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Delightful Dolomites

What a wonderful week it was when the Westbourne Family turned out in force for this year’s long-awaited ski trip. No less than 79 pupils, parents, governors, old boys and girls and teachers joined us in Folgarida, a small resort close to the Austrian and Swiss  border. We were so lucky too! It hadn’t snowed much at all in Folgarida in the month prior to departure but as we arrived at the resort a comforting blanket of glorious white stuff was covering our suitcases as we descended from our seats on the coaches. 

“Westbourne values were epitomised, particularly inclusion, on the ski trip as families, children, OWs, staff and Govs blended together to form a unique bond. The camaraderie and spirit was palpable and the positive emotions were evident for all to see. Mr Davey deserves credit for fostering this unique opportunity.”

John Hicks, Headmaster

“We all wanted to say a great big thank you to you particularly but to all the staff who worked incredibly hard to ensure we all had a fantastic time skiing.  You all never seemed to stop. Please pass our thanks on to all staff and we hope you see you all again on the next trip. The other families and children were some of the nicest people we’ve met. So we got much more than learning to ski from the trip.” 

Tammy Johnson, parent

Read on for the full story of a special school trip in the snow

Sunday morning saw us complete our ski and boot fit and head into our groups with the local instructors. Skiing on the first day on fresh snow was simply exhilarating.   Matilda and Romeesa decided that after breakfast they were just going to relax in their rooms and were unaware they were meant to be going skiing!  

Later that evening Matilda and Romeesa received nominations at the daily nominations meeting for not realising they had come on the ski trip to ski! However on this day t-shirts were awarded to Mr Hicks, nominated for a fall into a net and Mrs Lillywhite for hugging the instructor when she couldn’t stop moving! 

The daily nominations meeting just before dinner is a great way for everybody to come together and share stories not everyone was privy to. Occasionally teachers interject to support but it’s always encouraging and rewarding to see our less confident and sometimes younger pupils stand up and speak with such passion in front of a large group. During the week some daily t-shirt awards were made for pupils showing the schools key values as well as awards for telling stories or overcoming fears. This week it was so rewarding to see our older mature pupils supporting the younger pupils and encouraging them to join in. It really felt like our school’s positive culture was emerging after a couple of years where we haven’t been able to come together as readily because of the pandemic.

Plenty of the white stuff

Monday saw us continue to ski in fantastic snowy conditions. The ski groups were reorganised to reflect ability changes and we began to get the hang of the routines required to complete our day. Mr Davey was unanimously awarded a t-shirt at nominations after inadvertently setting off the fire alarms and then failing to help out Sam who had fallen in powder. Mr Davey fell in even deeper powder and watched in dismay as Sam got up and skied on. That evening we enjoyed a quiz with a variety of rounds being put together by all the teachers.Mrs Foster-Major took a lead role challenging our intellect with some thoughtful questions.  After much controversy the Fire Engine team won the quiz with a very good score! Well done to a team consisting of Sam, Louis, Florence, Moneeba, Romeesa, Matilda H. and the Blanks! 

Tuesday saw perhaps the best conditions of the week, after the snowfalls the sun emerged and we got to see the amazing views across to Madonna di Campiglio. Many nominations were made for falls but  Mr Jewitt took the “do as I say not as I do”  award for his attempt to apply suncream. Louis Farquhar was very keen to practise his language skills for GCSE but forgot that he should be using Italian not French in the local supermarket! That evening we walked down into central Folgarida, to the Eta Beta bar, where we practised our singing and dancing in a karaoke as well as enjoying a game or two in the arcade. The group renditions of “Sweet Caroline” and “Don’t stop believing” were amazing! It has been so long since the whole school community has been able to come together. Seeing boys and girls from junior school alongside hulking great year 11s and then parents, teachers and old boys and girls all joining in together was something very special! 

By Wednesday the snow conditions were becoming very spring-like as the sun affected the temperature of the snow.  Hard icy conditions gave way to perfection in mid-morning and then slushy conditions in the afternoon. Wednesday saw a break in nominations as that evening we enjoyed a trip to the Bowling Alley. Top scorers were old-boy Peter Sykes and Mrs Woodger amongst the adults and Ellie Spray for the pupils. It must also be noted that at one point Mr Jewitt knocked down skittles in Lane 2 when he was meant to be bowling in Lane 1! 

We were relieved to see that Mr Hunter returned from his brief trip back to the UK and were genuinely thankful to him that he had managed to bring with him a piece of luggage left in the UK. Thank you.

There was no break in proceedings on Thursday as we enjoyed our penultimate day of skiing. Sam Johki managed to put on the wrong ski boots, Joe Davey took charge of nominations dressed as Mr Hicks but was nominated himself as his voice cracked in the middle of the ceremony. Daniel also fell off a button lift taking out a boarder! Mrs Blank won the speed award for her 112 kph speed gun test and Fred Foster-Major was nominated not for a mishap but because he had been so helpful and kind to younger members of the group. Fancy dress was worn by some. Matilda and Florence Davidson came dressed as a dragon and pink rabbit with super onesies; Sam Johki as a Minion. 

On Friday we enjoyed our final day skiing in warm weather but thankful that we had, on the whole, brilliant conditions given the overall poor weather this season. There were of course no nominations on the last day but there was a chance to get photographs with instructors as they gave out gradings.  After we had packed our bags and had done a little gift shopping there was a presentation of prizes, everyone won something all our juniors took home a medal and with the local gift shop being well stocked with fridge magnets I hope there are now plenty of fridge doors in and around Sheffield with a Folgarida magnet on it!  

We returned home on Saturday 9th April. 

I have now run twenty ski trips at Westbourne and this trip was probably the most rewarding trip. It was so nice to see this trip return after two years with no travel possible. I would also like to thank Mr Hicks for his contribution to trips over the last 18 years and also thank all the staff who helped to provide the right environment for our children to flourish.  We were also fortunate to have so many lovely adults on the trip too who helped out where appropriate and bonded to create new friendships. 

Now time to look forward to December ‘22 and Les Deux Alpes. It’s sure to be very popular and book out very quickly. Don’t miss out. 

Link to Book HERE


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