A group of lucky students and teachers from St Mary's CBS Portlaoise in Laois had an exciting school trip recently, all the way to the snowy mountains of the Italian Alps.
The annual SKI tour from the Portlaoise school took place during the Easter holidays, when 75 students from all different years and their teachers flew out to Italy.
They landed in Nice and took in panoramic views of the Cote d'Azur before completing their journey to the Artesina Ski resort by bus.
The famous Ski resort had plenty to offer the group, with 90km of downhill skiing including 15 individual pistes, and 12 ski lifts ascending to 2100 metres with an excellent snow cover.
Most importantly the Scuola Ski provided invaluable training and coaching for the 'principianti' or beginners , greatly appreciated by students and teachers alike.
“For some of our more experienced skiers on their second and third trips it was a case of skipping the blues and challenging themselves on the Red and Black slopes,” said teacher John Duggan.
Unusually despite the warm daily temperatures there was no thaw. Enjoyment and progress was the aim for all, as even the second years sampled Italian culture along with trying out skiing activities daily.
The Ski group moved to Prato Nevosa on Thursday night to try 'tubing'. The sport of high speed tube sliding down sheer iced slopes, in groups of 6 or 7, set the adrenaline for a few lads and their teachers also.
An early start Friday morning eventually brought the tour to Monaco and Monte Carlo en route to Nice, where they saw the great Marina of Monaco, the Grand Prix circuit and did some careful shopping, before finally catching the bus back to Nice and their flight home.
Teacher Deirdre Carroll said the trip has great benefits for the students.
"It is fantastic physically for them, we were first on the slopes every day and last to leave. It gave them all a huge sense of achievement. Probably 90 percent of the lads couldn't ski before this and all could do it by the second last day," she said.
Any students having trouble mastering their skis were given a private lesson.
"There was great bonding and teamwork too because anyone who could ski spent time showing others how to do it," Ms Carroll said.
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