By Eoin O’Loghlen and David Quane

On the 11th of February 2012, Glenstal Second Years along with Fr. John and Housemasters Aiden McNulty and Felix Ross flew to Milan followed by a three-and-a-half hour bus journey high into the Alps to the small town of Andalo. It has a population of about 1,000 people and is about 800 meters above sea level. The mountain that it is under stands at 2,125 meters.

After checking in and unpacking we headed straight down to the Ski School to get our helmets, boots and skis. After collecting our gear we headed to supper to the hotel which wasn’t at all bad. A lot better than we expected. Straight after supper we headed to bed because most of us were up for up to 19 hours that day. It was a pretty quiet night in the hotel rooms that night!

The following morning we were up at 7.00am. Breakfast at 7.30am and we were out of the hotel by 8.30am. We were all kitted out and ready for our ski lesson by 9.00am. We were divided into three goups; the starters who had never skied before which included myself; followed by the “middlers” who had skied once or twice; and thirdly, the advanced group which was the lads who were really good at sking.

We followed this pattern for the next three mornings. The instructors, even though all they could say in English was “parallel ski” were great and really funny. Our classes would last until 11.00am after which we would go back to Fr. John. We then divided up into our groups depending on our ability.

For the first day, most of the beginners were on the green slopes and the middlers were on the blues while the advanced were on the reds. At 1.00pm each day we met up for lunch a the bottom of the mountain. Then we would decide whether to carry on to 3.00pm or to head back up to the hotel for the day as it was totally exhausting. At the hotel we would have showers and be ready for a non-skiing activity by 4.30pm. We could swim, drive ice carts and we even organised our own rugby games…in two feet of snow! Some of us headed down to the village for pizza or a crepe.

At 7.00pm we had traditional Italian supper in the hotel. Each evening we would either play cards or have a table quiz. This happened for the five days of skiing but as the week progressed we got more and more tired so, skiing ended earlier and we were in bed sooner. By the end of the week we were absolutely wrecked and bruised. Unfortunately, on the third day Fr. John took a bad fall and he had to go into hospital the following day where they diagnosed a dislocated shoulder.

Contributing to our entertainment we made lots of friends from schools across Ireland who were just as lucky as us to have the experience of a skiing holiday in the Alps. We met a Transition Year class from Co. Sligo. Johnny Williams and William Murray in particular were very popular with the girls in this group. We made great friends with them and we hope to meet them again.

The staff of the hotel, Costaverde and Andalo were very friendly and welcoming and provided us with lots of fun such as card games and table tennis. On the last day we had a Prizegiving ceremony. For the Funniest Person (Paddy Molony); Best Skier (William Murray); Best Hat (Eoin O’Loghlen); Biggest Fall (Robbie Kearns); Fair Play (David Quane); and best All Rounder (Diarmuid Glavey). We were also given Certificates from our Skiing Instructors which ended our skiing holiday.

All-in-all it was a fantastic week and as we sit here writing we cannot think of a word to describe the helpfulness and kindness from Fr. John, Aiden and Felix. Thanks a million guys from all the lads.