Switzerland for Ski School TripsCamp Suisse
Richard from Camp Suisse Ski is talking to us about Switzerland as not just a destination for ski school trips but why it is THE destination that you probably never thought about.
Hi Richard, thanks for taking time out to talk to us today. When most teachers think of a ski school trip they normally think of France as a destination, what is it that makes Switzerland stand out as an excellent choice for teachers?
"Switzerland is very proud of its traditions and heritage which is immediately evident in its ski villages and ski areas. Where many of the French ski resorts were built from scratch and built big in the 1950s and 1960s, their Swiss counterparts have developed ski resorts combining this tradition and heritage with modern day tourism. The result is an old-world charm for winter sports enthusiasts.
Switzerland is also the most diverse among the alpine winter sports destinations combining four languages within its borders. With CERN, the UN, the IOC Headquarters and a progressive environmental approach, Switzerland is second to none for any cross curricula trips. The pistes tend to be quieter too!
What is the travel like to your resorts, is it easily accessible from most major UK airports?
"We are able to include travel to resort by either coach from school or by air into Geneva (ATOL 9780). We only operate in a number of carefully selected resorts within a two hour transfer of Geneva Airport.
When is the best time to visit to guarantee snow on a school ski trip to Switzerland? When does the season usually begin and end?
"This really depends on where in Switzerland you are talking about. Traditionally in Switzerland the winter season opens the week before Christmas and ends the weekend after Easter Sunday. One of our main locations, Les Crosets, has a village height of 1,700m and has just installed state of the art snow making facilities allowing for guaranteed snow throughout the season.
Are your resorts good for first time skiers? And do the children get plenty of tuition while they are in resort?
"Absolutely. We recognise some ski areas are better for beginners than others and this is why we have a number of resort options within our portfolio. Les Crosets and Torgon have great beginner areas and are relatively quite compared to other ski areas especially during high season. This allows for more skiing in a safe environment and less queuing. All our packages come with 5 hours per day tuition with the local Swiss Ski school. We work very closely with our ski schools to ensure there is pedagogical approach to lessons. Outside of lessons we also offer Mountain Safety courses to further increase the educational theme of the trip.
How far away from the ski slopes is the accomodation, and do you provide transport?
"In Les Crosets our hotels are based right next to the pistes and in Champery we are right next to the cable car. Nobody wants to walk far in ski boots! In any resort where transport is required we arrange this for our groups and make the transfer to and from the slopes each day as easy as possible .
Are your ski trips solely about fun on the slopes or can you link into areas of the school curriculum?
"At Camp Suisse we also offer MFL, STEMS and Geography field trips and quite often combine these subjects with a school ski trip. French language lessons, visits to CERN, the UN, the IOC as well as the surrounding glaciers and lakes can all be incorporated into a school ski trip.
Do teachers have to spend all day with the students or do they get some free time to do some skiing or snowboarding themselves?
"Teachers are free to ski and snowboard during the day. The instructors from the Swiss Ski School are in control during the lessons and the Camp Suisse staff are always on hand to help with lunchtime supervision and any equipment changes or issues that arise during the day.
Which resorts can you offer and what makes them great for UK school groups?
"Safety - small villages and big ski areas. We offer a number of different resorts for school ski trips; Les Crosets and Torgon (both in the Portes du Soleil) and Nendaz (in the Four Valleys of Verbier). Each village is relatively small and part of a big ski system. This allows for a safe, calm and contained approach outside of skiing whilst having enormous areas and unlimited opportunity for development during lessons.
Can you tell us a bit about the evening entertainment or apres skiing for the students and also about the style of accommodation they will be staying in?
"We design the apres ski and evening programs with teachers to ensure we are meeting the aims and objectives of the trip. For example we can organise anything from swimming and games to Avalanche Awareness Courses through Swiss Mountain Training. Other activities include torch lit walks, indoor climbing, sports, quiz nights and of course a disco - an essential part of any school ski trip.
Final words of wisdom, Richard, why should teachers consider Switzerland to get the most out of their ski school trip?
"It is safe, clean and quieter!
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