Crossfield Avenue, Cowes
Isle of Wight. PO31 8HB
11 May 2012
Setting off on a sunny, warm from day from Fishbourne felt more like we were off on a summer holiday rather than a Wintersports trip. Spirits were high as we boarded the ferry and a nearly forgotten passport (not mentioning any names…) just added to the good humour.
The coach driving crew included an old friend of the trip so we were in safe hands as we sped through France, Belgium and Germany before finally arriving just over the border in Austria in the tiny village of Operpinswang and Gasthof Säuling where we met Nancy, the hotel manager who would be our host for the next week.
The group was split into half skiers and half boarders with half of everyone being complete beginners. The first day could not have been a more perfect start to the week and an ideal day for beginners to take their first slides on snow and for the experienced students to find their first day legs with sunshine, clear blue skies and perfect snow. Our 3 instructors Rob, Benjy and another old friend, the legendary Reini got everyone off to a great start and soon had the beginners linking some nice turns together. These great conditions continued for the next few days and gave a huge boost to the progress made by beginners and intermediates alike. Every day saw the beginners speed and confidence grow and before long they had progressed from the nursery slopes to being able to cruise some more challenging blue and red slopes as well as tackle their first chairlifts with certain students finding out very quickly that these are much easier to get on than to get off.
All our students threw themselves into the evening entertainment with the same energy as they showed on the slopes and some memorable evenings were spent swimming, bowling, trying to beat the teachers in the quiz and getting to know the locals at club night. The highlight as usual was the cabaret night where Cowes students again showed their ingenuity, creativity and have-a-go attitudes producing some memorable performances ranging from some excellent dance routines to comedy game shows.
By Wednesday the instructors were so pleased with the group’s progress that the decision was made to take everyone up to the Zugspitze glacier at over 3000 metres above sea level and which involves an interesting experience, crossing the border into Germany in a cable car. With once more perfect conditions, the group took full advantage and threw themselves into the more challenging slopes and environment, fully appreciating the breath-taking scenery and surroundings.
Damp and grey weather towards the end of the week couldn’t dampen everyone’s spirits as by that time all three ski and board groups were flying, literally in many cases! Having spent about 30 years learning to ski, it was simply phenomenal seeing the progress made in 6 days by every single beginner skier and boarder from shaky, nervous sliding to smooth and confident turns by the end of the week. The intermediates also made huge leaps in confidence and technique, making the most of the expert tuition they received from one of the region’s most experienced instructors.
Being the trip’s unofficial ‘interpreter’ I talked to many of the Austrian locals with whom the group came into contact and received nothing but positive feedback from all of them about our group. Everyone from the instructors, the hotel staff, the ski shop and even local supermarket said what an enthusiastic, polite, well behaved group of young people we had with us. What impressed them most though was how up for every challenge thrown at them they were. Learning to ski or board or trying to improve takes bags of determination and a sense of humour, something all our students showed an abundance of every day in Austria. They were a pleasure to spend the week with and an absolute credit to themselves and the College.
Mr Adam Jackson - Subject Leader MFL