Day 1 - Saturday:
First time we arrived at school with smiles on our forty faces, some of us were that excited we forgot our money (Caolan)!! Roaring and screaming and having the craic. One hour down the road and we were flying… literally. Met the students from Monaghan Collegiate.
Arriving in Austria where the sun was shining, we thought we had landed in the wrong country!! On the bus passing through the villages we got a brief description of the passing villages.
When we got to our hotel, unpacking our suitcases, we could smell home from our clothes – joke! It was Stephen’s “one million” aftershave, then we went down for abend essen (yum yum yum). Then it was off to Mass and back for a peaceful night.
Day 2 - Sunday:
Bang bang on the doors of the busy teachers in the early hours of the morning to go out into minus fifteen degrees and the falling snow (and people!). Skis on (jealous yet??), everyone everywhere. Teachers with heads down wondering if this had been a good idea!
Things improved and by the time we were out for our second session most of us had got the hang of it. By night we were all exhausted and ready for bed!
Day 3 - Monday:
Just to give you an idea of how busy we are, I thought I would share with you our itinerary for yesterday. Breakfast starts at 8.15 am to 9am. Fairly late for the skiing fraternity – this is the beauty of this resort – you ski literally outside your own back door! We skied from 10 until 12, had a quick lunch and thenback on the slopes for 12.45 pm. By this time everyone had mastered the small blue piste and the precarious T bar drag lift. The sense of achievement was palpable. For me, Rebecca Hughes won yesterday’s prize for being one of the first to be taken to the top of the second blue. Fearlessly she took off, and unable to control her speed, she headed for a mound of snow created by the snow making machines. In Rebecca’s mind, this was snow and she thought she would plough straight through it. “Fraid not!” At break neck speed she ascended up the side of the mound and did a perfect back flip and landed splat with arms and legs splayed. Megan Savage could not assist her for laughing and a few minutes later came to her own demise. This group was later demoted and returned to the kinder piste for an intensive skills based tutorial. At 3.15pm we walked down the town and caught a bus to a neighbouring village and took a gondola up to Zugspitze in the village of Ehrwald.. Look this up on the internet and then look at the webcams. In the (110 person gondola) on the way up there were lots of ooohs! and aaahs! as we swayed past each stanchion – this is not a trip for the faint hearted and certainly not for anyone who is afraid of heights. We returned for tea at 6pm and straight back out again on a bus to another neighbouring village to watch a ski show which was fantastic. Even Caolan had to admit that these guys were better than him. Back flips galore, high speed synchronised skiing, and at -20oC we were glad to squeeze back onto a bus full of amused Austrians. We stopped for a hot chocolate in the village and then back up to the hotel. Legs weary from the hard work, we rested up for tomorrow and the new challenges we were going to face and master!
Day 4 - Tuesday:
Today we started out in our ski groups for our lessons. Some went up to the blue slopes and others to the red. The drag lift is harder than the skiing itself. The ski instructors are legends – they’re so “down to Earth” and put up with everyone falling. (Mr Condon)!
For the “après ski” some people went swimming and others relaxed by walking around the scenic town of Ehrwald. This evening we are going to test our knowledge with a quiz and relax with our neighbouring school from Monaghan. We are all very exhausted these past few days and some of us have painful muscles and legs.
We are missing all our friends and we feel for Conor missing out on this exhilarating experience. Finally we would like to wish a VERY Happy Birthday to EMMA McGuigan who got a big chocolate cake and would not share it! : (
Can’t wait for tomorrow. Bring it on! : )
Day 5 - Wednesday:
Today we hit the big slopes. It was very hard. It was a big change from the baby slopes. We got our first taste of the chair lift. After we finished skiing we got the chance to have some free time in Innsbruck, shopping! While there, we were entertained by some Austrian musicians in an open air concert. The Winter Olympic Youth Games are being hosted in Innsbruck and this was the start of the opening ceremonies. As part of the entertainment there was a live concert and we saw some young athletes from all over the world, wearing jackets which represented their countries.
We are all really enjoying ourselves in Austria.
Day 6 - Thursday:
Hope you are having a wonderful time in school while all of us are speeding down the slopes! Poor us! Today we went over to the Alm resort which is bigger. Here, certain perople AKA Julie, Emma, Mark and Ryan found themselves stuck in some trees and houses. Leaving the slopes, all 39 of us along with another school, packed into a tiny bus with hardly any room to breathe. Tonight we went rifle shooting and the girls definitely ruled over the boys by getting a number of bulls-eye. Leaving the rifle shooting, we saw just how mad some of our classmates really are (Julie Carr and Aodhan Harnett) thinking by putting on an accent they will be thought of as Germans. As a group we would like to thank Daniella who leaves us feeling very much at home here. We also have to say a big thank-you to Struan for looking after our skis, poles, helmets and for entertaining us in the evening with his amazing piano playing and singing. What an amazing trip it has been so far. We are going to make the most of our last two days. See you soon.
Day 7 - Friday:
It was Thursday evening when the snowflakes started to fall! Through the night it got heavier and heavier. Early Friday morning we pulled the curtains and we woke to a blizzard. We went downstairs to get all buckled up for a hard day of skiing. It was a bitterly cold morning and as we walked to the bus the snow got even heavier. We waited for the bus and eventually it came. On it we were like “sardines in a tin”. When we arrived at Alm mountain we were informed that the weather was too dangerous to ski in and that the ski lifts had stopped for safety precautions. As we waited for the bus to take us back to the hotel we had a huge snowball fight and we witnessed Peter eating snow! The bus arrived and we jumped on looking like snowmen from the earlier snowball fight.
When we arrived back at the hotel our ski instructors were waiting for us with the bibs for the ski slalom. Tommy gave Laura his lucky number (81) to hopefully win but unfortunately she came in 3rd. For the next hour we showed Tommy our moves for the race. After the race we went inside for dinner to recover and to defrost our clothes. After dinner Laura, Louise, Katie, Julie, Pearce and Mrs Connolly ventured out onto the red slope. We were the only ones out of our group that braved the harsh conditions after Miss Mone said that “you wouldn’t even put your dog out in that!” as it snowed Thursday evening and Friday morning, “The most in six years” said Danielle. We were taken out onto the red slopes with our instructor Tommy and cleared so many jumps. The snow was that deep it was up to our knees! We could not see our feet nor our skis! We were literally knee deep in snow and every turn was made on “a wing and a prayer” We never laughed so much in our lives or fell as much either! We were going at top speed down the slopes! As we made our big curves there were drifts and we went over them like speed bumps. The final episode to round off the trip was to see Sinead Kiernan’s case hurtling into the ditch as the luggage doors opened for no apparent reason. There were goggles and salopettes flying- strewn all over the road. Our ever helpful boys spent ten minutes gathering Sinead’s belongings and digging chocolate bars out of ditches. Overall we had an amazing time and so many memories that we will remember forever! Our group would like to say a sincere and special thank you to all the staff who made this experience possible.
Here's to the next ski-trip!