IAPS Skiing Championships:

At the crack of dawn on Sunday 10th March, twelve eager children, one Beeston teacher, one Beeston Governor and a support team of parents reached Stansted Airport to catch the red-eye flight to Milan Bergamo, ready to take part in the IAPS Skiing Championships in Tonale, Italy. Having never participated in the event before, we didn’t know quite what to expect, but were greeted by Fran Hide and her excellent IAPS team and what unfolded over the week was a hugely enjoyable experience for all. Our week in Tonale began with a lunchtime arrival at the Hotel Dolomitti and straight into the pasta and pizza eating routine. Bedrooms were allocated, with our Year 8 boys George S and Ethan F looking after our youngest boys, Henry K and Luca N from Year 4. Lydia B-W was in charge of the Year 4 girls, Flavia B and Evie C which left the Year 6 boys, Joey H, Kit P and Finlay F together and the Year 6 girls, Zelie B and Arabella W, as roomies.

Our first day of skiing saw all twelve children slalom training as a team with our Race Instructor, Christian, to prepare us for the Qualifying Race the next day. We looked incredibly smart on the slopes in our new ski jackets, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Boyce and Norfolk Hideaways. All 328 competitors, Year 3 to Year 7 inclusive, from 28 different schools, raced in the Qualifying Race to determine which race they would take part in on the day of the competition. There would be a cut off time, and all those racers who were faster than this time would qualify to race in the Championship competition and the rest would race in the Plate competition. Our Year 6 boys (Joey H, Kit P and Finlay F) qualified for the Championship competition (with Joey H coming in 8th position of the whole field of competitors, 3rd in the U11 Boys)  and all our other racers qualifying for the Plate.  The Championship and Plate competitions were to take place on different slopes.

Race Day on Wednesday was really exciting. Each competitor was to race the course twice, with their best time counting towards team medals. The Year 6 boys came in 5th in the U11 Boys in the Championships, and we had silver medals for our U9 Mixed Team – Flavia B, Evie C, Luca N and Henry K – and bronze for our U13 Girls Team – Lydia B-W, Zelie B and Arabella W – in the Plate. It’s always lovely to come home with some silver ware!

The racing didn’t end there, as the next day Mr Boyce (a skeleton in a top hat) and Mr Sanderson (in his C&A ski outfit, circa 1970, which actually he’d been wearing all week!) represented Beeston in the Parents’ Race. There was a bit of a mix up when we all thought that they came in 2nd and 3rd, until somebody pointed out that, in fact, Mr Boyce’s bib number was Number 2, and Mr Sanderson’s Number 3!! Anyway, we certainly had the funniest fancy dress outfits on the slopes, that’s for sure!

The week was awash with so much fun: a Talent Show (banged out a little Joseph number as we had Ethan Fleming on tour, with his multi-coloured coat, and only happened to win our hotel’s show so the children had to perform again in front of about 350 people at Thursday’s Gala Dinner), bubble-gum blowing lessons, souvenir shopping, disco dancing, body-popping, more pasta eating than is humanly possible and so, so many laughs. The week was busy, well-organised and all the children did Beeston proud. A huge shout out goes to our wonderful parents supporting on the WhatsApp channel at home and slope side in Italy. Your help and enthusiasm was invaluable and very much appreciated.

On a serious note, many of the children taking part had done relatively little skiing on snow, but have been coming week-on-week to the dry slope in Norwich. I would love to encourage more of you to come along on Thursday evenings and learn with us. We’re aiming for IAPS next year too, so you never know, you could be joining us in Tonale 2020!

Ms. Kay