Before you embark on one of the greatest adventures of your lifetime that is University, everyone will tell you… GET INVOLVED. And it’s true, you should get involved. Come Fresher’s week however, and that formidable decision on which clubs or societies to become part of soon becomes harder than grasping the concept of a ‘reference’ in your first scientific writing essay.

That’s why I’m here, to introduce you to the concept of SNOWSPORTS, and in my (entirely unbiased) opinion one of the best clubs in UCD.

The Annual SNOWSPORTS ski trip is the highlight of the SS calendar. Aside from the weekly trips up to the dry slopes of Kilternan and the ‘very civilised get-togethers’ post lessons (yeah right!), the Ski trip is where all those weeks of practise  and making friends with other members of the club are put to the test in what will probably be one of your best student holidays EVER!!!!!!

This year the trip took place between 9th – 18th January. Picture this. It’s 6:00am and 200 UCD students are dressed in onesies, pyjamas and outrageously coloured beanie hats on a cold January morning, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the coaches that would transport them on their 30 hour bus journey to their destination- The glorious French Alps.

Fast forward almost 2 days of sing songs, outrageously rocky ferry crossings and countless showings of Guardians of the Galaxy and our journey was complete.

Alpe D’huez is a resort in the French Alps, with the highest point (Pic Blanc) reaching 3,300m (for those of you who can’t put that into perspective- It’s pretty high) and apparently on a really clear day almost a fifth of France can be seen from this point! It also boasts the longest ski run (16km to be exact) in Europe and the 21 bends of the road leading up to Alpe D’huez provide one of the most challenging stages of the Tour de France. In addition to the wonderful Nature they also know how to do GREAT APRÉS… The plot thickens.

A typical day in the lives of a bunch of students let loose in a snowy mountain range in France goes a little like this. It’s 10.00am and the inhabitants of our room have slowly started to show signs of life after the countless alarms that were set the night before but somehow all mysteriously managed to snooze/turn off. The first chair lift to the pow-pow had been well and truly missed so at this stage nobody really felt too bad about the extra cheeky 20 minute lie- in. That said, all is well and good until members of the committee knock around the bedrooms banging posts and pans, threatening not to move until everyone is up. They do really have your best interests at heart though. Once you feel the cold, crisp, snowy wind on your face, not to mention the incredible views from the top of the mountain, it has the incredible power to heal any sick stomach, headache or blurred vision…. you name it. It’s a miracle in disguise. It’s like there’s paracetamol in the snow or something…. Crazy shtuff.

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After a few hours of gliding down the mountains like a Gazelle or perhaps tumbling down as incompatible with your skis as an apple presentation on a Windows laptop, its lunch time. Dotted around the village and at the bottom of piste runs are a variety a chalet/ tavern style restaurants. Pizza will be on the menu. You might get lucky with a Panini or pommes frites, but it’s most likely going to be pizza. They’re the really tasty kind though so there were rarely any complaints and I mean the option to head back to the apartment to boil a few eggs was always there? Did I mention you could have pizza?

With the energy levels confidently replenished, it’s time again to head back out and discover the mountains and all the snow has to offer both on and off piste before either choosing to stay out until the last lift closes (hardcore skiers and snowboarders) or simply accept that at half 3 you had put in a lot more effort than you had initially anticipated and it was now time to enjoy a peche-beer, LA FOLIE DOUCE music and the incredible views, all of which successively achieved while dancing on the tops of tables among 200 other like- minded people.  Oooooooooh heaven is a place on earth…

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At 5 O’clock darkness begins to descend upon the resort and everyone returns home to chill out before the real celebrations that night. As an ex- skier I remember only too well what it’s like to take off ski boots after a long day and the oh the relief…. is an understatement. Luckily us snowboarders don’t have that problem and sometimes I ended up just completely forgetting to take them off. Evenings were spent eating and relaxing and getting ready for whatever outrageous theme was planned for that night.

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SNOWSPORTS trips are known for their crazy theme nights, taking place every night. About two weeks prior to the trip, the themes for each night are revealed and trip goers have to do their best to come up with costumes that are as creative as possible. The trip normally starts with a more low key cable tie night where, pretty much self- explanatory , pairs of people are tied together for the night, with the group who lasts the longest coming out as winners. They then get progressively crazier as the week develops, with the final night then being ‘anything goes but clothes’. You can wear anything you like, so long as it’s not an item of clothing. Have you ever tried a toga in the snow? It ain’t easy…..

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And so the cycle repeats itself the next morning with the buzzing of alarms and the clattering of pans.

SNOWSPORTS is completely open to everyone, from pro’s to complete beginners and lessons are also available while on the trip to anyone feeling nervous about hitting the slopes for the first time. It’s an extremely friendly club with so many opportunities to really get involved and improve and meet people from others courses and years that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise!

 

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