At the end of January, thirty four eager pupils from Cross and Passion College (accompanied by Mr Éamonn McVeigh, Mr Ciarán Herron and Mrs Mary Campbell) headed off in the direction of Gstaad in Switzerland for the school’s annual ski trip. They left Ballycastle early that morning as the sun was rising, excitedly wondering what the week would have in store for them all. As usual, they stayed at the Haut-Lac Centre, now home to Pete Dallat, a past pupil of Cross and Passion College, who works there as a ski instructor. He was very glad to see the familiar faces of his Ballycastle friends and teachers!
After an equipment check at the centre, the group journeyed by train to the beautiful slopes of Saanenmoser each day. The snow conditions on the slopes were perfect all week, even though the temperature on the last day dropped to -25°C! All those who had been skiing before, got back in to it like ducks to water- especially Mr McVeigh and Mr Herron who were doing all sorts of impressive jumps and speeds, encouraging and keeping an eye on all of the different ski groups as they did so.
Not everyone was familiar with terms like ‘snow plough’. ‘gondola’ and ‘wind chill’ however, least of all Mrs Campbell who joined the pupils in one of the beginners groups for the week. After only a few days, however, the beginners took off like pros, although there were quite a few squeals and bumps along the way! The pupils were all very supportive of each other on the slopes and there were many great laughs to be had, with a few hot chocolates in between.
The fun didn’t stop there however, as there was always lots of banter and singing on the train journey home, followed by dinner and evening activities organised by the staff at the Haut-Lac. By the end of the week pupils could not believe how much their skiing had improved and many are already talking about their plans to go back again next year.
The staff at the Haut-Lac commended the pupils for their excellent behaviour, attitudes and willingness to learn from start to finish. The fun that the pupils were having, really added to the atmosphere at the Haut-Lac centre, so much so that the staff were sorry to see them go! Mr McVeigh, who organises the ski trips every year, felt that there would be no better way to sum up about how smoothly the trip went, than to quote Hugo McKeegan, a Yr 10 pupil on the trip, who described it as “100% pure perfection!”