Our ski trip took in some exciting new territory this year. Our students and teachers exchanged the slopes of the USA for the more northerly climes of Canada. Year Ten’s Bethan Thomas kindly agreed to write about her experience of this epic trip for us:
At 4:30am on the 13th of December, around forty of us, all in matching purple hoodies, piled onto a coach with far too much excitement for that early in the morning. The long journey ahead didn’t seem to faze anyone; we were on our way to Canada! Our experience in the airport was eventful to say the least. Camera crews came around filming for a programme on ITV. Mali even became a semi-celebrity when they asked to film her visa disaster! Finally, after take-off nerves, a long-haul flight, and a coach ride that seemed to go on forever to avoid avalanches, we had managed to arrive (with everyone) at the Lobstick Lodge. We had been travelling for over twenty-four hours and were keen to get to bed, but it was worth it. We were in Jasper and our ski adventure had only just begun.
The first day on the slopes
Soon enough we were up again ready for our first day of skiing. I was in one of the middle groups and after being assigned to our ski instructors we were heading up the mountain to our first slope. I think everyone would agree there were a fair few nerves amongst the group, despite us only starting on a green slope. After a shaky start, with some of us claiming we had completely forgotten how to ski, we made it down the slope. From there our confidence grew. Soon we were moving on to different, more challenging slopes and going higher and higher up the mountain. We even had the occasional snowball fight when we stopped on a slope, with our instructor mocking my ability to both make and throw snowballs! During our lunch breaks it was great to be able to see all of the other groups and compare what we had done. There was definitely some competition between the two middle groups to establish which was higher. The instructors certainly seemed very keen to prove whose group was the best as well. It seemed it was a race to see which group would be skiing down a black slope first, something some of us were still not quite sure of yet. Meanwhile the top group made everything look easy. Coming down any slope at speed, attempting jumps, even giving each other piggy backs with relative ease.
After each day of skiing there was still plenty of fun to come. It was nice to come back to the lodge, order a hot chocolate from the Starbucks in the lobby and get ready for the evening activity. We certainly kept busy. From simple things such as playing cards, quizzes, going to the swimming pool and trips to a local shop to buy whatever we wanted, to watching ice hockey matches and taking moonlit walks on a frozen lake in a canyon, listening for anything that remotely sounded like ice cracking (or a bear)! We even had our first go at curling. It was new and it was difficult, but we had such a laugh and some people were surprisingly good. Although, no one could match Miss Toye and Mrs Davies’ level of excitement and competitiveness; they were determined not to lose.
A sense of achievement
Each day was a new experience. We got to go on different ski lifts and see different parts of the mountain. The views were breathtaking. It snowed almost every night so it was incredible to be able to hit the fresh powder in the mornings before the slopes had been tracked out. After the first day or so, we were heading to the top of the mountain. One particular time, we started going down a new (and much steeper) slope. Having briefly seen the signs there was some confusion in our group as we were heading away from the blue and green slopes we had come to know. As it turned out our instructor, Ronan, had tricked us into going on a black slope, Highway 16! There was no turning back. With only a few protests, screams and slight stumbles we made it down. I felt such a great sense of achievement and we couldn’t wait to tell the other groups.
Despite being able to manage new black slopes, on about the fourth day, our group in particular seemed to be rapidly decreasing in number. Injuries to knees, ankles and heads resulted in quite a few medical crises. I’ve never seen people so happy to be in hospital! Luckily, no one was too badly injured.
Enjoying time with friends
On the last few days, after lunch, we would join with some of the other groups. It was nice to be able to ski with everyone. Then, on our final day of skiing, all the groups joined together for a huge snowball fight between the groups. Luckily, according to our instructor, I had improved by then! The snow we were in was extremely deep, making it difficult to move anywhere without sinking. It was cold and tiring but such a memorable way to finish off our last day. The sixth form boys seemed particularly distraught to leave their ski instructor, Dave (I’m not sure if the feeling was reciprocated).
Finally, it was time to head back home, with everyone ready to sleep for days and I was glad to have a break from the countless french braids I had done every morning. The ski trip was such an unforgettable experience and I have made so many wonderful memories. As cliched as it sounds, although I knew everyone by name from being in such a small school, I really got to know people I had never really talked to before. I made new friendships I never expected. I’m so glad I got to be a part of this amazing trip and I can’t wait until next year!