25 April 2019

Our biennial ski holiday provided pupils the rare opportunity to visit Panorama, Canada. The holiday began with a 4am meet at Manchester Airport. Having only gained a few hours’ sleep, the staff and students would have preferred a slightly smoother start to the holiday. However, after a passport issue, an energetic sprint and fast track priority through security, we managed to catch the already boarded plane before catching our own breath! This incident nearly resulted in Mr Cookson becoming the first casualty of the holiday, however thankfully his pacemaker was up to the task!

Little did we know, there were more travel obstacles to come…

The seven hour flight to Calgary via Amsterdam passed relatively smoothly and both pupils and staff managed to catch up on a few hours’ sleep (and some films!)

Any hopes we had that our travel issues were behind us were soon dispelled when we realised everybody’s luggage had arrived apart from one suitcase. Instead of arriving in Canada, Ben’s worldly belongings had somehow taken a detour to San Francisco!  His initial disappointment and frustration at the inconvenience of not having his favourite teddy bear with him was soon replaced with excitement and joy once he realised an insurance pay out would mean a whole new wardrobe and trainers! Thankfully after four days of chasing, Ben and his suitcase were reunited.

With great relief, once we arrived at the Panorama resort and got settled in, the remainder of the holiday went very smoothly. The fusion of bright sunshine and blue skies surrounded by picturesque snow topped ‘Rockies’ ensured the boys experienced a fantastic week of skiing in idyllic conditions.

The boys enjoyed 5 days of ski or board tuition from the instructors exploring the vast number of runs available to them. The boys were placed in ability groups enabling them to develop at their own pace and learn from each other. Spending 5 hours per day on the slopes meant they had plenty of time to learn and improve their skills. One of the highlights for the accompanying staff is to observe their development and witness the vast amount of progress they make over the course of the week. 

Another uplifting highlight for the accompanying staff, is to witness the boys mixing together, laughing with and at each other, playing in the snow, having fun and helping each other up when they fall. An example of this was Joe Jones, Sam Clegg and Sam Wing challenging each other to time trial races in the knee deep snow, resulting in them all falling flat on their faces at some point!

Evenings were spent relaxing in the hot springs pool, games/film nights, American pool competition and copious trips to the local shop to stock up on supplies! Probably the best evening activity though was quite simply hanging together around a fire pit whilst chatting and cremating the traditional Canadian delicacy - ‘S’mores’.

However, as the saying says, ‘All good things must come to an end’ and all too soon the boys were receiving their ski certificates and saying their final goodbyes to their instructors. The holiday finished the same way it began with another early 5.30am start. A coach journey back to Calgary with just enough time to climb to the top of the Calgary Tower and survey the Rockies from afar.

A fantastic week where new friendships were formed, challenges and fears were overcome, peaks were conquered and new skills learnt. Everybody returned feeling encouraged, with a sense of satisfaction and pride in what they had achieved.   

Thank you to all pupils and staff for making it a memorable week. 



Tags: Ski Ski 2019