On the 24th February 2018 thirteen pupils and four staff embarked on the long journey to the Italian Alps for the annual Ski Residential. This year we were joined by Oakley School, another special needs school in Tunbridge Wells. There were a few tearful goodbyes, from the parents, the pupils had the mountains and the amazing week ahead in their minds. Five of the pupils had been before and were able to assist on the coach, the ferry and on our arrival at Hotel Edelweiss. This was our home for the week under the care of Hector, the hotel manager, who sustained us with delicious and copious amounts of Italian cuisine. We were also met by Sasha, our Interski rep for the week who looked after us off the slopes.
The first day was very busy on the nursery slope with other schools and learners vying for space but our advanced group went straight up the mountain and by day two they were doing blue and red runs (the second hardest routes). Jake Lingham, our skier of the week, was one of these explorers and it’s the only time we have had a first time snow skier on a red run on their second day. The rest of the group remained on the nursery slope for a few days to find their ski feet before venturing up to the higher slopes. Of all the pupils, nine of them ventured to the upper slopes and down blue runs. The other 4 pupils, who at the beginning of the week were practising on one ski and reliant on staff for balance, were skiing short distances independently.
The evening après ski took the form of a disco, Ifield and Oakley owned the dance floor, bowling, an authentic pizza night and a very emotional awards evening. Our ski instructors Nigel, Raymond and Chris gave out the skiing awards and couldn’t fault the behaviour, determination and courage our pupils showed and want to work with them again next year. A real testament to the school, the parents and of course the pupils.
A huge thank you must also go to Susan Scott, Scott Cassingham and Kirsty Leydon without whom the trip would not have been such a resounding success.