On the slopes in Soelden, Austria

By Doug McIlwraith, Director of Music

On the first Saturday of half term there was a truly awesome sight to behold at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport: 37 Bedales families ready and waiting for the first Bedales ski trip for several years and the first major school trip since the start of the pandemic.

Staff, parents and Claire De Menezes from the Health Centre had worked incredibly hard to ensure all COVID requirements were met, which included 34 PCR tests, 37 slightly different COVID vaccination status reports to be checked and numerous letters from doctors proving recovery. It took a little longer than usual to get through the airport but we all relaxed a little more as we got through every checkpoint and finally arrived at our destination in Soelden, Austria.

The final COVID hurdle was surmounted when our COVID passes were used to activate the ski pass! Once on the slopes, we enjoyed a week of amazing snow and some very fine weather. The instructors were impressed with the level of skiing in the Bedales group and great progress was made throughout the week. Our guides from Snowtraxx stayed with us in the hotel and students got to know them very well, which helped with lessons and building confidence. The students were clearly quite taken with the awesome surroundings and the thrill of skiing with their friends. It almost felt like getting back to normal life and we look forward to more school trips and adventures! Watch this space for information on forthcoming ski trips which are generally advertised 10 months in advance.

My personal thanks must go to Ruth Austen, Ana Simmons, Clive Burch and Shaun Ritchie who accompanied the students and also to the parents who supported the trip and went the extra mile to ensure everyone was COVID compliant. Personally, I had a blast and was super impressed with the skiing from all groups.