Ski Trip to La Plagne

The Elstree Ski Trip 2023 to La Plagne was a huge success.  34 pupils and 5 staff headed to France for a week of skiing, hot chocolates, snake gliss and much more! The following is the daily summary that was uploaded to Tripcast for the parents to see during the week:

Day 1

The Elstree Ski Trip 2023 started at 8pm on Friday when everyone was dropped off at school. After quickly searching out their beds and a briefing from Mr Williams, everyone tried (some harder than others!) to get a few hours of sleep before boarding the bus at 12:30am. Some managed to sleep a bit as we drove towards Birmingham whilst others preferred to tell jokes and stories with much laughter and excitement!

We were fast-tracked through check-in and quickly went through passport control with only a few extra x-rays, swabs and scans.

After an hour or so exploring the shops at the airport, we boarded the plane and it was a much quieter trip. Most people were sound asleep before take off so the 45 minute delay went unnoticed. The landing into France was quite turbulent causing a few worried looks amongst the Elstree bunch. The pilot hit the run way hard shaking the last few bits of sleep out of everyone – a taster of some adrenaline we will certainly experience this week!

We disembarked and slowly moved through Les Douanes where we all tried to make the French security smile with our conversational French. Through security we had the joy of reuniting with our bags and bumping into another Elstree family who were also off skiing.

On to our bus where we met our driver who spoke fantastic Spanish and French but no English. Luckily Mrs Burles, though admittedly rusty, is a whizz at French and managed to get us off to a good start. Off through the French countryside, we drove for about an hour before pulling into a small town for lunch. A very confusing conversation took place between Mrs Burles and the bus driver as we wanted to stay for a longer lunch than had been booked. Some settled on McDonalds whilst others went for a more traditional baguette, which was followed with some amazing french pastries. 

Back on to the bus and after 50 minutes of very windy roads we made it to our hotel. We unpacked our bags, and after some energetic games of “Heads & Tails” and “Simon Says”, and some lessons in various circus skills we went off for a quick march up the hill for some fresh air and to hurl a few snowballs. We stopped at a piste-side restaurant for hot chocolates before heading back to the hotel to collect our skis and boots.

After some down-time, we had a delicious supper before settling in our rooms ready for an exciting day ahead of us tomorrow. Everyone cannot wait to get out on the slopes, especially with the promise of some fresh powder overnight. The main downside is the lack of wifi reception throughout the hotel so please don’t worry if you haven’t had a call you might have been expecting. Everyone is in good spirits and raring to go! A demain et bon nuit!

Day 2

Everybody had a sleep in until 8am despite a little confusion with the time change! Down to breakfast at 8:30 where we had an amazing buffet with everything from sweet treats to bacon. We then had great fun kitting up into ski gear and figuring out how ski boots work before heading out on to the slopes.

The beginners stayed near the hotel with Mr Williams and Mrs Payne while the more confident headed down the mountain with the other teachers…. Though this did end up with Miss Boyd hiking back up the slope to help someone….. what a work out! Everyone had a great morning finding their ski legs before diving in and out of the continuous falling snow for a wonderful lunch and a chance to dry off.

After a quick turnaround, we split into groups to find the relevant ski instructor. With everyone heading onto different pistes, the challenge was on for learning, improving and perfecting ski techniques. With near white-out conditions, all the groups did brilliantly. They had great fun with Pascale, Chocolat and Matthieu who were the ski instructors this afternoon. The advanced group out-skied Mrs Burles and Mr Smith who after a couple of wipe outs were dismissed and they made their way to watch over the beginners. Despite one closed lift everyone made it back to the hotel by 5 pm where they had great fun splashing around in the pool before getting warm and dry.

It was then off to a lovely dinner and afterwards everyone was allowed to have time on their phones to call home before heading to bed. (NB wifi reception still very intermittent so please don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear from your child/children). Despite thick powder snow and the occasional white out everyone did amazingly well and had a really fantastic day! Looking forward to tomorrow!

Teachers’ favourite quotes from the day!

“Wow the gravity is really heavy up here” (while jumping up and down in skis)

While looking in the mirror in full ski kit – “you know what, I look really good”

“Mr Smith, is your back okay because you fell down a lot”

Teacher- “is that one of ours” … reply “no they have a beard”

Miss Boyd taking photos of everyone skiing raises camera to take photo – realises they aren’t an Elstree student- “oh wait, you don’t belong to me”

Day 3

Slightly earlier start than yesterday morning with everyone up at 7:30 for breakfast. It was then time for our group meeting and before long everyone was kitting up ready for a morning on the mountain – huge excitement as more snow had fallen overnight. The beginners caught the shuttle bus down to the bottom of the mountain with Mrs Payne and Miss Boyd and everyone else caught the gondola up to the top of the mountain where they had a good chance to explore. Meanwhile the beginners worked on their snow ploughs and turning technique.

It was then back to the hotel for lunch and everyone was in high spirits and excited for their afternoon lessons. At 1:15 everyone kitted up again and headed out to meet the instructors for today – Pascal with the beginners, Chocolat with the intermediates and Arthur with the advanced. Everyone had a fantastic afternoon doing jumps, whizzing down reds and the beginners where particularly proud of themselves as they managed to ski all the way down the mountain back to the hotel twice. The stop at the creperie for a celebratory hot chocolate was also a high point!

It was then back to the hotel for some relaxing down-time, swimming and chatting with some of the pupils from the other schools staying in the hotel before supper.

A great day all round and everyone is very excited to see how much snow falls overnight!?

Day 4

Up again at 7:30am and off for another fantastic breakfast before having a group meeting and checking rooms were all tidy. It was then skis on and for the first time the beginners were able to ski all the way down to the Gondola instead of taking the shuttle bus. We split up into our groups with Advanced with Mr Williams and Mr Smith, Intermediate with Mrs Burles and Beginners with Miss Boyd and Mrs Payne.

Everyone had a fantastic morning exploring the mountain. The weather was stunning and the snow was perfect – many children could be heard shouting this is the best day ever! The groups stopped in different places for a treat (soda and a cookie) before zooming back down the mountain for lunch!

A quick lunch then back outside into the beautiful weather to play on the slope outside the hotel before meeting up with the instructors and heading off for their afternoon lessons – they all had great fun exploring new runs learning new skills and getting a fantastic goggle tan. The Advanced group then sped down the mountain so they could do snake-gliss while the other two groups had pancakes at the hotel – they then lay in wait and threw snowballs at the snake-gliss group as they whizzed past. There was time for a swim and a chance to chill in their rooms before dinner and then it was device time and bed!

All tired out after a full day skiing in the perfect conditions.

Funny quotes from the day!

Student A to Student B “stop going off piste because you always fall over”
Student A then goes off piste and promptly falls over.

Teacher- “my dog might have puppies”
Student “oh cool, is it a male or female dog”

Student “ why does everyone give me weird looks when I apologise to them in French”
Teacher “what have you been saying?”
Student “décor”

Funny moments from the day

One of the students wanted to by a drink for everyone in the group before realising how much a drink cost and how many were in the group.

Students eating saucisson like a banana.

Miss Boyd skied all the way down a red run and was feeling very confident only to slip and fall over in the middle of the supermarket

“Sir sir sir I have made friends with 9 French people”

Beginners accidentally following Mr Williams down the end of a blue and all falling over.

Student falling over into deep powder while trying to explain where the deep powder was for good skiing.

Student just missed wiping out Mr Williams only to ski into the ski cannon padding (a softer collision than Mr Williams).

Day 5

Up at 7:30am again and into breakfast by 8 then dorm checks, corridor meeting and out on to the slopes by 9. We have quite a nice morning routine going! The Beginners adventured on to new slopes with Miss Boyd and Mrs Payne and did fantastically well! They have come on so well and really got some pace going on their ski runs with big smiles all round. The others went off up the mountain to the fun slope where they had a chance to practise tricks, do jumps and work on their carving, what fun! This was followed by a drink and a birthday treat for everyone from Lachie! It was then back to the hotel for lunch before meeting with the instructors for their afternoon lessons, where they continued to learn more skills and new slopes. The beginners even got to go down a red – huge excitement!

The Beginner group then whizzed down the mountain to meet the snake-gliss guide where they had great fun sliding down the mountain and were bombarded with snow balls from the other two groups as they came past the hotel.

There was then time to relax – snowball fights, games in the pool and balloon catch in the corridor! Dinner at 7pm where everyone OD’d on profiteroles and chocolate sauce before calling home and heading to bed…another brilliant day.

Funny quotes from today

Teacher “how about some vegetables”
Student “how about nooooooooo”

Teacher handing out toilet paper to rooms
Student “what’s this for?”

Student holding hands together “if this is the size of my brain it’s really tiny”

Student with skis on feet out on the slope “what are we doing?”

Miss Boyd out and about in her Squirrel onesie for dress up day… random stranger comes up to her “why on earth are you wearing that?”

Day 6

The run down to the gondola was interesting as the snow is now a bit slushy but everyone made it down safely. Up at the top, the three groups headed off to explore the mountains. The Beginners, Miss Boyd and Mrs Payne headed up a new run and had great fun whizzing down the slopes. Then it was time for a hot chocolate break with a fantastic view. The Intermediates headed across to the tunnel run with Mr Smith and Mrs Burles and had a great time zooming down the tunnel accompanied by music and party lights. They had a hot chocolate at the infamous La Bergerie but sadly the DJ and dancers were nowhere to be seen! The Advanced group went with Mr Williams and had a great time zooming through the mountains doing jumps and tricks when ever they got the chance!

It was then back to the hotel for lunch and a breather before heading back out with the instructors. Everyone has come on so well with their skiing and it is so good seeing what new skills they have learnt during the week.

The Beginners and the Advanced group then headed back to the hotel for a swim while the Intermediates headed back up the mountain for Snake Gliss which was great fun. Much to everyone’s delight the first to fall off was Miss Boyd!

Back to the hotel at 6pm for a quiz followed by supper and a game of charades! After the chance to phone home, some start packing before bed – another great day!

Funny quotes from the day!

Student making strange noises
Teacher “what are you doing”
Student “pretending to be a seal to give me energy for the day”

Student A and B couldn’t figure out whose snow boots were in the bucket for Snake Gliss- the apparent solution- each wear one snow boot and wear one ski boot!

Student “why is my phone not charging”
Teacher “umm it’s not plugged into the wall”

Day 7

The last morning was slightly different in that the weather wasn’t that enticing for skiing – blizzard conditions with some thunder and lighting, high winds and rain – but a small group braved it up the gondola to explore what was open.  We had a few fun runs before heading back for lunch to join those that had decided to relax in the hotel and go swimming.

After lunch, everyone headed to their instructors for their last lesson of the week.  Soon after arriving at the top of the gondola, we were told that all the lifts in the resort were closing due to the weather.  Our instructors decided to take all three groups to the nursery slope and set up a slalom and jumps. There was much amusement as everyone tried to out-ski each other on the slalom and get the most air on the jump.

On returning to the hotel, the final packing was completed before heading to supper and the Awards Ceremony:

The Awards Ceremony

On the last evening, Mr Williams handed out an award to each ski tripper, ranging from best chairlift banter to ski trip hero.  There was much laughter and reminiscing over the fun that everyone had had over the week.  The Awards given were as follows:

Jack H – Lionheart
Gabriel – Always smiling
Lachie – Bouncy ball
Wilf – Big air
Willem – Social butterfly
James – Energiser bunny

Tom U – Mini chair lift banter 

Seb – Chair lift banter

Harry A – Slope yoda
Henry – Slope wizard
Arthur – 007
Caspar – Hang time
Harry G – Mr Adventure
Jack L – Improved confidence
Max – Mr cool, calm and collected
George – Powder puff (off piste)
Louis – Tough cookie
Eva – Bundle of Joy
Ethan – Mr Confidence
Kate – Never gives up
Sophie – Queen of control
Ollie I – Speed demon
Oli D – Mini snow patrol hero
Fergus – Snow patrol hero

William – Ski trip Dad
Mofe – Cheshire Cat
Alfie H-S – 24/7 action man
Lawrence – Chief bomber

Jonty – Best fancy dress 

Josh – Most improved skier beginner

Jacob – Most improved skier intermediate 

Tom S – Most improved skier advanced 

Alfie B – Mini ski trip hero

Oscar – Ski trip hero

 

Feedback from the children

Oscar (Yr 8): I loved skiing with my friends and doing the snake gliss.

Oli (Yr 6): I liked falling over and going into the snow when skiing.

Jack (Yr 6): I loved watching Oli fall over and I had so much fun with my friends. I was a bit nervous about being away from hime at the start but it was easier than I thought and it was all worth it. I would definitely go again next year!

William (Yr 8): it was one of my best holidays ever. Skiing is harder than it looks!

Alfie (Yr 6): It was really fun going skiing with my friends, the best bit was going to the top of the mountain where it was snowing. Also the snake gliss was amazing!

Jack L (Yr 7):  I loved the second day when it was powdery so you get to go faster.

Harry A (Yr 7): The bosh (good!) chairlift banter was one of my favourite bits.

Jacob (Yr 7): I loved everything about the trip and cannot wait to go again.

Seb (Yr 8): The funniest bit was when Gabriel crashed in powder, one ski came off, Jonty (ski patrol) took it and Gabriel roly-poly’d down the mountain to get out!

Jonty (Yr 6): I liked the jumps and being ski patrol at the back to help anyone that fell over.

Gabriel (Yr 8): It was a really fun trip and went by so quickly.

Harry A (Yr 7): It was really funny when Duffers two-footed Miss Boyd and she fell over but luckily she was ok.

Tom (Yr 7):  Sleep was short but the days were long  and fun!

Kate (Yr 7) – It was really great fun skiing with my friends.

Sophie (Yr 7): It was a great first experience skiing – I’m definitely better than my brothers!

Ethan (Yr 7): It was a great first experience on the slopes

Eva (Yr 6): I was really pleased with my skiing at the end because it was my first time – it was really fun.

Willem (Yr 6) – It was really fun skiing and going on little jumps and learning how to turn properly.

Tom S (Yr 8) – It was really fun to ski with my friends and it was funny when there were wipe outs! There was a  good sense of competitiveness in the advanced group.

James (Yr 6) – Mr Smith said some funny things and I loved the big cookies in Bar 360. I also really enjoyed the snake gliss especially going down the red and blue runs!

Laurence (Yr 8): I loved having snowball fights after snake gliss and drinking hot chocolate in a thunderstorm at the top of the mountain was awesome.

 

A huge thank you to Mr Williams for leading the trip and to Mr Smith, Mrs Payne, Miss Boyd and Mrs Burles for their help in making the trip such a great week for everyone. Here’s to next year!