Excerpt from Vinelines by Mr Follett:

As I type this week’s missive, I am in Italy with the Vinehall Ski Team following the IAPS Ski Championships at Passo de Tonale. The children have gained a huge amount from training seriously with some excellent instructors and being treated like serious sportsmen and women.

Following three days of training and a morning spent racing in the time trial on a terrifyingly steep slalom course, the four Vinehall teams had a further day of training on slalom courses before the big day itself on Thursday. The standard of competition was genuinely incredible and I was hugely proud of the way in which our skiers conducted themselves. Each day, the older pupils volunteered without prompting to carry the skis of the younger pupils and it was lovely to see the teamwork spread through the group, with them all cheering each other on and offering words of encouragement at every opportunity.

We found out that at least one school had brought in some ‘ringers’ who spend the winter season on the slopes, which rather goes against the spirit of the competition, but despite this all the children completed two clean runs down the course each and posted some excellent times. Individual performance of the day went to William Barrett, who narrowly missed out on the U13 gold medal, finishing less then half a second behind the winner in third place. Whilst all the teams raced brilliantly, the best result was our U11 girls’ team who won the bronze medal to everyone’s delight. Mrs Barrett deserves great praise for her organisation of the trip and ensuring that everyone had both a fabulous experience of serious ski racing, as well as great fun. I very much hope (as does Mrs Barrett and the parents who came out to support) that the school will return next year and make it a regular fixture in the annual sporting calendar.