Academy students travel to Austria for a fun-packed week of skiing

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Ski Trip 2015 has been all about the TOUR this year: Tough; Organised; United and Resilient. After a gruelling 60 hours of travel, two Alpine mountains and hair-raising Olympic slalom courses, Dartmouth Academy students went, saw and conquered the very best Austria has had to offer. The resort of Heligenblut is situated in the heart of the Austrian Alps, a beautiful, typically quaint and non-commercial Alpine village, offering some of the best views and slopes within Europe. Waking up on a Sunday morning, still exhausted, proved more challenging than the initial point of the trip. “The day of rest” became nothing more than physical heartbreak; a human representation of newly born giraffes as the majority of the group attempted to stand on ice, constantly plummeting towards the ground. Inside, we could only imagine what our instructors were thinking and how much they would prefer to laugh rather than teach – I know I would. However, this was indeed the opposite. As we lay rolling in our own tears, of both laughter and pain, our instructors would only ever offer encouragement and we were soon back on our feet ready to fall (and get up!) once more. The week soon became a story of note, characters and all, with some individuals adopting new names from their legendary actions on the slopes. One of our group was reborn and dubbed ‘The Human Wrecking Ball’ in honour of his ‘unique’ style of the continual de-organisation of his group, literally sweeping some off their feet with only a slight limp to follow, and ‘You’ve Been Framed’ worthy video evidence to show. Considering more ‘calm approaches to sport’, we collectively engaged in various evening activities. The first night we took part in the (supposedly) worldwide known sport of ‘Dartling’. Mr Payne denies improvising the rules on the spot. A moment remembered by all indeed hard to forget was the creation of the ‘Peacock’ toss technique, by one group member; this move consisted of “delicately” lobbing the ‘Herring’ skyward with the exertion of desperate hope in knocking opposing teams away from the target ‘Jack’; needless to say, this was not overly successful in practice at first. Later, this questionable tactic was performed with skill and finesse, by tour leader, Mr Payne, as he stormed his team into the lead. As the days passed we only progressed with minimal injury, despite the hazards of one evening’s toboggan runs; all that will be said is that Olympic records came and went as we passed the speed barrier many times. Gradually, we lost our giraffe legs and became hardened warriors of the slopes. By the end of the week we were all capable of skiing with immense confidence, and took part in a time trialled slalom ski course race on the last day, before our last ski session up the mighty Scharek peak, 2600 metres above sea level. The views will take some beating. As a group we are thankful for the experience and offer our gratitude to our teachers, reps and ski instructors, whose energy and enthusiasm helped make this the trip of a lifetime. This will doubtless be the first of many visits to the Alps for Dartmouth Academy students. By Tyler French, Year 11