On a damp Wednesday in March, at an ungodly time in the morning, an intrepid group of 39 pupils (sorry Fraser!) and six staff set off for Edinburgh and an Easy-Jet flight to Malpensa in Italy.
Their mission was to spend three days in Pila, in the Aosta valley, ski-ing and snowboarding.
For some, this was their first attempt at the sport, for others, more experienced, their first time ski-ing abroad.
A pristine, new Holiday Inn Express provided our spacious and comfortable accommodation, with stunning views of the mountains from our huge picture windows.
Each day, after breakfast at 7.15a.m., we set off on a short coach journey, passed through electronic barriers (no need to even take your ski pass out your pocket!) and boarded the new eight man gondolas which carried us up the mountainside. This was followed by a chairlift ride to our base where we collected boots, boards and skis.
Two hours of ski-ing or boarding tuition followed.
Pupils were allocated to groups according to experience and looked after by tanned, fit Italian instructors.
They quickly had even the novices amongst us ski-ing happily down the slopes.
After two hours, we were back at base camp, hungrily munching our pasta/pizza/toastie/hot dogs!
Then goggles, sunglasses, jackets and gloves were pulled back on as we set off for another two hours of fun and challenge.
At the end of the afternoon lesson, there was the chance to bask in the glorious Italian sunshine, sipping hot chocolate with cream – “Bella!” and soak in the amazing scenery.
Then back down the mountain with just enough time to savour a delicious ice cream at the “Gelateria”, have a shower and a beautifying session (and that was just the boys!) before tucking into a three course meal.
Every evening, entertainment was laid on by Ski Supreme, our excellent tour organisers. Roddy and Mark led us through games of pool; a disco at a local nightclub; ten pin bowling and a short shopping experience in the Old Town followed by a pizza evening. Not a minute wasted!
On our last night we were all awarded (internationally recognised) certificates showing our level of achievement. From beginners like Mrs Hogg to our most advanced skier – Craig Boyle, we had all come a long way in a short time.
Thanks to all the pupils who took part in the trip – you were such good company we would take all of you away again without hesitation!
Thank you also to the staff on the trip – Mrs Macfarlane, Miss Cairns, Mrs. Hogg, Mr. Reidford, Mrs. Turnberry and Mrs MacDonald. Their help, patience and good humour helped make the trip memorable.
Finally, a great big “thank you” to the mastermind and chief organiser, Mrs. Devlin, who put hours of time, effort and worry into ensuring a most successful trip.
It was excellent!
Please can we go back soon?!
Report by Mrs L Hogg