CPC ski trips are legendary; this year’s was no different. Our experiences and memories will remain long after the snow has melted. The journey began early on Saturday morning, 28 January when 41 extremely excited pupils, and four equally excited staff (Mr McVeigh, Mr Herron, Ms Somers and Miss Houston), embarked on a week-long adventure on the slopes. Most were beginners but there was an air of exhilaration and apprehension about what was to come. After a short flight to Milan, we spent a few hours in Verona, shopping, eating and sightseeing before travelling the twisty, narrow mountain roads to our ski resort.
This year the destination was Folgaria in the Trentino region of northern Italy. The mountains of Alpe Cimbra boasted 50 different slopes with spectacular and striking views of the Alps. The resort was excellent for our beginners who skied through various picturesque forest runs. The more technical and challenging descents suited our more experienced.
After getting kitted out with all the paraphernalia: skis, poles, boots and helmets, three novice groups got to grips with skiing on the nursery slope. A more experienced group headed straight to the mountain to brush up on their skills and blow away the cobwebs. Each day, there were two ski sessions, morning and afternoon, with up to seven hours being spent on the piste!
Progress was amazing after one day. Beginners could now balance, fall and stop correctly and safely (well, for some this was a skill that needed significant development!). The more experienced exhibited their impressive speed and tricks.
During the week there was many a tale to regale. The banter and laugher and smiling faces reflected the sheer enjoyment and self-confidence everyone was feeling. Within a day, most beginners had mastered the nursery slopes and ski lifts and completed their first blue runs without incident. The experienced group was getting faster, skiing over large moguls and jumping on their downhill runs.
Après ski, a range of activities kept everyone occupied. We stayed in a quaint town where we could shop, visit local cafes, swim or ice skate and of course there was a disco where we met pupils from other NI schools. The highlight of the week, though, was definitely a trip in a ‘snow cat’ to have dinner in a mountain top restaurant.
By the end of the week, it was hard to believe that those who had never skied were now completing red runs. The more experienced of course had tackled many of the black runs. There was also fun in the snow park with turns, pikes and twists all being perfected!
The infamous slalom race sealed off the week; each group went head to head to see who could negotiate the twists and turns in the quickest time. That evening, ski instructors announced results and presented prizes along with bronze, silver and gold awards depending on ski progress during the week.
During this trip, our pupils were an absolute credit to themselves and our school for their exemplary behaviour, attitude and willingness to learn. The atmosphere was electric and the buzz and excitement were infectious. Everyone helped each other; there was a real sense of community. The week flew past and a lot of tired, sad faces arrived back to Belfast with many planning their next ski holiday before they even reached Ballycastle! For many, this was the trip of a lifetime. Everyone returned safely reminiscing about a wonderful country, a thrilling sport and memories to last forever.