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Posted on April 1st 2017
Ski Trip 2017 - Daily Reports and Pictures
And finally, thank you...
Now the trip is over, I would like to start by thanking the parents and carers for paying to send your son/daughter/ward on the snowsports trip. It was a big commitment to raise the funds and showed a trust in our school systems to send your loved ones away with us for the week.
Please engage in conversations about the trip. Show them the reports on the website (which they have not seen yet). Every student will have lots of stories to share about the journey, the environment, the social groups, activities and of course their skiing or snowboarding experiences. I hope they have all thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I would take each and everyone of them away again without a doubt. We had no behaviour problems, no phone calls home, no complaints. Everything was positive - we received lots of positive praise.
The Ski Company staff were very fond of our group and enjoyed the different personalities we had. The ski instructors were amazed with our determination to achieve and the overall progress we made as group. The coach drivers said we were the most pleasant group they have ever transported.
This trip would not have run so well without a fantastic staff team. Mr May, Mr Matthews, Mr Belcher, Miss Richardson and Mrs Ives worked tirelessly to ensure every student in our care was supported to have the best time possible. They were the first up in the morning and the last to bed at night. They were on duty all the time making sure students ate, rehydrated, applied suncream, engaged with activities - they had very little down time. They also left their loved ones behind to support yours. Together, they made the trip what it was and allowed everyone to do so well. I want to thank them all publicly as I'm proud of their efforts.
Until the next one, thank you and goodbye.
Kind regards, Mr Connolly
Day Six - Friday
Last night was the disco. Harris Boys and Invictus took over the dance floor. There was the usual group dance to Whip Nae Nae! Everyone was then in bed and shattered after an action packed day.
We awoke this morning to beautiful sunshine scenic views of the mountains. It's an environment that has given our students an appreciation of what's outside of London and I hope it inspires them to get out and explore the world in time.
We had a late breakfast. And then a roller disco! There was some old school classic tunes, lots of tumbles and we even had the staff out! It was a fun activity which everyone embraced.
After an hour of skating the students packed up their rooms and got ready for the afternoon BBQ. The sun, setting and relaxed vibe meant the we could all enjoy our lunch while reminiscing about th trip. The students were all socialising, playing twister and eating the amazing food before we depart back to England.
We had our final rewards ceremony, where we rewarded all our students for what we thought was special about them during the week. The rewards were as follows:
- Speed demon - Jamie B
- Best parallel turns - Georgie
- Best S turn - Alex B
- Best 180 - Cai M
- Most improved boarder - Tyrese WG
- Best dancer - Jackson
- Gentleman - Shay
- Best snowplough - Dom
- Best dressed boy - Isaiah
- Romeo award - Ben B
- Harris Boys' legend - Brandon V
- Best skier - Nico
- Best tan lines - Aaron P
- Best snowboarder - Tyreece R
- Most determination - Atay
Each Invictus student also received a personalised reward/certificate from Miss Richardson. However, I didn't have time to make a note of them before they were given out so Invictus parents will have to wait until tomorrow morning for an update. Apologies.
We are now boarding the coach for our journey home. We are scheduled to arrive back to Harris Boys' Academy at 10.45! Please see my previous email for more details.
Day Five - Thursday
Team pic of our incredible snowsports group coming towards the end of their amazing Alps adventure.
Today was our last day on the slopes so we were up bright and early and headed to Les Crosets. The students were full of confidence after yesterday's session and keen to impress. Here is an update of how our groups got on today.
Snowboarders: this group has grown in confidence so much. In all my years of ski trips I have never seen a snowboard group achieve what this group have. They spent the whole day on the red slopes of Les Crosets, performing twists, turns and jumps. All with incredible control and style. They looked like pro boarders as they come down the mountain!
Beginner ski group: Mr May bumped into our beginners group as they came speeding past him down a blue run. This group have taken on incredible control and style in their skiing. They are all so confident on blue runs as they snowplough down following the line of their instructor. It is hard to believe that four days ago they were on the nursery slope falling over!
Intermediate ski group: we bumped into this group, who very impressively had built up enough confidence and had the technique to come out of Les Crosets and ski down to Avoriaz. This is incredible progression for our intermediate group. I think Mr Belcher was a bit shocked when he was out for a leisurely ski and the group came speeding past him!
Expert ski group: An incredible group. Their instructor said it was the best group he has taught their season. I remember seeing them at the beginning of the week taking on blue runs and the odd red run. They now steam through the red slopes with speed as they parallel turn. This group has seen some of the most amazing sights in the Port de Soliel as they have been almost everywhere. Not quite ready for the famous Swiss Wall back run......maybe next year?
We finished on the slopes with a presentation of certificates led by the ski school (see pic above). It was a fitting end to the lessons and the students got to thank their instructors personally for the hard work they have put in with them this week.
We then went to the thermal baths to relax. This was so well earned and I cannot describe how amazing it is. We were in the outdoor pools and jacuzzi, looking up at the beautiful Alps. It was pure relaxation after an exhausting week of snowsports. The pools were heated and everyone was gutted when we had to leave!
No awards ceremony tonight, because we have the disco! The students are currently getting ready for this and they are buzzing. We will have a big awards ceremony tomorrow as we are set for our afternoon BBQ before we depart back for England.
Mr Connolly, Director of Sport
Three of our superb snowboarders. There's no stopping them!
Day Four - Wednesday
Last night we gave the students some down time in the evening. That meant that some students went to the sports hall for some dodgeball, others played the piano and some more played pool. It was a really nice and relaxed atmosphere as our students got to know the students from other schools and socialise with each other.
We awoke this morning and took the journey to our new ski resort - Les Crosets. This is slightly higher up the mountain and the snow was fantastic on arrival! Our groups are so spread out by now, but as usual I will try to bring you up to speed with how our students are getting on.
Snowboarders - this was one of the most fantastic sites of the day. Due to the determination of our snowboarders throughout the week and the high standard of teaching from instructors, we went to see our snowboard group on the nursery slope - only to see them coming down a red slope! The students were absolutely buzzing as were the staff. The control and speed the students were showing was absolutely outstanding. The group were absolutely buzzing when they got back.
Beginner skiers - we sent Mr May out to see our beginner skiers this afternoon on the nursery slope, only to find out that they had also graduated! The students were flying down the blue slopes of our resort, all students comfortable with their snow ploughs and some also showing us that they can parallel turn. This group has worked so hard, they spent the first few days with their face in the snow and they are now flying down the runs in our resort!
Intermediate skiers - this group were straight up the mountain today to tackle the red run. A little bit sheepish at first you saw their confidence grow as they absolutely smashed the run out. You could see our students perfecting their parallel turns as they glided down with confidence - I wonder if this group will conquer a black run tomorrow?
Experienced skier - this group were not at our resort today. They have actually progressed so well that they are now flying over all our resorts in Port de Soleil. Their instructor smiles with admiration at his group. We kept in contact with the instructor and were informed that the group had actually managed to cross the Swiss border and ski in both France and Switzerland! Apparently they looked over the steepest black run in Europe, but unfortunately it was closed, I wonder if in years to come they will be good enough and brave enough to attempt it!
Tomorrow we have our last morning and afternoon of skiing in the resort. We then have the luxury of attending a thermal spa. Apparently it is absolutely stunning and will definitely be a well-deserved rest after our 5 days of skiing.
As usual we have rewarded the students that we think have shown something exceptional during the day, the rewards are as follows:
Ski instructor award - Isiah
Snowboard instructor award - Tyanne
Most improved skier - Ben B
Most improved boarder - Atay
Excellent attitude - Mason
Excellent resilience - Debbie
Mr Motivator - Rhys
Legend of the day - Shay
Lots more pictures in the gallery at the bottom of the page.
Day Three - Tuesday
Our evening activity yesterday was indoor climbing. Unfortunately, due to the wifi out here, I was unable to bring you the pictures but it was a great scene to see our boys and girls challenging themselves at heights. After some competitions we could not come up with a clear winner, but everyone did really well and pushed themselves to their limits.
We awoke this morning to a slightly more cloudy outlook for the day and after a eating breakfast we were back on the coaches for our final day of snowsports at Pres les Joux. We joined our groups on the mountain … Here is some information on how they are getting on:
Snowboarders; all of our beginner snowboarders are working incredibly hard. They are confidently using the magic carpet to get themselves up to the top of the beginner slope. Our boarders are becoming confident with their boards, some still end up face first in the snow, but they are all performing turns and jumps, some can even produce a 180 degree jump, quite an achievement after 3 days. The group are ready to get on the chair lifts tomorrow and true the green slopes for the first time!
Beginner skiers - all of our beginners are so confident! They are capable of using the magic carpet to get themselves to the top of the beginner slope and are comfortably travelling down, using the snow plough technique to turn and stop. They all fall occasionally, but show an excellent attitude and resilience to pick themselves back up. They are now ready to move on and challenge themselves higher up the mountain and will join the beginner snowboarders on the green slopes.
Intermediate skiers - these are our skiers that had a small amount of experience and this group is absolutely flying. We bumped into them today halfway up the mountain as they made their way up the button lift and took on a beautiful blue run. They are now using parallel turns as they glide through the snow. We even saw the group practicing some backwards skiing and some jumps during their run - definitely more brave than me!
Advanced skiers - the advanced group have shown an unbelievable amount of progression. If you could see them come flying down the mountain you would be surprised to see the speed, control and lovely technique they use. These skiers are comfortable on the red runs in our resort and I have no doubt they will be pushed to their limits tomorrow and try a black run. This will be challenging, but I am sure our students can achieve this under the expert instruction.
Tomorrow we move into Les Crosets, our new resort for us that is full of snow and more challenging runs for our students. We are told that this setting in the French Alps is absolutely stunning and we will bring you photos and of course updates of our day.
As usual we have had our rewards ceremony and the awards were as follows:
Instructor snowboard award - Mina P
Instructor ski award - Dom JK
Most improved snowboarder - Cai M
Most improved skiier - Rizwan C
Attitude - Aaron P
Resilience - Shannon M
Legend of the day - Brandon V
Rhys (Invictus) skiing BACKWARDS!!! (He is meant to be) #Greatskills
Jessica (Invictus) showing us how to SNOWPLOUGH. #topattitude
Brandon looking happy to be moved up a group. #Progressssssssssssss!
Day Two - Monday
Last night saw the very competitive dodgeball tournament that took place in a very friendly atmosphere amongst some of our students and students from the surrounding school. The standard of play was high but it was a team made up of Harris Boys' Year 10 students that comfortably won the tournament. After that, students went to bed for a well-earned night’s sleep. The students have shown excellent behaviour in their rooms and night time has gone by with no trouble.
We awoke early this morning to amazing sunrise, the image below shows how incredible the Swiss Alps looked. Such a nice view for students and staff to admire in the morning.
We were then on the coach back to Pre Le Joux, the stunning atmosphere yet again taking your breath away. There are ten different groups so you could see Harris Boys' and Harris Invictus students all over the mountain. Our expert skiers were today at the top of the mountain. You can see the excitement of our students as they progress in their learning of skiing, its almost like we have a different set of students compared to yesterday! We bumped into a few of our groups throughout the day and took some photos which are all below.
After the bus ride home we had a delicious maccaroni and cheese for dinner and the students will be undertaking wall climbing tonight. I cannot express enough how well behaved the students have been from both academies. They are applying themselves fully and the enjoyment levels on the trip are so high. They have been a credit to Harris Boys' and Harris Invictus respectively thus far.
As usual we had our rewards evening tonight for those students we felt had gone above and beyond, the awards were as follows:
- Excellent attitude – Kaiya P
- Excellent resilience – Alex B
- Snowboard instructor award – Tyrese W-G
- Ski instructor award – TJ D
- Legend of the day – Otega O
Kind regards and apologies for the delay (the wifi is almost non existent).
Director of Sport
Day One - Sunday
We arrived on Saturday afternoon following our 19.5 hour after journey from East Dulwich to Torgon. All students behaved perfectly on the way over with everyone getting a good night’s sleep. We even had time for a quick game of football at a service station while waiting to board our ferry.
Our drive through France and then the climb up the Swiss Alps was beautiful and the students spent a few hours looking out of the window at the stunning scenery. Mr May even managed to get an artistic snap shot of a local church near our accommodation.
After an afternoon of ski fitting, we had our first group meal at dinner (spag bowl), before setting up our snowsports groups for the next day and turning in for an early night.
Due to the lack of snow in our resort resulting in piste closure we were transported by coach to another local piste with the most amazing beginners slopes in the French Alps - Pre La Joux. We arrived to fresh white snow everywhere and our groups were off on an action packed day with their instructors.
See some photos below of the wonderful setting we were skiing in today. We have students of varying ability groups but every single student was out on the slopes for five hours with their instructors working very hard and progressing quickly. You can see the snowboarders and ski students improving every minute they are out there. We are hoping by Tuesday to move on to another beautiful resort where we can continue to challenge all the students with the amazing runs the Swiss and French Alps have to offer us.
The teachers dropped in on all the groups today. Our students were at varying heights with the beginners on the nursery slopes learning the basics, the intermediates on the green and blue runs mastering their skills and the advanced group taking the chair lifts right to the top of the mountain! With the effort and application observed today I am confident all students will make it high up the mountain where they will be blown away by the views and skiing conditions on offer.
Miss Richardson even included a picture of Leanne skiing in her lesson.
This evening, reenergised with dinner and rehydrated by drinking lots of water, te students are going to enjoy an evening activity of dodgeballs - photos of that to come tomorrow.
Every day we will reward our students who we believe have excelled in a particular area. These awards can be decided by staff or instructors. The awards tonight went as follows:
Snowboard instructor award - Tyreece R
Ski instructor award - Jemima C
Best attitude - Jamie B
Resilience - Connor M
Legend of the day - Dorell A
Director of Sport
Good afternoon all,
We arrived in our resort at 14.00 local time today and have been busy getting our skis and snowboards fitted this afternoon. The students are now freshening up in their rooms and unpacking before our evening meal. This is where each evening we'll post a full report of the day, including pictures.
Director of Sport