APRÈS SKI The Ski Trip, which was to France this year, took place in December. The original plan to leave at 4.30pm was changed due to the forecast for heavy snow in Birmingham and so we left earlier than expected. This turned out to be a good thing as we arrived earlier giving us time to unpack at leisure and enjoy the beautiful scenery that Les Deux Alpes provided. Our base for the week was Chalet d’Aka, which some felt was a little basic, but staying there enabled us to ski at one of the top five resorts in France for a reasonable price. During the week the weather gradually improved as there was less snow and rain falling during the day; visibility levels weren’t brilliant at the start of the week but we had a couple of great weather days later on. In order to prepare us for our first day of skiing we walked down to the ski hire shop and sorted out our skis, boots, poles and helmets. The first day of skiing proved a challenge as we had to carry our skis to the lift rather than getting the bus. Our three instructors, Matteau, Yves and Yvelin, taught us various techniques that could be used whilst skiing such as the snowplough, used to control speed and help you turn at the same time. Another technique was the side slip; this can be used to help you descend steeper slopes at a controlled speed with your skis parallel to each other. There are always crashes and falls and, on this trip, there were a fair few! Even the most experienced skiers crash and, in my group, this mainly happened when we went over bumps at high speeds. As we approached one bump, we were going fast after descending a steep slope. Our instructor led us over the ramp; most landed in control but Kylan fell, bringing me and then Elias down too. Amar came to help us up but then fell over one of Elias’s skis, forcing Amar into very deep snow and hence claiming a fourth victim. Jagjeet also gained a reputation for crashes, claiming Dillon and Elias as innocent victims! Usually, we headed back to the hotel for a hot lunch but, on a couple of days, we dined at a mountain restaurant which provided ginormous servings of food. It was certainly filling and ideal to refuel your body’s energy supply for the afternoon’s skiing. The après-ski activities were extremely entertaining; we had a quiz night, a bowling night and a pizza night. For the quiz we were split into teams of about five and when the scores came in the results were very close. The winners by just one point were Megamind Approved consisting of Param, Dhiren, Shivam, Jarnail and Amar. For bowling there were five lanes and there was one winner from each lane. The winners were Amar, Abdul, Nico, Josh and Kylan. Bowling was fun to watch, especially with Jarnail doing trick shots and getting a ‘no-look’ spare! Before our pizza night at a local pizzeria, we had time to explore the town and spend a few euros in the souvenir shops and crêperies. On our last day of skiing we were on a tight schedule as we had a full day’s skiing and then had to return our equipment, shower and change, finish our packing and eat our evening meal before departure. One group were a little late as there had been some technical difficulties on a chair lift and they were stuck on it for over half an hour in blizzard conditions! When we were all assembled at our hotel, our instructors presented us with booklets according to the skiing level we’d reached. Finally, we left Chalet d’Aka and, although it was nice to be heading home, it was also sad that we wouldn’t be skiing the next day. We loaded the coach and set off, quickly realising that we had left Mr Griffiths behind and running after the coach! We slept for a lot of the way back but enjoyed a full breakfast on the ferry before arriving back at school at just after 2pm. The trip was extremely enjoyable, physically demanding and educational, particularly for the first-time skiers. Although certain things didn’t always run as expected or anticipated, we had a laugh and even managed to improve our French. Let’s hope that future ski trips are just as entertaining and rewarding! Rohan Nath, Year 10 11