Bede's Pupils Enjoy Second Ski Trip Of The Year!
ISS Championship Report
By Nick Myrsepp-France, Upper Sixth
Before Christmas, Bede’s Ski Team took part in the Independent School Ski and Snowboard Championships, which took place in the town of Les Deux Alpes in northern French.
The two days that followed our flight to Geneva were for race training in both the Giant Slalom and Slalom disciplines. While several of us were experienced ski racers, lots were completely new to competition so it was good to get the skis back on snow and get used to the gates.
The two disciplines have a very different feel. Giant slalom involves longer sweeping turns between double gates a greater distance apart while slalom is for quick sharp turns, a real test as missing a gate or falling over resulted in disqualification.
The first day of competitive racing was the giant slalom. The team score was made up from the four quickest individual times from the school.
Individually these stand out performers where Max Durdant-Hollamby, Maddy Wallden and Harry Blackman, finishing 32nd, 42nd and 54th respectively while I finished 3rd.
Otto Schlutter put in an impressive performance to come 10th in the Junior Competition in his first ski race and we finished 3rd in the Senior Boys’ Giant Slalom.
The Slalom events followed on the next day, and once again I performed well, finishing 2nd after a video replay.
Max Durdant-Hollamby, Jude Crosby and Ollie Prosper rounded out the team, with Otto Schulter coming 9th in the Junior Competition. Well done to all!
The evenings were for relaxing with bowling, a quiz night and card games all thrown into the mix, but with the week coming to a close everyone was looking forward to the final ski race – a team relay race called the Parallel Slalom.
During this competition, two teams compete side by side and it is the most exciting of the races to watch.
Unfortunately, due to a severe blizzard with temperatures down to -25 degrees and a crash along the course the races were abandoned.
This only slightly dampened the mood as we all got in lots of skiing, had a great time and once more finished 3rd overall out of all the schools in the UK.
Many thanks to Ms Salmon and Mr Muirhead who took the trip. We had a brilliant time!
Ski Trip 2017 Report
By David Leggett, Head of Dorter House
On Saturday 11 February, 50 students from Bede's met Mr Leggett and his team at 2am to begin their journey to Les Deux Alps, France, for the 4th Annual Senior School Ski Trip.
After a smooth journey up to Gatwick, the students piled on to the plane and, after taxiing around for a couple of hours due to icy conditions, made their way to the French Alps.
Les Deux Alps was a spectacular and bustling setting for the weeks skiing, with attractive cafes and gift shops lining the high street on which La Hotel Belle Etoile was situated. Exhausted from a day’s travel and keen to recharge before the demanding week ahead, the group got their skis fitted and then retired for dinner and bed.
The next day saw the students meet their ski instructors for the first time and head off on the slopes to sort the pros from the beginners. Once the ability groups were confirmed, all of the groups headed into the sunny and warm mountain range to commence the lessons proper. That evening, the students returned for dinner before heading to the local bowling alley for a competitive game which saw students mixing and relaxing in their newly formed friendship groups whilst amusing themselves watching the teachers bowl gutter ball after gutter ball!
Day 3 saw more lessons, with the group really getting into the swing of things. The beginner group made it up onto some gentle green slopes higher in the mountain, while the advanced group were already exploring the Snow Park and demonstrating their freestyle skills. Notable falls from Mrs Murphy and Mr Leggett were reviewed on video for much amusement over lunch, and the crisp, bright weather continued as the students honed their skills.
Night-time saw Bede's descend on the ice-rink, having not quite satisfied their thirst for winter sports for that day. Having the rink to themselves, the group were able to let off some steam racing around on their blades before heading back exhausted after a successful day.
Skiing was of course the central focus of the trip, and the students all maximised the opportunities the lessons provided them to develop their technique, but they also found time to enjoy some of the local culture in the evenings. Crepes on Tuesday night made for a delicious precursor to the spectacular ski show, which pitted many of the student’s instructors against a steep slope at night, and demonstrated the exceptional control and skill they had on skis.
An atmospheric firework display rounded off the night in glamorous style. This was matched by a Raclette evening the following night, which put some students out of their comfort zone as they learned to heat and slice the typical French cheese themselves. By the end of the meal, the students were fully embracing the concept of social dining and more new friendships were cemented over melted cheese and sliced meats.
As lessons continued through the week, the ski school instructors challenged to students more and more. Intermediate groups were beginning to tackle short sections of Black runs, beginners were moving on to blues, and the advanced group were heading off-piste in search of quieter and more rugged terrain.
Tiredness was the biggest challenge for many, as control and technique were tested to the limit, but the group remained tight-knit and supportive, helping each other on the slopes to ensure a good time was had by all. Night skiing on Thursday night was an added bonus, as students were given the opportunity to ski with different people and at a pace they were comfortable with.
Finally, the last day of skiing came about, and the students reminisced about the beginning of the week and the progress which was made. A hot and bright Alps morning saw the teachers join forces and ski together as the groups were challenged one more time. Successful navigation of a red run by the two beginner groups was a notable achievement, and some expert 360° jumps from the snowboarding group was also a testament to the development shown across the groups.
As the lessons came to a close and skis were returned, the instructors popped in to the hotel to give out certificates to every student. The certificates were presented on behalf of the French Ski School and ratified each student's specific skill set.
After dinner, it was the teacher's turn to share their prizes for the most improved and most dedicated skiiers of the week. Prizes went to Fraser Vokins, John McIver, Phoebe Dixon, Georgia Myers, Rebekah Morris and Oscar Green.
Another early start on Saturday morning saw the trip come to a close, with students returning to Bede's sun-kissed, worn out and thoroughly satisfied with their week in the mountain sun. Mr Leggett has already begun to look for next year's ski trip destination, which will certainly match, if not too, this weeks successes on the slopes.