Hollygirt School's Grandvalira Ski Trip
Organising a school ski trip is a funny old thing: it’s hideously chaotic at the start, but then comes a strange period of silence, like a phoney war, until the last week or two before Departure Day, when it is a whirl of final details and ensuring everything – and everyone – is present and correct. Throughout all this time, I was delighted by the support and patience of the Ski Adaptable staff, who were always happy to answer my panic emails and reassure me that all was on track. (Louise, should you be reading this, particular thanks to you.)
And so it was that we were all set to leave for Grandvalira, Andorra, on April Fool’s Day. A relatively short flight to Barcelona later and we were met at the airport by Gregorio, who remained our driver for the week (and was outstanding in his friendliness and his eagerness to meet – exceed – all of our requirements). Three hours later, we arrived at our base for the week, Hotel Euroski, and I was delighted by the overall quality of it (rather superior to the memories I have of the hotels when I went skiing with school in the late Eighties..!). The rooms were of a very high quality, the staff were very friendly and, most importantly (for a hungry teacher after a day’s skiing, at least) the food in the restaurant was superb. It was a buffet offering for breakfast and dinner, and so there was always something for everyone, including the vegetarians, the carnivores and the picky eaters. Superb. On top of this, the hotel boasted a beautiful spa, and so on one of the evenings, the pupils enjoyed a leisurely swim in the pool (though some of them just lounged in the jacuzzi).
“But what of the skiing?” I hear you cry. Well, immediately after room allocation, we ventured down to ski hire, and this was simple and easy, and the guys were very friendly. And so, come the next morning, we hit the slopes right from the off. The range was perfect for a school group, with ample nursery slopes for the beginners, ranging through blues and reds and a number of blacks for the more advanced. The snow could not have been better, despite it being Easter. The sun was shining and there was powder and great conditions. The instructors were superb, and even the absolute beginners were coming down the reds by the end of the week. (I will admit, as party leader, I was a little anxious when I saw all the pupils with their instructors congregating in the jump park on the final afternoon – but all was well that ended well!)
At the end of the day’s skiing, leaving the boots, skis and so on at the store on the mountain was superb, and took away the pain of having to carry equipment around. Really, really helped. Further, lunching on the mountain was also superb, and the quality on offer (and portion sizes!) was outstanding.
The evenings were great fun. Caldea Spa is not to be missed, though I did not have the courage to take the plunge in the Roman baths, opting for the gentle, warm currents in the outdoor pool instead. Ice skating was excellent and well organised, and the bowling (albeit in a strange building that you would simply NEVER guess held a bowling alley!) was a winner. Though I was not a winner…
After five days of great skiing, we packed our bags on the sixth day, and headed back to Barcelona, to spend our last full day there. Again, Ski Adaptable helped so much with this, and made it easy. Staying just off La Rambla (and briefing the pupils to be very wary of pickpockets!), we had a walking tour of the city, including a play on the beach, before souvenir shopping and dinner. The next day, we stopped off, albeit on a rainy Sunday (the tour guide the previous day had said, “It never rains in Barcelona” – she lied…), for a photo opp at La Sagrada Familia, before making our way to Camp Nou, home of Barcelona FC, where we had a stadium tour. The trophy cabinet was something to behold… And all enjoyed lounging in the manager’s pitch-side seat.
Finally, we made our way back to the airport for our journey home after a fantastic week. A quick straw poll of all the attendees said that 100% would go again, and so I am already starting to think about next year…
Deputy Head of Juniors, Hollygirt School, Nottingham
24th April 2018