Has your snowsports society ever considered a ski trip over New Year? Here’s what happened when University of Bristol Snowsports Club headed to Les Deux Alpes to spend the bells on the mountains.
UBSC has not one but two ski trips. Training Trip is a badge of honour, awarded for dedication to the club, which alumni look back on with fond memories. This year 49 competitors were chosen to take part in a week of snow training in Les Deux Alpes over New Year.
The committee was hesitant to set Training Trip over New Year for two reasons: a) we thought the prices would be utterly ridiculous and well-beyond the reach of a student budget and b) we expected the slopes to be littered with holiday-makers. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the outcome and I would warn against any committee ruling it out too early.
As the name suggests, Training Trip is underpinned by progression on the slopes. We took part in three 3-hour morning training sessions categorised by discipline (race, freestyle and board) which are influenced by our Captains. The Race Captain ensured that ESF set up a giant slalom course because it is a style we never get the chance to try. On the park side of things, the Freestyle Captain encouraged ESF to take our sendy boys (and gals) over a variety of kickers that wouldn’t fit in a UK snowdome. We were extremely lucky to train under bluebird skies every day, which gave ample opportunity to work on our goggle tans.
Although our Training Trip is arguably ‘tamer’ than our Main Trip in Easter, New Year’s Eve brought a certain buzz. The celebrations started early with many UBSC competitors heading to Pano for après. The Trips Manager and the Race Captain joined the DJ in the booth and encouraged UBSC to take over the dancefloor below. It is fair to say the ski down was an adventure worthy of ending 2018. Having made it to Umbrella Bar, we danced on the tables and watched the fireworks beneath a string of multicoloured lights.
The party didn’t stop there of course… Wasteland Ski had arranged for us to attend Smithy’s (if you know you know) Mascarade Ball. ‘Mascarade’ suggests this event was a sophisticated affair with ballgowns galore. However, I can assure you it was casual with the focus firmly on Amazon’s-finest masks. When Smithy’s counted us down to midnight and tolerated our rendition of Auld Lang Syne, it was difficult to imagine a better place to be on New Year’s Eve.
After the madness of New Year, we had UBSC’s black tie dinner at The Spot to look forward to on 2nd January. The event is infamous and undoubtedly the highlight of Training Trip. If you have been to Les Deux Alpes but not The Spot, I am not entirely sure what you have been doing! I cannot speak highly enough of the divine food and saintly staff that define The Spot. French wine was served to accompany a snowsports-style round of toasts (essentially an opportunity to embarrass friends and learn secret stores from the first few days). As the night progressed, clothes were swapped and waitresses were giggling at what our dinner had become.
I should explain that this activity was not entirely random. I have the Treasurer, the Race Captain, and one of the Social Secs to thank for this hilarity. These committee members had designed a photograph competition whereby one of the challenges was to swap clothes with the opposite sex. This explains a lot but it did not stop me sitting at the table thinking: “What on EARTH is going on?”