Top 10 things not to do on the UCL ski trip
Skiing is NOT like riding a bike
Four hundred UCL students decided to bombard the resort of ‘Les Deux Alpes’ this Christmas for the annual ski trip. As a complete beginner who only went for the apres, here’s what I learned…
1. Don’t forget to pack socks and if you’re a beginner, buy snow boots!
You will be thanking this article when you find a nice wine and charcuterie place to eat at. Trust me, this is what makes the trip worth it. At least then you can say you went on a ski trip in true UCL style.
There’s nothing worse than soggy feet, only maybe apart from soggy feet on a beginner skier. Walking to apres in your ski boots is a must, but having cold feet for 4 hours is horrible. Buy some nice snow boots to walk around the resort and grab a hot chocolate in.
2. Don’t Forget to order sheets to your hostel room and pack a towel
You might have thought it would be obvious you have to order sheets to your room, but put a group of six girls in a hostel room and wait for the assumption there would be no bedsheets!
Pack an extra pair of joggers if you are going to choose this bedding option, at least then you can fashion a pillow case. Nobody knows who has slept in that room before you, and by the look of some of the bed frames it’s likely you don’t want to know. They might provide you with a bath as well, but perhaps the bathroom is better suited to flip flops and some harsh anti-bacterial cleaner. Also, don’t forget to pack your towel. Even a beach towel will do, otherwise you will have your roommates constantly questioning: “Where the bloody hell is the tea towel!”
3. Don’t wait to get your ski stuff
Get your ski equipment as soon as you get to the resort because you know that queue is going to be long. You don’t want to waste time you could be spending on the slopes in a queue. The equipment hire included in your package will provide you with a helmet, skis, poles and boots. This should come in the pre-paid package you buy with the advice of the Snowsports society. This trip’s equipment hire, lessons and apres was organised by Wasteland ski, and this is the same for the next trip to Tignes.
4. Don’t forget to read signs carefully
UCL students beware, the reading of signs is actually a necessity, and apparently the excuse you don’t speak French doesn’t get you out of a sticky situation with the hostel security. Entering a lift fit for five, and trying to squeeze in around ten, was probably not the best idea. Yet, this is what was thought to be appropriate. At least our fallen friends were provided with brie to make this a truly french and typically UCL experience.
Signs on the slopes are also a must-follow. You could be lucky in this however, since most of these are colour-coded and non-verbal so you should be fine. Just remember to look for the green and blue poles and you are good.
5. Don’t assume skiing is like riding a bike
Now skiing is amazing, but you’re not guaranteed to do backflips on your first day. Sometimes being thrown into the deep end is a good thing, but definitely don’t trust your friends when they tell you “you’ll be fine, it’s only a blue” when all you have done so far are the baby slopes.
Trust in them they will pick you up when you fall, but you are going to have a bruised bum by the end of it. Your ego might also fare badly against the pro six year olds that fly past you on the greens (and the blues).
Don’t worry though, if you make the most of the apres and clubs, being intimidated by a six year-old hopefully won’t be the most humbling experience you encounter.
6. Don’t have none of your friends on find my iPhone
Now this ladies and gents is a real necessity, especially if you are prone to losing all of your belongings like me. Getting your phone lost in the snow is a disaster, but you might be able to find it again with the help of your friends (in the most cheesy way possible).
An even worse fate is the loss of your AirPods. Perhaps investing in a case which is another colour other than white wouldn’t be the worst idea. It tends to be quite snowy and white in the Alps, if you didn’t know that already.
If you don’t have any friends, or don’t have an iPhone, I would recommend keeping your phone in the zipped inside pocket of your ski jacket. That is, along with your lift pass, which you don’t want to lose!
7. Don’t look at how your friend is doing on a steep slope
Okay, I might have exaggerated when I said ‘steep’, we are beginners here. The key here is your likely to travel where you are looking, and some of us learned that the hard way. Words of encouragement are amazing, but falling dramatically into each-other is less than good. Unfortunately I don’t have that on camera…
If you don’t want to stand and ski, there are plenty of alternative options for you. Bum-ski is a great way of avoiding learning to be a pro, and it’s certainly better than falling into that position. At least then you can tell people you came down the hill that way on purpose.
8. Don’t forget to speak some French
The more advanced you are at butchering the French language is always historically welcomed by the French. Just have a couple of “Bonjours”/ “Anglais?”/ “Chocolat Chaud?” and “croissant siv vous plais” in your locker and you might get through the week.
My personal favourite, and a key phrase for ensuring survival, is “Je ne parle pas francias”. You might not be appreciated as an English person, but at least you tried.
Absolutely don’t forget the regional difference of “chocolatien” and “pan au chocolat” unless you would like to face some angry French people.
9. Don’t forget to warm up your vocal cords
This is a pro-tip they don’t tell everyone, but screaming on the way down is an absolute must if you are a beginner. If you can’t be the best in your group you can certainly be the loudest and most obnoxious. Perhaps if you reach the right pitch, people will be so distracted by the sound they won’t notice your terrible technique.
10. Don’t forget to invest in some nice salopettes
If your going to try and bum-ski down the hard slopes you might want to get yourself a nice pair of salopettes for the journey down.
The likelihood they will rip is a real possibility, and you don’t want to risk looking like an even bigger idiot.
UCL Easter Ski awaits…
This year’s Easter trip has been rumoured since December, and has already gained quite a bit of attention. Ticket sales for the Easter went out a week ago.
The trip will run from the 24th of March to the 1st of April, and if you choose to fly it’s best to travel between the 25th of March to the 1st of April.
The first 50 places are subject to a discount of £30 from the base ticket price. After the first 50 places are sold, tickets will be £519 which includes the accommodation, events and a resort wristband, and a ski lift pass. You will have access to the whole of Espace Killy which includes the area of Val d’Isere and Tignes, which means a lot of choices for the more experienced skiers, with around 300km of skiing.
As with the trip in December, this trip will expect you to purchase travel separately from the base price. The coach will be part of Wasteland ski who organises the trip, but you will have to source flights yourself. You can get some pretty good deals on easyjet and even British Airways, the common airlines which the December skiers opted for. Although Wasteland will offer airport transfers, they won’t organise the flights. You can also use Ben’s Bus to find an airport transfer that will take you close to the resort if you don’t get a place on the Wasteland transfer, or are getting a flight at an awkward time.
This trip will have Manchester University’s snow sports society in the resort the same weekend (MUSKI), as well at Northumbria, so be prepared to make some friends. Leeds University were at Les deux Alpes on the December trip which meant some pretty interesting apres.
Some DJs that are headlining include Holy Goof, Crazy P and Spy + MC lowqui.
You will also have access to the famous La Folie Douce in Val D’Isere.
More exciting information to come, so keep a look out on the @uclsnowsports instagram for info!
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