On Sat 16th February 2019 52 students and 7 staff met at school and boarded the coach which would take them the 812 miles down to Andorra for our first ever ski trip. We arrived at Dover ready for a 5pm ferry in high spirits, everyone was excited for what was to come over the next 7 days, we reached France and hit the road for another 15 hours before eventually arriving at our hotel at midday. We checked in, left our bags and wandered into town to find some lunch, most of the students founded the familiar surroundings of McDonalds whilst the staff sought something more sophisticated and enjoyed chicken and chips across the road!

Later that day we got a coach to the ski hire shop and had all of our skis and boots fitted, you could feel the excitement rise as the students enjoyed snowball fights whilst we waited. Once we’d collected our equipment we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a much needed early night.

We awoke at 7am the next day to be met with clear blue skies which remained for the rest of the week. We had our breakfast and took the coach to El Tarter and headed to the nursery slopes for our first lessons. The students were taught the basics of skiing; snowplough, turning and stopping and by end of the first day had already shown massive progress.

The second day followed a similar pattern with groups becoming more adept at the basics and now had an understanding of how to use the various ski lifts, some seemed to take to this better than others as I watched with glee as both Miss Khanan and Miss Joomun fell over whilst disembarking the small chair lift, whilst Josh Smith was dragged up the button lift on his stomach as he failed to understand that it was meant to be sat on! By the end of day 2 the groups had been assessed and students had been placed into groups based on ability, this meant that the top groups would be heading up the mountain on day 3. The evening saw us go to the Caldea Spa which was fantastic, we enjoyed a swim (indoor and outdoor) as well as various steam rooms, Jacuzzis, saunas and ice baths, a much needed rest after a tough day on the slopes.

On day 3 most groups had now experienced the large 6 seater chair lifts which took them form the ski school all the way up to the highest point of Tossal De La Llosada at 2560m and skied a variety of blues and some reds back down to the base of El Tarter at 1710m. By now everyone had made enormous progress and all were comfortable and confident using the lifts whilst the top groups were beginning to get to grips with parallel turns. With the increased difficulty of slopes came the inevitable falling over, Ralphie claimed the prize for best crash as he somehow managed to leave both skis behind as he flew through the air superman style, however, no one was exempt as everyone crashed multiple times though everyone got up with a smile on their face and there were no serious injuries sustained!

On days 4 and 5 every single group had skied from the top to the bottom and everyone was becoming more and more confident in their ability, the top groups were now showing excellent parallel turns and some were even performing small jumps! We had a great evening bowling on the Thursday evening and the week was finished off with a good dinner at The Panorama Hotel across town before we boarded our coach for the epic journey home.

As always the coach journey began with a session of ‘coachaoke’ in which students and staff had the opportunity to sing their favourite songs through the microphone. The best performances of the week came Aimee, Courtney, Keira and Billy though Mr Kensit’s and Mr Pearce’s voice left an indelible mark on us all!

Coachaoke was followed by our awards ceremony in which the following won prizes:

Best crash: Ralphie

Best outfit: Devon

Best tan lines: Hope

Most improved: Louise

Best skiers: Aimee, Joey and Josh Sn

Worst skier: Miss Khanan

Most Helpful: Josh L

Most effort Joseph

Best attitude: Phoebe

Year 7: Ria

Year 8: Courtney

Year 9: Keira

Year 10: Danae

Year 11: Josh Sm

The students were a credit to the academy and absolutely fantastic in some very trying situations, especially during both 20+ hour coach journeys on which we had no complaining or moaning, they all tried their hardest on the slopes and made enormous progress.

Huge thanks must go to our coach drivers Frank and Dean who were absolutely brilliant throughout as well all the staff who gave up their holidays to help the student shave an amazing trip: Miss Khanan, Ms Lipscombe, Miss Joomun, Miss Thomas, Mr Kensit, Mr Pearce and Mr Bevan.

What an amazing trip, we can’t wait for next year!

T Bevan