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Team Runnymede Half-Term Ski Trip

This year against all odds (due to the pandemic) the Team Runnymede school trip to Sierra Nevada was able to go ahead as scheduled. From my personal experience, I can say that the trip was excellent and if given the chance, would love to repeat as it provided such a change in the atmosphere that it almost made me forget about the current pandemic situation across the world.

On Sunday morning, on the 14th of February, students taking part in the trip met up at the school parking lot ready to make the five hour long trip to the province of Granada where Sierra Nevada is located. The road trip was rather smooth with two short stops along the way. I was in one of the mini vans which arrived around an hour earlier than the bus and therefore by the time the bus had arrived we already had our skiing equipment and had checked into our rooms. The hotel we stayed in was called the Hotel Mont Blanc and I thought that they did a very good job in accommodating us.After the bus had arrived, we proceeded to help those who had just arrived with their baggage. I was one of the older students and therefore those in my room were allowed to take a short walk around the main area of the town. The place was stunning and the stars were very bright at night time in Sierra Nevada.

The next day was our first day of skiing. The school was rather lucky because there weren’t many people for most days leaving us students with deserted, untouched ski slopes in outstanding conditions. However this also meant that several ski lifts weren’topen. I was rather nervous the first day because it had been so long since I had skied, however that feeling went away the moment we went down the first slope. I really liked the condition of the slopes because the snow was not soft nor hard and was very good at keeping the skis firm all the way down the slope.

At around 11 in the morning, we would stop to have a short break. The teachers would position the groups in different areas so that there was a bit of distance between each group. They then gave out a piece of fruit, a bottle of water and a chocolate. After twenty minutes or so we would hop back on our skis and continue the lesson. Even though only two ski lifts were open, they provided access to a wide range of slopes.Throughout the day the instructor would make us do several different types of exercises in order to improve things such as the use of the edge of the skis or balance.

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon we would end the skiing for the day and we would go to have lunch. Every day we went to anItalian restaurant which was called ‘Ci Verdiamo’. The personnel there were very warm and welcoming and the food was amazing with a menu that varied each day.

After having lunch we would usually have an afternoon activity that would generally last until an hour before dinner. On Monday, we were surprised with the arrival of a magician. All the students seemed entertained although the smaller aged students seemed fascinated and were keen to participate in any trick the magician performed.

On Tuesday, after having spent the majority of the day skiing, we climbed a shiny white mountain using a special kind of shoe which the instructor called ‘raquetas’. It was fun but tiring going up, however, I thought that going down was much harder but much faster and fun since you would slide for six meters each time you took a step. This activity was one of my favourites and one of the most enjoyable.

The next day after our lessons, the afternoon activity was climbing up another mountain but this time using a special material called ‘piel de foca’ which in English means ‘seal skin’ and just to clarify, this was not the actual skin from a real seal, it was just named that way due to the texture being similar to that of a seal skin. We would attach this sticky material to a special type of skis which allowed us to climb the mountain without sliding down. I thought this was more tiring than the previous activity ,however, it was much more fun. Adding to it when we had reached our objective, we could ski down the slope with these skies. Due to the materials being harder to get, only students who volunteered could go. I thought this activity was more entertaining to that of the previous day.

On our very last day of skiing, the number of skiers had increased and therefore a lot more lifts were opened. This was excellent as a last day of skiing since we got to try out new slopes making it an excellent change of pace to that of the other days. My group finished the day with a short slalom competition and we went to return the skis to the store. After doing so, we had our last meal at the restaurant and we were allowed to return to our rooms. The monitors of the trip then made a prize giving ceremony for each group. In order to follow covid restrictions, the teachers had us coming group by group so that we would have social distance between each group. Drinks and some snacks were given to each group as they took a group picture during the prize giving. The students then returned to the rooms and were asked to pack their bags to return to Madrid the following day.

The following morning, students left Sierra Nevada at around 9:30 concluding the fantastic experience in Sierra Nevada. Students arrived at around 15:00 in the parking grounds of the school, where they were received by eager parents to ask about how their child’s experience had gone.

Overall, I think the trip was an excellent experience. I personally enjoyed the break from school and the worldwide pandemic and had an outstanding time speeding down ski slopes with my friends. Another thing which I loved from the ski slopes was the military personnel training their skiing skills and how warm they were towards students who happened to wave at them or greet them and how inclined they were to answer our questions. I also thought that the instructors and teachers who were responsible for us did a magnificent job and how everything in general was so well organised with the wide variety of activities that kept us entertained throughout the trip.

Nicolás Pérez Espejo

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