The UWE ski trip to Les Deux Alpes successfully lived up to the notoriously uninhibited nature of typical university ski trips. A 23 hour booze fuelled coach trip set the tone for a week tucked away in the mountains without the shackles of work or deadlines to attend to. Instead it was a week of skiing and drinking, much of the time partaking in the two simultaneously. Despite the worrying lack of snow when arriving at the resort, there was enough higher up the mountain to satisfy six full days of skiing and snowboarding. A lack of alcohol was no such worry, armed with 5 litre jerry cans of wine, students invaded the hotel on arrival to prepare themselves for the first night of a no holds barred holiday.
Though we were in France, it felt like a little part of England with the scores of English students that were in the resort at the same time. Universities from Nottingham, London and Exeter were all in attendance and helped to create the vibrant party atmosphere that was an inherent part of the ski trip. However, there was some serious skiing to be done too. Despite the summertime nature of the town, once a couple of hundred metres up the mountain there was good snow to be found. A key feature of Les Deux Alpes is its glacier; sitting at 3200 metres it provides skiing all year round as well as stunning views reaching as far as Mont Blanc. Starting at the top after literally being dragged up by a lift, you might choose to go down the green run on the left, or the slightly harder option and go down the blue on the left which also splits off into a red later on. Whichever one you go for, it spits you out onto a blue run not that different from a motorway. Incredibly wide and fast, although not particularly steep Signal was a leg-burner that gave the chance to safely build up some speed without much fear of seeing your skis fly off while you fly off the edge of a cliff.
Travelling down the mountain after having a break on the chair lift from the pressures of Signal, it was compulsory to stop at the Pano Bar for après-ski. The highlight of the holiday for a many, it is essentially an outdoor nightclub situated halfway up the mountain. Though drinks prices were expensive, taking up a hipflask was an easy way to beat the goat on the cheap, as long as you avoided swigging in the wandering eye of the bouncer. By the end of the 2 hour extravaganza it was time to attempt to ski back down to town. Not in exaggeration, this was quite a challenge. With it getting a bit dark and vision slightly impaired, combined with alcohol it allowed for a fair few falls in the diminishing daylight. Once you had got to the last run that would take you home you could either go down a flat, winding green run. Or you could try the icy black called Valentin. Though extremely steep, it was rightly satisfying once you eventually got down in one piece!
Once back at the hotel, after showering and eating it was time to get ready to leave for the bars again. Yeti bar was the closest, but L’Avalanche and Bresilien were probably the most popular; whilst the Rum bar, which sells over 100 different flavours, was also a hit on the last night. After staying out till the early hours, one might have thought it would be tough to get up and see through a full day skiing. However, skiing is by far the best hangover cure. With this in mind it was easy to get up after 4 hours sleep with the lure of fresh mountain air and the sun shining through the window. This was the pattern for the week, making it an extremely fitting week for the end of term with a perfect balance between skiing and partying.