On Saturday 25th February 2023, at 2pm, the coach departed from the front of school to cheers from the parents wishing their children well on their travels to the Aosta Valley in Italy. After making good time on the drive to Dover we boarded the ferry for the 11.35pm crossing which was a little choppy but not too bad. Driving through the night, while the children and staff were sleeping, we awoke in France where we had breakfast of croissants and juice at the Macon services, onwards to Italy found us driving first through Courmayeur to the first sights of snow.

The first stop was Interski for a ski fit and to meet Maebh our amazing rep. Pupils and staff to collected their skis, boots, helmets and found their lockers, they tried all their equipment on to ensure it fit. Then it was on to the Hotel St Nicolas. Roberto, the hotelier, was fantastic and went out of his way to welcome our pupils and ensure all dietary requirements were met.

Throughout the trip, nominations for the hats - helmet liners with an array of interesting characters attached - were suggested by pupils. Mrs McLean did a round up each evening and five pupils were awarded them to be worn for the following day. As the days went by, more nominations were made and all pupils fully embraced the fun side of our tradition. This year Mr O'Leary and Mrs McLean found themselves in the butterfly hat! The unicorn onesie also made a reoccurrence, worn very well by Jack and Hannah towards the end of the week.

Après-ski was also thoroughly enjoyed by all pupils, over the course of their stay they took part in bowling, a pizza night, karaoke and the presentation evening. This year, there wasn't a disco but karaoke instead. It was a great hit and included a Grease medley from the staff team and 'Shine Jesus Shine' from the girls. In addition, pupils had the opportunity to have a walk into Pila where they ate gelato and shopped in the Pila high street shops, purchasing souvenirs for themselves and family members. They also took a trip to the supermarket to stock up on snacks for the journey home.

Skiing was of course the main activity, groups of varying abilities had five hours of tuition each day between 9am-4pm. Lorenzo was a big hit with our girls and created a perfect team, taking them from total beginners to a team who glided around the mountain in a perfect s shape. Jakub instructed the L3 pupils having a fabulous time in the snow park, Daniel gaining the most height off one of the features. Tom was fantastic with our two L4/5 girls who rocked the black run named 'The Wall' in what really was perfect powder conditions, going from being scared at the top of the first run to wanting to go again and again. Jean-Claude and Nicole took the other beginners demonstrating exceptional drills, all being caught on film by Mrs McLean who will produce a video for pupils to share and keep.

This really was a dream trip, thoroughly enjoyed by all of the pupils. It has enabled them to gain experiences and skills that they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do and many have said that they will definitely be going again in the future. Two of the year 11 girls asked if they could come along as volunteers next year and Mrs McLean has received an overwhelming number of thank you emails from very happy children and parents.

Now to start bringing together next year’s trip!

Take a look at the ATS Ski Trip on Twitter to view more videos and photographs.

Mrs H McLean

Head of ICT, Computing and Business