Hazelwood Ski Trip
The following blog was written by Tom Lloyd from Hazelwood School about their recent ski trip to Passo Tonale, Italy in April 2015.
Having selected extremely (and unusually so!) sociable hours to travel I was able to enjoy a lovely coffee as I greeted the group at Gatwick airport. The Easyjet staff were superb at check-in and quite possibly the quickest I have experienced to date - so far so good.
The flight to Milan is only a short hop across Europe which is always a boost when considering the transfer times. Although we were slightly delayed our coach driver was ready and waiting for us and off we set towards the mountains. As the mountains began to appear so did the calls of "are we there yet?" but the answer was no because we were twisting and turning our way to the 1883m of Passo Tonale. With a hearty meal of fine Italian food, the children all tucked up in bed and snow falling outside we couldn't have asked for a smoother start to the trip!
Following a jam packed breakfast of cereal, pastries and lots of other tasty treats we prepared for the melee that is the ski fit! Having made a note of the groups height, weight and shoe size the team in the shop quite literally flew through the fitting and everyone was ready to hit the slopes in no time at all. With skis at the ready and plenty of eager smiles the group were met by their instructors for the week. The infamous Italian charm and warmth was evident from the start and off they went! After a couple of runs on the beginners slopes the instructors were happy with their groups and they took them off for their first morning. We the staff split with each group and couldn't have been happier with how everything went. Following lunch we were lucky to enjoy even more fresh powder as the snow was still falling from last night - the altitude was certainly on our side here!
After a few runs at the end of the day the group were spent - the ski legs a little wobbly after a year off for some however nothing a hot chocolate couldn't fix!
Having misunderstood the location of our ski deposit the group trudged up to the lifts to meet the instructors (fortunately it was only 400m away). Clear blue skies above and beautifully groomed runs ahead the group were raring to go. Not content with only fun and games on the slopes we went snow tubing after our last run and had a barrel of laughs as the group went slipping and sliding down the runs. Age barriers went out of the window as some rather hopeful pupils challenged the staff to a race....there's no need to state the outcome *insert slight victory smugness here*
The team at the hotel were catering to every need and following yet another wonderful breakfast we set off for another glorious morning on the slopes - this time we had stored our skis right next to the lift so we all enjoyed a leisurely stroll up the road. By day 3 the reenactments of Bambi on ice were long gone and everyone was happily making their way down the slopes. Our instructors were taking great care of the group; from the basics with the beginners to the little tips to improve the advanced groups carving everyone was making great progress already. Post ski our rep Silvia (local lady and absolute superstar!) had arranged for us to go for a dip in the local pool down in Ponte de Legno. This was a great way for the group to loosen off the sore legs and have a splash around; along with the compulsory race and synchronized swimming competition! Back at base we enjoyed a well-earned meal and an evening of cards and games.
Easter was very clearly here now as we began to feel the sun shining down - plenty of sun-cream and lip balm for the group to avoid the dreaded Panda eyes! The sun was working it's magic and those crunchy corduroy strips were crumbling effortlessly underneath the skis making even myself feel like a young Bode Miller swooshing down the slopes. By the afternoon the snow was beginning to melt and a bumpy afternoon was looking likely but the instructors had something up their sleeve. A quick blue down the valley took us to the lift that made its way to the glacier. Too icy in the mornings this was an afternoon treat for us all; the snow was perfectly preserved and it was as if we were skiing in the height of the season! From the wide reds to the perfect tuck-and-go blues we made our way to a delightful black run (you can't often say that!). The instructors lines were simple to follow and made the run feel effortless. The ooh's and ahh's from the children in the bubble ride back to town and the numerous requests of "can we do that again!" were certainly worth the venture over. Having found the local Spar shop the children stocked up (the shop had to stock up after our visit too!) ready for a chilled movie night; slippers on, hot chocolate at the ready...perfect!
Our penultimate day on the slopes and the instructors were still able to find fresh lines for the groups to create on and off piste, thus keeping all in check and ensuring their enjoyment. The more adventurous took on the snow park which provided many whoop's and whooaaah's for the passers-by in the lift above. The sunshine was really turning on now and meant the mornings fresh runs were now a little slushy. This did not deter the group however and after a cheeky afternoon drink on the mountainside we were ready for a few more runs before dinner. It was time to get quizzical this evening with the teams battling it out for the top prize of some glorious Milka chocolate bars.
It's slalom time! With the gates positioned all of the groups were looking forward to carving their way down the mountain...some managed to carve their own path in and out and even through the gates - anything to win!!!! By popular demand another trip over to the glacier was on the cards for the afternoon and made all the more poignant by the fact that all groups were taking on the black runs at the same time - a wonderful display of how far they had all come since the start of the week.
The ski shop handled our returns as quickly as they had set us up and we were back at the hotel packing (or stuffing) ready for the journey back home. Another visit to the Spar to stock up on goodies and presents followed by an evening of movie, cards and games.
Continuing the theme of leisurely transfer times the team enjoyed a very civilized departure before making our way back down the mountain towards Milan. As the children gossiped about this, that and the other, the staff enjoyed the Italian countryside in Spring bloom - a little moment of tranquility in a rather busy week.
Once again the Easyjet staff took great care of the group and got us back right on schedule to the crowd of parents awaiting their children at arrivals. Five minutes later they were all gone! I picked up a well-earned coffee for the ride home and the thoughts about next years trip soon followed!
If you are interested in organising a school ski trip to Passo Tonale in Italy please contact Ski Adaptable today to start organising your school ski trip to Italy