The 37th Cranleigh Prep School skip trip headed for Arosa in Eastern Switzerland this March, the fifth consecutive year in this fine resort and the eighth visit there in the last nine years.
After a silly o’clock start from Heathrow we headed towards the Walensee, stopping just short of that gorgeous lake to eat lunch at arguably the best motorway services in the world, the Glarnerland Marché, and then arriving at sun-soaked Chur to transfer to the spectacular train ride up to our destination.
The Hotel Astoria never fails to please and so it was this time. Oli and Edith Schmidt welcomed everyone from Cranleigh Prep warmly on arrival and continued throughout the week to offer outstanding hospitality at the family friendly run hotel.
Skiing at the end of March may present risks of lack of snow in some resorts but this is not so in Arosa which has an altitude of 1739m on its side. The pistes were in perfect condition until lunchtime after which they became soft. However, with no lift queues, everyone could fit in lots of skiing before a well-earned lunch at a different mountain restaurant every day.
What was impressive was the fantastic weather. There was just one snowy day with poor visibility, which gave the children the optional opportunity to visit the newly-opened bear sanctuary.
Many adventurous skiers, both children and adults, ventured over to Lenzerheide, now connected by a massive cable car to Arosa, for even more fun. Meanwhile, back on the nursery slopes, the beginners were progressing fast to the greens and blues higher up.
Off the slopes all the extra activities kept the children busy and entertained – tobogganing, bingo, bowling, quiz night and fancy dress, always a favourite, judged this year by some former CPS siblings on the trip.
Mr Brunton, who was also on the first ski trip organised by Mike Howard in 1984, gave a moving tribute to him, as this was his final CPS ski trip. Gifts and cakes were given to Mike as a huge thank you to him for all the fun he has made happen on so many wonderful skiing holidays, since they began 35 years ago (with two per year in some cases).
A big thank you also to Rosie Sharpe, Nick French and Eleanor Jolly who accompanied Mike, plus the 39 children and lots of parents. We look forward to many more trips ahead under the capable hands of Dudley Manning who will be taking on the lead for next year.