Day 1: Travel from School to Le Corbier.

The morning meeting in 2018 was at a much more reasonable time at 9:00am, this meant that the children and parents arrived fresh faced and eager.  After a quick run back to home for one student to collect his gloves and goggles we boarded the minibus and headed to Manchester Airport for a 14:35 flight to Turin.

The journey was uneventful with bacon sandwiches at 11:00 to sustain us for the short flight everything was looked really efficient.  Passing through baggage check and security showed a difference in packing for the students, heaviest bag weighed in at 27kg and the lightest at 9kg.

We arrived at the gate as boarding commenced and were soon allowed onto the plane to jet off. Or so we thought… inclement weather meant that the airplane iced up while it was waiting to taxi and with only one de-icing truck we had to wait until it had done all the other planes first.  This delay of 2hrs 15 minutes sat on the plane was handled stoically by all the students who were a credit to themselves and The Brades Lodge. 

Finally, we landed in Turin and waited for our coach journey to Le Corbier.  After a short delay as a couple went to get snacks we got on the coach and set off. 35 minutes later we arrived back at Turin airport to pick up 2 people who had been left at the airport…not our students, but it does show the benefit of a double head count!!!

On arrival at the hotel 01:30 we were provided with a three course dinner before heading to bed tired after a long days travel.  All were eager for the breakfast at 07:15 the same day.

Day 2: First day on the snow.

We were woken up at around 7:00, the morning’s sky had clouds that prevented the sun’s light from reaching out to the mountains. Our breakfast’s choice of options of food made the decision of what to eat hard, but we eventually managed to find something we liked to give us our energy for the day.

After we had eaten, we got dressed into our ski clothes, and then had to get our ski boots, and skis fitted so that we could begin our journey to the mountain slopes. We met our instructor after making the tiring, but worth it, walk to the ski slopes and lifts that carried us up, with ease, to the tops of the mountains. Our instructor was Thomas, he taught the kids who had never been skiing before, while the others who have were separated while they learnt.

After we had our lunch after a morning of skiing, we went back out, but tried steeper slopes instead of the small training ones that held us back. After skiing in the afternoon, until three o’clock, we rested in our rooms until our three course meal was prepared. The food was nice, and settled us down for when we went out into the town to familiarise ourselves with our surroundings.

After our long day of winter sport and miscellaneous activities, we rested ourselves in bed at nine o’clock and shut our eyes at ten. Well, most of us did.

Todays’ blog was written by Tom.

Day 3: Aquisition of skill.

When we woke up at 7am and all of us were tired and excited to hit the slopes. And then we all had breakfast. Then we went back up in are room to get changed then it was time to go skiing.  We headed over to the nursery slopes for what would be the last time for most of us, Thomas, our instructor taught us how to slow down and turn using a snow plough.  I caught on very quickly and soon gained the nickname of ‘Speedy Gonzales.’

We spent about 1hour on the nursery slopes before moving over to the button lifts.  I was nervous because the slope was steeper and longer but excited too for the same reasons.  The group started to separate a little because some of us was very good and others were OK. At about this time it was time for lunch so we headed back to the hotel.

After lunch, we headed back out for another two hours.  The staff had arranged another instructor to take a small group who for one reason or another were struggling.  I was not in this group and we headed over to a  big chairlift for the first time.  On seeing the lift disappear into the distance I had butterflies in my tummy.  I soon quashed these feelings and took a deep breath, the chair scooped me up and took me up the mountain.  The skiing was fast and steep and also smooth.  It soon became clear that my nickname was correct.

After the next two hours all our legs were tired and I was a little out of breath.  Going back to the hotel I ran to the elevator opened the bedroom door and fell on my bed.

Dinner was again at 6:00 and I discovered a liking for snails and frogs legs. The evening activity was bum-boarding which involves sitting on a small piece of plastic and speeding down the hill hoping not to crash into anybody or anything.

Finally it was bed time, well deserved, well-earned and very welcome.  Sleep was difficult to come as I was replaying the day in my head.

Todays’ blog was written by RB

Day 4: The separation of the groups.

Today, unfortunately, I was poorly so I stayed in bed after breakfast while everyone went down stairs to get ready for skiing.

Everyone went downstairs to get their skis and they went to the slopes and went up the lifts and started skiing. The group was split today so that the more advanced group went up to the top of the mountain, they were given plenty of information about the ski area and how it is going to be developed over the next couple of years to make it the largest ski area in the world at over 800km2.  The less advanced group were on the easier slopes perfecting their snowplough turns and controlling their speed. After they was done skiing they came back and I woke up. Lunch today was a firm favourite of chicken nuggets with mayonnaise and ketchup.

In the afternoon I got changed and went to the slopes. I went up the slope with the less able group and went down practicing my turns for an hour and a half then we went back to the hotel and took our skiing clothes off. Not only can we now ski back to the hotel which saves us a walk but taking our kit off also takes less time.  

After dinner, garlic bread, lasagne and fruit salad we all went into our rooms to have showers then it was time to go out to have pancakes it was chocolate spread or lemon and sugar, for our drinks we had lemonade. After that we went into the arcade we played the games when we had done with that we all went back to the hotel and we all went to sleep.

Today’s blog was written, mostly, by Drew

Day 5: Pushing limits.

In the morning we were woken up with a bang at the door by Jaggie and Karen, I woke up really tired and wanted to go back to bed, maybe I should start listening to staff who say we should get to bed earlier! When it was breakfast I was worried about going out today because I was going to do the chairlift, heights is one of my fears.  We warmed up our legs on the slopes I have been used to but we could not put it off any longer… it was time to go on the chairlift.  My legs were shaking, I was so scared I held Jaggie’s hand and closed my eyes. After I got to the top I screamed with excitement, I was so happy I had done it and wondered what was there to be scared of.  Skiing down the hill was a bit tricky because I was still scared of the height but in the end we did it, after all it was too far to walk.

After a hearty lunch we went out again but I was too nervous to use the chairlift again and I could not pluck up the courage to repeat my feat of earlier. I returned to the draglift and continued to practise my turns.

After dinner there was a demonstration by all the Ski instructors who came down one of the pistes in a line holding torches.  It was an impressive site made more so when we saw a person in a ‘wheelchair’ being brought down the slope, at speed, by one of the instructors.  It was cold standing outside so I was grateful to get back inside and get ready for bed. I went to bed happy with myself because I conquered one of my fears.

Today’s blog was written by Andre


Day 6: Pushing myself

I was woken by staff knocking at the door but I was still tired.  Breakfast was my usual, a couple of croissants covered in honey with a glass of orange juice. This keeps me energised during the day which is needed when you go skiing. 

After breakfast I went upstairs to get ready for skiing, my clothes, which were odd to me at the start of the week, now seem to be part of my wardrobe.  I can now ski to the meeting point where I met ‘Gee Gee’ who is my instructor of an hour each morning.  I was greeted with a cheerful Bonjour and then we were off.  We skied to the carpet lift where I once again practised my turning and perfected my snowplough position.  After a couple of runs down to get my ski legs back we moved over to the drag lift.  This goes higher and requires a different technique, I feel proud of my achievements and believe my mum would too.

After lunch I went straight to the drag lift but could now do it quickly and managed to get more runs in.  This meant that when my lesson finished I was tired.

After dinner, which was a curry, we went to go bum-boarding again.  I took a friend I had met at the hotel and had races, Thomas K was the best because he has the right technique.

We were all tired after this day and went to bed quickly.

I would like to thank Neil and Karen for their help and patience today, I don’t think I would have achieved as much without them.

Today’s blog was dictated by Josh.

Day 6: The Journey

As is traditional on the last day of a school ski trip the 2 sets of lessons are combined into one so that the group can go on a journey and really test their ski legs.  This week was no exception and although we had three distinct groups all of them had challeges to overcome.

One student progressed onto the button lifts and was coached in some skills that enabled him to descend the steeper slopes with control and fluidity. Two students were taken on an extended trip up and down the mountain on routes they knew and one or two they didn't. However, the more advanced 4 students spent the full four hours being put through their paces.  

We travelled over mountains and across valleys visiting 4 of the six resorts within the Les Seybelles ski area.  We ventured on blue pistes and red pistes, there was also the opportunity to try thier hand at a short lumpy black run, the person that found this the most challeging was a member of staff!  In total of 44km were covered in the 4 hours with Thomas, our instructor, stating that he had not planned on doing so much but the speed of the group made it a really enjoyable day out. 

When we were close to the resort one last time we stopped and were awarded medals.  The criteria for these are set by the ski school and mirrored across France we had one student awarded the snowflake all the way up to the tyop childrens award of the gold star. 

Really well done to all the students who came on this trip, you made it a pleasure to work on and the progress you all showed was outstanding.  I personally cant wait for another two year to go by so I can start thinking about the next trip in 2020.