This year’s ski-trip took our snow-seekers to mountains new, as they swapped the peaks of New Hampshire for the slopes of Vermont. The well-established resort of Mount Snow in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont. Its proximity to many metropolitan areas, including New York City, makes it a bustling and vibrant base from which to explore. Our Ffynone House group found a very friendly welcome there and, more importantly, were greeted with plenty of heavy snow!
The ski area has terrain suitable for all ability types, from gentle beginner slopes to blue cruisers and challenging black diamonds. Our group had a range of abilities from complete beginner to experienced skier. All reported a level of instruction that both encouraged and challenged them to move their technique onto the next level.
We asked sixth form student and beginner skier, Angharad Howden-Evans, to give us a personal insight into the trip:
The ski trip was an experience I will never forget. There were lots of early mornings and lots of travelling, but it was all worth it. From playing trivial pursuit in an airport lounge to late night chess games and gossip, the trip was full of unforgettable moments. Our red matching hoodies resulted in incredibly coordinated photos and definitely helped us to stay organised whilst we were travelling. At the start of the ski trip, I was only close to a few of the people going, but by the end of it I can confidently say the group had clicked. It was as if we had all been friends since the start.
Learning to ski
The skiing itself was a lot of fun. The beginners’ group, which I was in, started off only dreaming of skiing down the actual mountain, doing drill after drill of sliding with only one ski on around a track of cones. We were then allowed to attempt going down a baby slope, then doing turns on the baby slope and by the end of our second day we were shuffling onto a chair lift so that we could go down the easiest mountain slope! After numerous crashes, falls, and not being able to stop, we were skiing across the side of the mountain, making our way over to the first proper slope!
The ski lift was longer than the previous one we had been on, and higher, so there were a fair few nerves amongst the group. However, we successfully made it down ‘Long John” and were all in the best of moods when lunchtime came. The food was delicious! As well as healthy options, there was the stereotypical American food I had been looking forward to: burgers, chips, pizza, soda, and endless chocolate! At lunchtime we were able to mingle with the other groups, talking about which slopes we had been down, if we had learnt to turn properly and overall how much fun we were having.
Up the mountain
As time went on, we progressed to the more challenging slopes that the more experienced skiers had already conquered. At one point, we were on a ski lift above the freestyle slope where we saw Mr. Hillier attempt a jump and totally wipe out! After lunch on the last day of skiing, my instructor John told us that we were going to go from the very top of the mountain! I had heard from other members how beautiful the views were and how amazing it is to think you came down from the very top of the mountain. Despite this, I was still nervous. Luckily, my friend Nia had changed into my group the day before and having already been up the mountain, she reassured me it was easier than it seemed.
When I got to the top of the mountain it was as if we were up in the clouds, which I’m pretty sure we were! There were views stretching miles and miles; there was a fair bit of wind blowing snow into my goggles, but I didn’t mind as I was in awe of the sights. If you had asked me before this trip if I thought I was going to ski down a slope, let alone from the top of the mountain, I would’ve laughed, but now I am so proud that I skied all the way down. Yes, there were a few wobbles and a few worries, but it was one of the best feelings I have experienced. The pride I felt when I was at the bottom and thought about how far we’d skied and how high up we were; it was amazing.
Fun off the slopes
It wasn’t all skiing in Vermont; there were other activities as well! From going to the cinema to see the latest Star Wars film, to bowling and swimming in an outdoor pool with a hint of both rain and snow. On one of the evenings, after we had a long day of skiing, Miss Harvey had the brilliant idea of using the hotel’s hot tub to soothe our aching muscles. After getting into the indoor hot tub, we realised there was an outdoor one! The idea of relaxing in a hot tub with snow gently falling around you set against the backdrop of the mountains we had been on – it was too tempting to resist!
On our first night, as a full group, we went for a wander around a snowy village, thinking there was a market but soon realising that we had been falsely informed; instead we piled into a cosy little cafe where we put through their biggest order of about thirty hot chocolates to go! On another night, there was a brilliant idea of doing a secret Santa. We all set off to a huge thrift shop with the price set at about $5 and the theme, “something silly.” Now, as a confident shopper, I knew how to get the most for my money! I bought two amazing souvenir t-shirts, one tie-dyed and the other adorned with a mountain AND a mug and only went over the budget by fifty cents! Later that evening, after dinner, there was much laughter as we all sat down around our huge circular table in the corner of the dining room and exchanged our gifts.
An unforgettable experience
As a person who had never skied before, I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy it as I have a fear of heights and I am incredibly clumsy. However, the ski trip made me realise that I actually love skiing and I can do it! The thrill and rush you get as you soar down the snowy slopes, and the amazement you feel when you realise how far you’ve come – it is a feeling I never want to stop feeling. Overall, the ski trip was phenomenal; there were funny times, happy times, tired times and memorable times. I wish I could do it all over again!