Killington, New Hampshire and New York City, USA, Ski Trip
For the third time, and for the second consecutive year, a ski trip travelled Trans-Atlantic. This time we visited the New Hampshire resort of Killington. Not stopping there though - at the end of the five days’ skiing was a flying visit to New York City!
The trip started off fantastically; rather than the early hours start that we normally have, followed by a trip to Gatwick, it was a mid-morning meet time followed by the short journey to Heathrow! The flight itself was fantastic - everyone really enjoyed the in-flight entertainment with a wide range of films, TV programmes and music to choose from - not to mention all of the free food and drink … though a few of the teachers got a bit competitive on the interactive quiz …
When we arrived at Newark at about 7.00pm US time, the first thing that most people wanted to do (apart from use the toilet) was take a picture of a yellow NYC cab! The smiles soon turned to frowns though when we all heard that the transfer to the hotel was six hours. It was a long journey but the comfort of the coach helped and eventually we were greeted by the management of the Comfort Inn, Rutland, at 1.00am!
No time or energy to do anything else because it was effectively 6.00am (British time) and with a 6.00am wake-up call from Mr Cleary on the horizon everyone went ‘pretty much’ straight to bed. Straight after breakfast we had to travel all kitted-up for skiing to our ‘ski fit’ at the base of one of the mountain’s slopes.
Still bleary eyed, this was completed pretty quickly and then we were off to Snowshed Base for the most important thing of the week – Skiing - and to meet a team of Instructors which included many of last year’s! The skiing itself all week was superb. There were many lasting memories which stood out….
THE COLD!: When Mr Cleary told everyone on the first day that it was -4° everyone thought that he meant Celsius……but what he really meant was Fahrenheit which made it an incredible -20°C on the first day and temperatures approaching that on others, so every day we all put loads of layers on to avoid frostbite.
THE SNOW ITSELF: With Europe being starved of snow it was nice to turn up and find lots of snow - and good snow at that. However, the last day was an exception, where the conditions (extremely icy) played havoc with the students’ ability to stay on their skis and, subsequently, there were a couple of issues which we’ll get to in a minute!
THE LOCATION OF THE HOTEL: Certain parts of the hotel were also proving to be as popular as the skiing. With a heated indoor pool and jacuzzi, a MacDonald’s on the corner across the street and a Dunkin Donuts across the parking lot of the Bowling Alley next door, there was never a shortage of things to do.
THE ACCIDENTS: On the second morning, disaster nearly struck. A 4x4, overtaking the bus on the way to the slopes, slid on some ice and clipped the front of the bus sending it towards the roadside verge. Fortunately, a massive snow bank stopped it going any further or rolling over. Which was a good job as at the bottom of the bank was a frozen pond! Luckily, no-one was injured and the driver and staff got everyone off the bus, with another bus arriving just in time to ensure that no skiing was missed.
Sadly, for a few, this couldn’t be said of the rest of the week. We already had visited Rutland County Hospital to get a sprained knee treated when, on the last day, there was havoc! Remember that ice that I spoke about – it caused 3 accidents.
NEW YORK CITY: Everyone was waiting eagerly for Thursday, as it was the transfer day to New York City. Despite the five hour transfer back to New York, we were keen to see the City. When we eventually arrived and saw the New York skyline everyone’s jaws dropped.
We all went for a brief walk (also known as a brief shop) and found out quite quickly that it wasn’t much warmer in New York and, whilst Miss Irwin got her 15 seconds of fame having her photo plastered on a billboard in Times Square (funnily enough because of some shopping she had bought!), some of us popped into the world-famous Macy’s to do a tiny bit of shopping.
We went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Planet Hollywood where the food and banter was superb. Some of the students even had their pictures taken with some of the famous memorabilia there. After dinner, we walked down to the Empire State Building and went to the 86th floor Observatory to see New York City at night. What a beautiful sight. The city that is, not this lot!
The next morning after breakfast we experienced the Staten Island Ferry and got a closer look at the Statue of Liberty than we did the previous night, taking some great pictures of the Manhattan Skyline on the way back.
On the way back to shop on 5th Avenue we went through downtown to the site of the Twin Towers and what is now Ground Zero. Everyone’s excitement was quelled for a while whilst we all paid our respects.
After this it was shopping time! Some went to the Apple Store by Central Park but on the whole, Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch and American Eagle were the three stores who probably had record trading on those days! A lot of cash was spent before we all headed to the airport safely to get our flight home. Until one student threw a spanner in the works! …Sadly she was not well and Virgin wouldn’t let her board the flight. She and Miss Adie actually benefitted from the peace and quiet on the next flight and a nice taxi ride home from the airport instead!
All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and one that we will all never forget. Some of the everlasting memories would be the incredible improvement of our skiers, the crashes, the falls, the spills, but - more importantly - all the great times we had.
On a personal note I want to thank all the students again for what will remain up there with one of the best (and most incident packed) trips ever.
What a trip!
Director of Achievement