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Departing at 4am on the last Friday of Michaelmas term 26 students from Years 11-13 and three staff, began the epic 5000 mile journey to Salt Lake City, UTAH for a week of Skiing and Snowboarding in Brighton, claimed to be the home of the greatest snow on earth, and we were not to be disappointed. With the French Alpes suffering the most disappointing snow conditions for a number of seasons, we were rewarded after the mammoth journey to a week of fantastic skiing in perfect powder snow, so light it would not even congeal to make a snowball, to the disappointment of some of the group.
The long 10 hour flight from Gatwick to Las Vegas was passed watching movies and grazing on the non-stop supply of food and soft drinks provided by the aircraft service team. We arrived in Las Vegas late afternoon with just enough light left to see some of the iconic buildings as we drove down the strip. The coach transfer to Salt Lake City took us through Nevada, briefly clipping Arizona near Brice Canyon before our Utah destination was reached. In total 24 hours of travelling!
Brighton, our resort was a short 30 minute bus ride out of Salt Lake city , although this was to prove longer on several of the days due to the need to fit snow chains, as the regular overnight snowfall made the roads unpassable without them.
Lessons consisted of three ability groups, each with their own instructor and a small team of hardy snowboarders who blazed their own trail. With the perfect snow conditions our beginners made rapid progress, only spending the first day on the nursery slopes before moving onto the main pistes. The intermediate and advanced skiers explored the mountain to the full, both on-piste and off-piste through the tree line with their instructors.
Evening meals were enjoyed at different restaurants, with a variety of cuisine, with food in copious quantity enough to satisfy even the heartiest eaters. Evening meal was followed by apre ski the highlight of which was probably the chance to see the Utah Jazz MBA basketball team play the New Orleans Pelicans. The match itself was a typical American spectacular, with cheer leaders, acrobatic display teams and other performances between the plays, and of course, the introductory anthem, the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ played by the US Marines.
The week passed very quickly, was injury free and all too quickly we were travelling back to the UK.