Endless views of white peaks, blue skies with barely any clouds and 42 Mearns Academy pupils flying down the slopes at high speed: this was the school’s annual ski trip to La Thuile on the French/Italian border.
Before their first taste of the Italian alpine air, the pupils and teachers had to endure a gruelling 30 hour journey.
They set off from a trip down to Dover. They set sail across the English Channel to Calais, France and the bus travelled the length of France through the night.
After a sleep-deprived journey, the pupils were put through their paces when trying to order their breakfast in French. Bon appétit!
With stomachs full of croissants and pains au chocolat, they hit the road again and made it to the Mont Blanc tunnel by lunchtime.
Reaching La Thuile mid-afternoon, the pupils had a chilled night as there was an intense week of skiing and snowboarding ahead.
Monday was a slow start, with the beginner groups getting their first feeling of skis and snowboards attached to their feet and using the chair lift, and the more experienced groups easing back into it.
The groups progressed throughout the week, with six hours of skiing or snowboarding with an instructor each day. Techniques learnt included the basic snowplough, parallel skiing, carving and even jumps.
By the end of the week, the pupils were tearing up the slopes, with nearly all the groups even getting a taste of a “black run” meant for expert skiers only.
As well as the snowsports during the day, pupils were busy during the evenings with après-ski activities. These included bum boarding, a pizza night, a quiz night and ice skating in a local village.
On the Friday night a presentation gave the instructors an opportunity to review the progress everybody had made.
The pupils were awarded with certificates indicating the level of skiing or snowboarding they had achieved.
All that was left was a final morning on the slopes, with all skiers and snowboarders now at ease on the mountain.
It came to an end at about two o'clock, when everyone had to return all rented equipment, get washed, and pack up their luggage in preparation for the return journey.
As the sun disappeared behind the snowy peaks, the coach set off on the thirty-hour journey home. Until next year, when Mearns Academy will return to the Italian Alps and take to the slopes once again.