On Friday 25th January, our Ski Race Team of seven girls flew out to Flaine, France, to take part in the British Schoolgirls' Races. It was the 60th anniversary of the races, so it was quite a special occasion.
These races are going to be remembered for the amount of snow and how cold it was. It was a constant -10, and that wasn’t even including the wind chill factor at the top of the piste.
The girls trained all day Saturday and Sunday with our wonderful ski coach, Vincent Channel. (The training finished early on Sunday due to the weather). We had an early start on Monday morning, with our Captain, Ella, collecting the race bibs, ready for the Giant Slalom. There were 153 girls racing in four age group categories: u14, u16, u18 and u21. We had girls in the u16 and u18 categories, even though the UIV (Year 9) are classed as u16. There were some amazing ski racers there and it was fabulous to see future Olympians come down the course. The Grand Slalom course was quite tricky and unfortunately Ella's bindings released, causing her to crash. Celeste, Amelie (A Team), Amber, Lily and Pollyanna (B Team) managed to get down and have a second run.
All in good spirits after day one, we hit the crêperie and ate till our hearts content. Day two brought the Slalom Race, this is much more technical than the Grand Slalom. It was a very cold day and the course was busy with banana gates and verticales. The last gate was a verticale with a stray red pole which caused much confusion and some disqualifications. We managed to get five out of six skiers down to have a second run. The most eagerly awaited competition - the duel parallel races - was unfortunately cancelled due to dangerous skiing conditions.
This year's team was a very young and race-naive team, but they held strong and tried their hardest. Celeste and Amelie had never raced before, however Celeste managed to gain 9th out of 28 racers in the u16 category.
It was a truly fantastic week of training and racing. A huge thank you must go to Nancy for all her hard work, Vincent for his everlasting patience and coaching and to Martin from White Horse Taxis for managing to get all our luggage to the airport and back!
Mrs Natalie Baldwin, Head of Activities and Physical Education Teacher