The venue chosen was Sella Nevea, situated in North East Italy.
The group assembled at the school, there being Mr. Colin Tufnell, Mr. Steve Andrews, Mr. Richard Tufnell, and Mr. John Daly, ex head boy. About 40 pupils went.
We boarded the coach to Luton Airport, and on arrival had our baggage weighed and went through a security check. The flight was delayed about 2 hours.
After some anxious waiting, we proceeded onto the aircraft, a Boeing 720. Greeted by the cabin crew, we were shown to our seats, for which we had been given boarding passes. We took off at around 7pm.
The flight was smooth, and for our entertainment if not our nourishment, we were given a sample of Monarch Airlines catering-cardboard sandwiches and polythene pie. This was disposed of within a few minutes, and so we settled back to a monotonous hour or so. We landed at Trieste Airport at around 10pm. Italian time.
After speedily collecting our baggage we proceeded onto the next coach of our holiday, luckily considering the time saved. The drive to Sella Nevea took about 2 hours, much of it along new motorways, although the last few miles of the route is far from being a motorway. The road climbed the steep val1ey-side through spiral tunnels, protected by avalanche shelters. On arrival at the Hote1 Nevea, we were given keys to our rooms and made our way to them.
Hotel Nevea is a very modern building. In fact it seems much larger than it is, as much of the structure is used for apartments.
Inside, it contains a large bar and reception area, a spacious restaurant and a games room. The rooms all have private showers and toilets, most having a balcony. On average there were 4 pupils to a room.
Sella Nevea is a. purpose built winter sports resort. Members of the group frequented the bars of the other hotel the Canin and the pizzeria, as drinks at the Hotel Nevea were expensive.
Service in the Hotel Nevea was excellent. All the waitresses and barmen had smart clothing. There was, we were told, room service, but this did not have much of an impact on members of the group. We were still expected to keep our rooms very tidy.
During our first day at Sella we did no skiing. Instead, we explored the area and took pictures. Snowball fights were common throughout the stay. We were given skis, sticks and boots.
Sella Nevea is quite a good resort catering for the beginners and intermediate skiers. There are 3 draglifts close to the hotel, with 2 more a cable-car ride away. The lifts at Sella are graded according to how difficult the runs from their tops are. Thus beginners start on the blue lift from which there were 2 easy runs, more advanced members of the party soon progressing to the red runs, all members of the group mastering these later in the week.
For those who have little knowledge of skiing, let me explain the working of a drag lift. It is designed in such a way that the skier has to catch a plastic disc as it passes him suspended from a wire. As the wire moves on you get dragged up the hill with no effort. After a couple of times it becomes very easy and invaluable as walking uphill in modern ski-boots is uncomfortable to say the least.
I have often been asked how fast you ski. On the whole, the idea is to keep your speed under control. On more difficult runs if you did not do this you would end up in hospital. My friend calculated that on a blue run we once reached about 40m.p.h. On a more practical level, skiing down a 3 mile run took us about 20 minutes. This included frequent stops for the fast ailing Mr. Tufnell.
There were, as I said, 2 draglifts at the summit of the mountain. These were used when the snow at the foot of the hill became bad for skiing through melting and becoming slushy around noon, and then freezing again, so becoming too icy. The snow at the summit was not prone to this as it never melted. As part of the holiday package we all got ski-lift passes which allowed us all to use all the draglifts and the cable-car as much as we wanted.
The ski instructors were provided 2 hours a day, in the morning. The instructors were Italian, and although their English was peculiar they were comprehendable. Normally, when skiing with instructors, we would ski in groups, according to ability. There were about 12 to a group. In the afternoon and in the morning before the lessons we would ski in groups with members of staff or on our own. Towards the end of the week most people were allowed to ski on their own, even on the red runs, but at no time were we to ski down the longer and more tiring mountain without an instructor or proficient member of staff.
In general, most people found the skiing enjoyable, except for the unfortunate few who injured themselves. The, average for school trips like ours is 1 in 50 returning with something broken. This year both groups had more than average. Perhaps this was to makeup for the year before when everyone came back completely intact.
After the skiing ended a bit after 4 pm. there was little to do. We stayed up until 10 or so, sometimes later to allow for disco-goers. There was the games room, and you could always go for a walk to the other hotel, but sensational events were limited to Mass on Wednesday evening and the Awards Evening on Friday night.
The coach arrived and with it havoc. In the rush the keys to one of the rooms was lost (or
stolen) and the hotel charged a hefty fine. In under an hour we were in Tolmettzo, a town
situated at the end of the valley, in a small plain between the mountains. Here we did our
last minute shopping. We left for the airport a bit before 6 pm.
The scheduled time of departure was 8.20 pm., but naturally Monarch Airlines managed a delay.
Therefore we waited, and discussed the chances of a crash etc.
When we did take-off the flight was fairly bumpy; it was interesting to note the reactions of some of the staff. We were also quite late - over an hour. We arrived at the school after midnight.
| 1980 Magazine Index | HOME |