During the Easter break 9 students and 2 staff members embarked on a coach journey to Austria! The aim of the journey was to ski down some of the most beautiful Austria mountains high in the Alps. We were very fortune to be joined by The Chiselhurst School for Girls on this escapade who added to the cultural experience of the trip, both schools being very different in context but still having the same ultimate goal… to experience something complexity different to everyday school life.
Having traveled through France, Germany and a very late night ferry ride, we found ourselves in a very sunny Austria, in a small town called Gmund. For those of you who are not car experts, Gmund is the location which Ferdinand Porsche built his very first cars before moving to production to Stuttgart and the town is home to one of the original 956’s made there. Although we were based in Gasthof Prunner in Gmund, its clear to see there was little snow here, in fact we were just a short journey from the Langau resort of St Michael.
Due to the early Easter break, the snow was still in great condition and all runs were still open. This meant the students could get off to flying starts in Schiscule with our lovely instructor Veronica, a local from the area! She was excellent at motivating our students and being very supportive when things became challenging. Over the course of the 5 days skiing, Veronica was blown away by how quickly our students improved, where they were exploring both mountains in the resort by day 3 with almost perfect parallel skiing. Not bad for those who struggled to get their boot into their skis on day one! through the week the students experienced different chairlift, challenge runs, a slalom race against each other where Souleiman shocked everyone with a win. The skiing provided challenge for all students, and with some encouragement, the group overcame every barrier including both the only black run on the resort and the ski jumps in the fun park. It fair to say the the use of mobile apps to record top speeds became a focus on the final day, which led to some good spirited competition… and yes Miss Broom was the fastest which Mr Mooney reluctantly accepted.
The food was excellent in the hotel, and really gave everyone a true experience of Austria culture. However we tried not to undo all of this cultural experience with a visit to the local Pizzeria on one evening. Other evenings entertainment also included a bridge building competition with with the other school where our contingent built something reminiscent of the a suspension bridge, Brunel would have been proud of the fact they won best design. We also attending the local Kegelbahn to attempt to play the German bowling equivalent Kegel. This sport is very similar to skittles rather than the American style 10 pin bowling.
On the final day, we explored the town, visiting its castle and the large amounts of art work on show. some of the iron sculptures are fantastic, and show how highly skilled some of the local people are. The views from the castle of the walled city are amazing, especially with the snow capped mountains offering the back drop.
The journey home was largely a quite and sleepy affair. Lots of tired body who had had such an amazing week. It would be prudent at this point to acknowledge how great each of the students were as ambassadors for the Academy, their community and Bristol as a whole. The attitude and behaviour they demonstrated was nothing short of excellent and this was noted by everyone they interacted with, from the hotel owner, to the ski instructor and right down the coach drivers who ferried them around. It was a truly wonderful trip and fun was had by all!