The February half term break has long been associated with the end of Mock Exams and, to a great extent, the beginnings of Spring. For those involved in the Ski Trip over the past number of years this break has been associated with diving into a fairly intense week having had just enough time over the previous fortnight to throw a few things into a bag and catch the bus to Dublin, regardless of what unearthly hour it might be leaving at!
This year it was a pleasant and manageable mid-morning departure on Sunday. A full bus and ‘overflow’ car headed off on the first leg of our journey to a heretofore unexplored destination of Pinzolo, a village beside its better known neighbor, Madonna di Campiglio.
The group comprised a healthy number of experienced skiers along with a slightly predominant group of beginners. Transition Year were the dominant year group numerically but there were a significant group of 6th Yrs on a post-mock blow-out and some representatives from 2nd Yr.
An early start on Monday morning following a late night of settling in on arrival got the group kitted out and ready to face the first lesson of the week at 11am. This was the pattern of the week with a morning and afternoon lesson for about two hours each. As the week progressed, we had some people availing of some extra skiing between lessons and Pinzolo began to take shape in our minds. It is a relatively small ski area but what it lacks in mileage it makes up for to a great extent in muscle as the red runs have some difficult pitches while the few black runs and some adventurous instructors ensured our experienced skiers were kept interested.
All the experienced skiers had an opportunity to take a day out skiing in Madonna, which substantially extends the mileage, accessible by gondola from Pinzolo. We enjoyed a ski safari around this spectacular resort, returning to link up with the others as they were finishing up for the day.
We enjoyed a largely sunny week. Our first day was overcast and snow fell for most of our last day, making visibility a little difficult and dampening the clothes if not the spirits. The other four days showed the dramatic skyline in brilliant sunshine. We could enjoy the sun at lunch time, unless of course you ordered the pizza, in which case you spent most of your break in a chaotic queue!
Evening time saw the group participate in some typical apres ski activities like swimming and ice skating but we also enjoyed an unusual spectacle with a visit to a pro ice hockey game in the semi-final of a regional cup competition. Certainly a sport not for the faint hearted, it was really interesting to see a ‘live’ game as opposed to watching on TV. The collisions were jarring and most agreed they would prefer to have LUKA on their own team rather than play against him!!
Our talent night might have been short but certainly not lacking in talent. The hotel staff, ski instructers and a few other random guests enjoyed music and song from some seriously talented young people.
All in all, we really enjoyed our first visit to Pinzolo and whatever about future opportunity we all agreed that we would be very happy to return to the area sometime in the future. One thing that makes for happy memories as an adult member of the ski group is a co-operative student body. The students who travelled to Pinzolo were second to none in the manner in which they conducted themselves. Pleasant, chatty, enthusiastic and responsive, they were damned good company and have done the school, families and, most importantly, themselves proud. Thank You, all.