confident and happy.  Instructors Lauren and Karen were observing the pupils closely and looking for key characteristics in their ski to differentiate between levels.  Super levels of concentration and pupils showed that they really had become great skiers.  Burgers for lunch in a lovely hut and it was lovely to see the pupils using the skills they had developed over the week to support each other and interact.  Some lovely conversations happening and lots of compliments to each other as well as constructive feedback.  Nyree and Amin had finally mastered the 360 turn and were now video kids whilst skiing backwards.  The evening awards ceremony showed how much pupils had enjoyed the week and the bond that had developed between them, the instructors and staff as well as each other.  Lots of cheering and clapping and the biggest round of applause going to Horatio who achieved a level 5 after skiing with different people all week and gate crashing the interski meetings.

 Day 6 – free ski day. 

Today was all about having fun and showing off our ski skills.  Most pupils were attempting parallel turns and leading each other down the mountain.  There was much celebration as troy began to ski freely and led the group down a slope.  After half a day skiing and then a final lunch we were back at the hotel getting ready for the mammoth coach journey home.  Massive thanks to Lauren, Karen and Sasha for all of their support and help.  Although pupils were happy to be heading home most were also sad to be leaving the beautiful mountains.  What a week – exhausting but utterly brilliant!