three year jinx, the journey from the Co-op Car Park to Claviere in the Italian
Alps went without any kind of hitch this year. We arrived in good time at the
Chalet della Luna to find our host Gaetano and a delicious hot meal waiting for
us. We had sole occupancy of the hotel and – as we were to find during the week
– nothing was too much trouble for Gaetano and his staff. On Saturday
afternoon, we had our skis fitted and, after supper, we headed up for an early
night in anticipation of our first day’s skiing. Though we had still not seen
any snow, we were assured that there was snow in the nearby resort of
early breakfast, we loaded our skis onto a bus and headed for Sestriere a
thirty minute drive away. The excitement we felt on arrival was caused by one
thing: snow, lots of it. We unloaded our kit into the hotel that was to house
our skis and equipment for the rest of the week. From there it was a short walk
to the slopes. Our ski instructors Ilaria (Group 1), Stefano (Group 2), Barbara
(Group 3) and Luciano (Group 4) were there to greet us. After a brief
assessment, our skiers were assigned to an instructor and taken straight out
onto the slopes.
discovered that, although some resorts on the Milky Way were shut, as was the
case throughout the Alps, Sestriere offered a variety of skiing which would
keep us busy all week. On our return to the hotel, hot chocolate and cake was
waiting for us, as it was throughout the week. After another three course
Italian feast, pupils watched the first part of the film ‘Cool Runnings’ in the
evening, we had renamed this trip, the ‘Bob Fleming Tour’ in honour of the Fast
Show character. Many of us had brought the sore throat and cough with us and
the sound of coughing reverberated through the hotel’s empty corridors all
night long. Although many pupils suffered from the cough during the week, it is
typical of S. Anselm’s pupils that almost no skiing was missed. Pretty much
everyone skied for five hours per day for six days.
This was in
no small part due to the ministrations of Mr Wood who took such good care of
everyone, dispensing cough medicine to a lengthening queue of pupils and staff
at the end of each meal and of Miss Flack who took care of the girls who could
not sleep during the nights. Conditions on Monday were good and all skied well.
After supper, and Benylin, we finished watching ‘Cool Runnings’.
were good in the morning with real progress being made by skiers of all
abilities. In the afternoon, the sun had softened the snow a little, but the
pupils continued to ski flat out. We had arranged to have a hot lunch inside
the café at the bottom of the slopes, which had become our unofficial HQ,
instead of sandwiches from the hotel.
This really helped pupils to warm up
and to keep going in the afternoons for the rest of the week. After supper, on
Tuesday, we had a quiz organised by our rep. Bryony.
this morning to see the town covered in snow. Whilst it was not skiable down in
Claviere, the snowfall had replenished the snow in Sestriere and we had an
amazing day’s skiing as a result. After skiing, we went to the superb outdoor
heated pool in Sestriere. As well as press ups and sit ups in the snow
surrounding the pool, some swimming actually took place, as well. Thursday
evening was also designated souvenir shopping night, so pupils hit the shops in
teams after supper to strip them of snow globes and fridge magnets.
were icy in the morning, the mushy snow from the previous afternoon having
frozen overnight. It was testing to ski on but all of the groups were equal to
the conditions. The sun eventually softened it up but pupils had really learned
to dig their edges in by then.
evening, Mr Mortimer led a specially devised quiz involving the mysterious
scrabble letters on the back of everyone’s hoodies.
conditions on our last day were a little soft, but the pupils were keen to ski
as much as possible. They took their tests in the morning and enjoyed the sun
in the afternoon. Luciano’s group of beginners had been cropping up all over
the slopes – much to our surprise - all week and it was amazing to see the
progress they had made in just six days. All had mastered their parallel turns
and were skiing with control and speed. Barbara’s group had pushed even farther
afield and their confidence had grown immensely. Stefano’s group had skied the
entire resort, enjoying his sense of humour and his insistence that they bend
their knees. Ilaria’s group were the fastest group, yet some of them had
clearly made the most progress during the week. The only hospital visit of the
week resulted, as it so often does, from the last run on the last afternoon. As
Mr Mortimer watched a group of our pupils skiing down into the resort, he
caught an edge and fell, cutting his lip. A couple of stitches later, he was
back on the bus to tumultuous cheers. The instructors came to the hotel before
supper to present medals to the pupils and to receive the gifts that the pupils
had bought them.
that it was the best skiing tuition they had had. After supper, pupils went
upstairs to pack.
It was a
pleasure to spend more time over the lovely breakfasts we had been rushing
through all week and we took our time to enjoy it before starting our homeward
journey at about 10.30am.
journey to Grenoble Airport took place in bright sunshine. We ate at the
airport before flying back a happy, but a tired, group ready for a lie in the
happens, our pupils drew flattering comments wherever they went. Thanks to them
for their can-do attitude and their impeccable behaviour. Thanks also to Miss
Flack, Mr Wood and Mr Mortimer for making the trip happen and to Mrs Corner and
Mr Repton for all of the help they gave pupils throughout the week.