Ski Trip 2024

Saturday 16 March: Day 1

We began in the wee small hours with a very smooth coach journey down to Gatwick, punctuated by a flying visit to Clacket Lane to use the toilets. Our resilient youngsters were very patient as we slowly wound our way towards the check-in desks then through security with only a few of us falling foul of the metal detector (obviously a member of staff would know that having car keys in her pocket would be a problem…). Resplendent in our (bright) orange hoodies, we then made camp in the departure area and went a few at a time to choose some food for ‘lunch’ (many of us were ready for lunch at around 10am but who’s counting?). It was soon our turn and we settled quickly on the plane, though it seemed there was a bit of a queue for the runway this morning. ‘Are we in the air yet?’ was heard a number of times and the ever-patient Mr B was poised to film the crucial moment for quite some time, having been given strict instructions by his fellow residents of Row 14.

Fortified by wine gums and lollies to help our ears, we soon soared into the air, much to the excitement of our novice flyers – and many of the rest of us. Britain became a distant patchwork of fields and in only a few minutes we were already over the remarkably narrow-looking Channel (must be really easy to swim, Mrs Osborn) and in French airspace, high above the clouds. Our first glimpse of the Alps was spectacular and there was much leaning over one another to get the best picture out of the window. 

Descending into Turin, we must have nearly touched the roofs of the houses as we made a smooth landing on the tarmac. Now airport-savvy, we quickly gained stamps in our passports and reclaimed our bags before heading out to find Monsieur Skibound Coach driver, who was treated to some of Mrs W’s worst French as she tried to explain that Mrs Coombs was in the shop (sorry Mme Steed). We are all slightly worried as to what she actually told him.

Safely aboard, we zoomed along the Italian Autostrada and the Alps, once a mere shadow on the horizon, soon stood in front of us in all their glory. After a few long tunnels, we were soon winding our way up and down the slopes and heading closer to Serre Chevalier. The sight of snow lying on the ground caused much excitement and plans were made for snow angels, snowball fights and, indeed ‘Snow Bobs’.

We were soon settling into our cosy rooms and organising our belongings. Room 23 even allocated responsibilities and Molly duly scurried off with an armful of water bottles to refill them. Next up was boot-fitting and much teamwork was evident with experienced boot-wearers teaching the newbies some tricks to persuade our reluctant feet into suitably cosy footwear. A high tea of ham baguettes and some selected snacks from Mrs Coombs’ impressive selection gave us enough energy for a brief exploration of our surroundings and a run around in the field opposite the hotel before returning from some downtime and much-needed showers!

And then we found ourselves at the evening of Day 1, with a great appetite for our supper. Some of us have learned what happens if you put the shower curtain outside of the bath and Mrs Coombs has learned where the mop lives. We enjoyed some time in the games room after supper before settling down for some much-needed sleep before an exciting first ‘proper’ day on the slopes on Sunday.