Friday evening, 24 February, 8pm: the time has finally come! After everyone has said goodbye, the 14-hour journey to Neukirchen is a fact. Again for the 26th time.
A large amount of food is stocked to survive the drive and with a few stops, but without traffic jams, we arrive early the next morning, at our destination. Quickly all suitcases out of the bus towards the rooms and then straight back into the bus to collect all the necessary ski gear. Completely exhausted back at the Barngartenhof, we receive a warm welcome from Frans and Herta, the owners. Then, fortunately, there is first an obligatory rest moment for the whole group.
After the rest, everyone can try out their skis on the hill behind the apartment. For some this clearly goes better than for others. Fortunately, you can always blame the bad snow. Then it’s time for a typical Austrian meal, always lovingly prepared.
The next morning, punctually at seven o’clock, everyone is woken up with the famous cowbell. And for those who supposedly did not hear the cowbell, our own inexhaustible alarm clock Michael Kunst from the Netherlands came along. Waking up first thing every morning to get everyone out of bed in a cheerful way.
After breakfast, the B and D skiers go straight onto the real slopes and the A’s stay behind at the practice hill behind the house to learn the basics of skiing. The weather is quite bad this day with a lot of snow both on the piste and behind the house and the next two days it gets even less, but fortunately the sun finally breaks through. And the last three days we were able to enjoy top weather. Skiing is therefore alternated with sitting in the sun and making sure not to get sunburnt.
Besides skiing, we also have après-ski, of course. Enjoying a real Austrian beer at the local café Kanne is therefore daily fare. After après-ski, however, everyone quickly heads home to see if there is any hot water left for a shower. Fortunately, there usually is.
Over dinner, we go over the past day and look ahead to tomorrow. Then a short silence and it’s back to attacking. After dinner, everyone gets ready for the evening. Not to go to sleep, of course, but to go into the village for a while. With a large group, we leave at eight and twenty minutes later we are in the village. Once there, most of us head for the Kanne to have a drink. However, it is imperative to be home on time. At 10.30 precisely and not a minute later because otherwise we will not be allowed to ski the next morning.
On Thursday, it is time for carnival skiing. We have brought party clothes from the Netherlands and some are even more beautifully dressed than others. There is a monkey suit, a banana suit, a bunch of Easter bunnies and what the teachers call condom suits. The latter group wins the originality prize. In these clothes, we also do the slalom. Everyone is focused and wants to set the fastest time possible, and they succeed quite well. The rest of the afternoon is free skiing again. It is a hilarious sight as everyone is still wearing the carnival outfit. We attract a lot of attention.
Unfortunately, Thursday is also our last evening. This last evening ends every year with the award ceremony. Special guests have also come to the Barngartenhof, namely ski instructors Macha, Rubi and the owner of the ski school. After the prizes were awarded, the evening ended with a homemade drink by Franz.
On Friday, we had a wonderful day of free skiing until, unfortunately, it was time to return all our belongings and walk back to the apartment for the last time.
Then it really is time to return home after a week of pure enjoyment.
On behalf of all the students and teachers, I can say that we really had a super week!
For those who are in third grade or higher and would like to have a great ski holiday: definitely sign up next year!
Laura van Oortmerssen