Stonehenge Ski Club
Friday 12th February, 11am, the excitement could not be contained any longer as this year’s ski party departed for Austria. A party of 38 departed, managing to get to Dover before the M25 became the ‘Friday afternoon car park’.
The remainder of the journey also went well with plenty of DVD entertainment and a good night’s sleep as we travelled through the night, (well … as good as you can expect in a reclined seat).
Within half an hour of arrival to the Hotel Walchhofgut the service bus arrived, taking us to collect boots, skis, poles and helmets. An arduous task after a long journey but it was great to be one of the first groups in, thereby collecting good quality and safe gear.
Students quickly settled into a daily routine. Breakfast at 7.30am and on the coach by 8.30am. After a short trip we were in Rohrmoos, a small village up the mountain from Schladming town. This is where we met our instructors, all kitted out and ready to go by 9.30am. Two hours of skiing, an early lunch (we were ravenous by 11.30!), two more hours of skiing and then a well-earned rest on the coach back to the hotel. This was our only ‘down time’ of the day; chance to freshen up, eat again, go out to ‘snow ball’ or ‘bum board’, have a game of table tennis, contact home or just ‘catch some zedzzzzzzz’. 5.30pm and we were back in the hotel restaurant, yes more food, (most of us have never eaten so much!), a much needed re-charge before tomorrow’s skiing and the evening’s ‘après ski’.
Après ski every evening was a good mixture of rests and excitement. Our first night took in the renowned Schladming Ski Show, a mix of action, speed, trick, synchronised, formation and crazy skiing together with traditional Austrian ‘slap-dancing’ and goblins! Monday was ice skating; we’ve never had such a talented bunch of skaters! Maybe it was the unusual atmosphere of skating outdoors whilst it was snowing that spurred them on. Next was swimming night, a great venue near Radstadt featuring relaxing spa-pools, flumes (including one that includes a vertical drop and a ‘loop-the-loop’!), a wave machine, an outdoor pool and a whirlpool! A more restful skittles evening followed which was a probably a good move as our last evening was spent dancing the night away in the ‘Penne Club’, a popular venue with some of the world’s top skiers following the famous Schladming Night slalom.
Students did really well during their ski lessons; whatever their initial ability everyone made progress. The first half an hour on the first day saw several of the beginners in almost ‘panic attack’ mode as the reality of a never ending slide confronted them. However, following the inevitable bumps, bruises and crashes of the first day students demonstrated real tenacity and were competent skiers by the end of the week. By the middle of the week every skier was catching lifts up the mountain, taking in spectacular views of the scenery and enjoying long and varied skiing on the way down. They also experienced a wide variety of weather during lessons; overcast, light snow, horizontal snow, ‘blue skies with sunshine’ all made an appearance.
Friday was a very busy day, vacating rooms, a full day’s skiing and after a hearty meal, loading the coach before the long sleep home.
We must all be very proud of every student that went on this year’s ski trip. The hoteliers, the instructors, our rep, the coach drivers, the après ski hosts etc all commented on their good behaviour, good manners, determination and good sense of humour.
As always none of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of all the staff involved; many thanks to them.