Pre-ski training began on a cold and wet Wednesday afternoon with a trip to the Alpine Snowsports Centre in Southampton. After a short coach ride, all 43 students and five staff checked in to the centre and were issued with skis and boots.
Working in small groups, each with their own instructor, the sessions started on a flat section at the bottom of the hill with the basics – getting in and out of skis, walking around with the skis on, and body position.
First session on the hill was learning to ski down a gentle incline. With the instructor holding our skis to allow us to get into the correct body position, we made several runs down the slope with only a few minor slip-ups. As confidence grew in the groups, we ventured slightly higher up the hill, and learned how to use the edges of the skis to grip the surface and control our speed. Once we had all mastered our ski control we moved slightly higher again, although this time we would be attempting to use the ‘drag lift’ to scale the hill. For most people in my group, using the lift proved to be more challenging than the skiing, with a number of ‘off-piste’ excursions as we tried to hold on to the slippery bar that was dragging us up the hill. However, it wasn’t long before we had conquered the lift technique, and the added speed of being assisted while climbing back up the hill meant that we were able to fit in many more runs down the slope, and really maximise our time at the centre.
The combination of an excellent instructor and the great attitudes from our students towards learning this new skill made for a very productive session, and I think everyone is now even more excited about departing for Italy on Good Friday.