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Surval Ski Week 2019: “A Winter Wonderland of Fresh Powder”

Posted on: 6th February 2019 | Category: Teacher blog

Ms O’Donnell brings to life the school’s adventures in Anzère from a teacher’s perspective; click here to read the Ski Week student journal of Isabella, G9, Mexico.

Surval’s annual ski-trip to the Swiss resort of Anzère in Valais is a highlight of every school year, and 2019 was certainly no exception. With awe-inspiring views of the Matterhorn and beyond, a safe and traditional village environment, and over 58km of pistes, Anzère is a magnificent setting for students of all abilities to learn to ski or snowboard or to further improve their skills with highly experienced instructors.

Despite challenging conditions on the first day, the students maintained positive and determined attitudes – as exemplified by the beginner snowboarders who, undeterred by gale force winds, strapped on their boards (after holding onto them for the dear life) and embarked on their first slides down the beginner slopes. The more advanced ski groups set off to explore the vast array of pistes that Anzère has to offer. That evening, the girls excitedly exchanged tales of their first afternoon of adventures whilst enjoying the hospitality and comfort of the ‘ski to door’ Zodiaque Hotel.

Weather conditions improved the next day and after a night of heavy snowfall, the students awoke to a winter wonderland of fresh powder, which their instructors took them to explore. Notable off-piste skills were demonstrated by Maria K and Ale, who managed to spend a large proportion of the time with their skis in the air and their face in the snow. Whilst Maria and Ale mastered the art of the elusive ‘face plant’, Charlotte K skilfully demonstrated that it was possible to remove both skis at the same time without even touching them by simply skiing at high speed into a bank of impenetrable snow. Their adventurous spirits were matched by their determination and the girls continually encouraged each other to refine their skills.

Keen to further hone their unique approach to off-piste skiing, the students enthusiastically jumped straight back on the T-bar lift to make their way up the mountain again. Just when it appeared that the students’ escapades couldn’t get any more memorable, Fer fell off the T bar. Now, for most teenagers, this would dampen their spirits; however, unflinching in the face of her predicament, Fer bravely opted to be dragged the rest of the way up the mountain on her belly. Despite the rest of the students finding this situation most amusing, it was later eclipsed by Roby G and Lucia S not only falling off their T bar but also managing to detach the entire bar from the wire; this certainly impressed all the teachers who, with their many years of experience of skiing, had never seen this happen before!

Towards the end of the week, following more heavy snowfall and knee-deep powder, the students headed into the mountains on tired legs but with shining smiles. Sandra S continued to push her skill level by jumping at every given opportunity both on and off-piste; Lupita displayed a style and elegance that made it difficult to believe that she only started skiing this season; and, despite their sore legs, determined students such as Violeta and Gimena pushed themselves out of their comfort zone and showed amazing grit and determination. The efforts of all the girls were celebrated in the medal ceremony and prizegiving at the end of the week.

The piste action was complemented by a range of evening activities and the girls were given the opportunity to rejuvenate their tired limbs in Anzère’s luxury Spa, practise their singing skills at a Karaoke evening, sledge down the nursery slopes in the moonlight, and illuminate the night skies with their torchlit night-time descent.        

Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable week for all Surval staff and students: all the girls must be commended for their positive attitudes, which were praised by the ski instructors, and for the support they continually showed each other.

 


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