Ski team success at The British Schoolboys’ International Races

On the 26 January, 12 Eltham College students from a range of year groups set off to Wengen, Switzerland ski bound. We flew out from London City airport filled with delight at the prospect of ski racing in the British Schoolboys’ Championship. Upon arrival to Zurich Airport, we collected our many bags and skis and boarded the coach which would transport us to Wengen, so that our skiing could begin. After an enjoyable two hour drive we arrived at the bottom of the mountain, by this point the boys had put down their phones and were staring in awe at the marvellous scenery that surrounded us, making our large coach seem tiny in comparison to the snow covered mountains that dwarfed us. We boarded the train to take us up the mountain, and half an hour later we were in our village where we would be staying for the week. After a painful walk up, a snowy hill we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Belvedere. I speak for everyone when I say that we were happy to have arrived. That night we ate our first hotel dinner of the week and sharpened our skis, before getting an early night of sleep.

The next morning, we woke up and ate a large breakfast, before finally heading out onto the slopes. The first day was slalom training, and we had no time to take things easy as we had come to win, subsequently, we all returned to the hotel that night with “everything aching” in my own words.  However, the day did improve my skiing greatly. As this I the first time that I had ski raced on snow, and it was going better than I had imagined. The second day we followed the same routine, however now we were training for GS (giant slalom). This day was greatly enjoyable as I had never tried GS before, and was also very helpful in improving my skiing technique. I found the increased speed of GS and widened turns to be easier than slalom racing, even though in was on slalom skis. After this we had our first race, the dual slalom. The team consisted of the four of us and was made up of different age groups. We narrowly won this race and were then through to the next stage. Unfortunately, we came up against Reeds 1, who after beating us went on to win the entire race. But alas, we still had a good time and everyone on my team raced exceptionally well.

Day 3 of Wengen was the first full race day, the GS race. Most of my morning was spent warming up doing lots of free runs next to the course, trying to get a feel of what the course was like, to better prepare me for my first run. Eventually it came to my run, as I was one of the later numbers large ruts had built up at the harder turns, making the run more challenging. However, I managed to complete the run in a time of 56 seconds, which I was quite pleased with but knew I could improve. After some quick lunch I was up for my next run, after lots of advice from our ski coach, Emily. I set off, I completed that run in 54 seconds, but was quite disappointed because I made a mistake in losing too much speed on a turn.

After all the races all the Eltham racers did well, with notable performances being:

U16 Slalom bronze- Ben

U18 Slalom gold- Diaco

U18 Giant Slalom gold- Diaco

U14 Combined bronze- Johnny

U16 Combined Team silver- Theo, Alex, Luke and Fergus

Overall team award bronze- Matty, Ben, Diaco and Daragh.

Written by: Thomas W (Year 11)