5 days, 4 ski resorts, 3 miles pushing a car up a mountain, 2 ski lessons and 1 dented pride… that’s how I would describe my pre-Christmas ski inspection visit!
In the run up to Christmas I travelled to Italy on my very first ski inspection visit with my colleagues Mike, Oli and Vanessa. Somehow I was nominated for the 3.15am drive to Manchester Airport, supposedly the right of passage for anyone’s first ski IV! I managed to get some much-needed sleep on the plane and before we knew it we found ourselves in Milan, packing our luggage into the hire car and heading for Folgaria.
Folgaria offers great value for money, plenty of accommodation options in the town and near the ski lifts, and a variety of après options when you’re all skied out! The next morning, we visited some of our favourite hotels in the resort to re-familiarise ourselves with the facilities and ensure they were all ready for our visiting groups this season.
Then it was time for my first ever ski lesson, the moment I’d been waiting for. It was a tentative start, but I soon got the hang of it… or so I thought. Confidence soon turned into competitiveness and I found myself at the top of a piste with my colleagues, who I should say at this point are very experienced and accomplished skiers. After a large number of crashes, injuring my knee and thumb, I finally made it to the bottom… courtesy of being strapped to a stretcher and pulled by a skidoo, much to Oli’s amusement!
Fear not, I was OK, and having delayed our journey to Madonna di Campiglio for long enough, we set off for the Hotel Catturani. Perfectly located for the ski school meeting point and right next to the ski lifts, it’s a great hotel option in this picturesque resort. After a steady 12 courses at the local steakhouse, it was time for the most important part of the trip, the East Midlands Derby, Derby County v Nottingham Forest. Courtesy of Mike’s generosity with his excess data, I was able to watch the whole match on my phone. Sadly it wasn’t a classic, but a welcome break from Oli’s numerous pictures and videos of me on a stretcher – thanks Oli!
We realise the importance of being able to offer you fantastic hotels in great locations, so the next morning we took a look at a potential new hotel. Whilst the others set off to explore the quality of the pistes, I returned to my room nursing my injuries of the day before, and preparing our route to the next resort on our IV list, Aprica.
You’re now among the first to hear about the latest ski resort to be added to our portfolio in 2019! The staff at the local ski school went above and beyond to show us everything that Aprica has to offer, including the local delicacies. Thanks to them and, rest assured, we will be back!
Next, it was off to one of our most popular ski resorts for schools in this area, Madesimo. This has to be one of the more eventful car journeys of my life, taking around 4 and a half hours to complete the 2 hour 15 minute journey. A combination of some non-fitting snow chains and Mike and I pushing the car up a snowy mountain for 3 miles meant that we arrived in Madesimo a lot later than planned, but we made it! If you’ve not been to Madesimo, you can expect great snow conditions for most of the season due to skiing up to 3,000m, fantastic piste-side accommodation and a variety of terrain, making it great for beginners and intermediates.
Our final day meant I got to enjoy ski lesson number two and, after a wobbly start, it was thankfully much more successful than lesson one, or the aftermath! As I hadn’t seen the resort before, Mike gave me a tour and we visited another hotel we work with. Sadly, before we knew it, it was time to make the trip to the airport to return home.
Although painful at times (mostly my pride), my first ski experience was really enjoyable and gave me an extremely valuable insight into the resorts we work with and what makes them so perfect for school ski groups. I’m looking forward to couriering a trip in February now, but perhaps I need to remember technique over speed so that I might make it home in one piece!
Andrew Rose, Tour Consultant