Archive for The Trip

Jan 19

Just One Word … WOW!

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Today was our first full day in San Francisco and an opportunity to see a large amount of this beautiful city. After a full continental breakfast, we took to the footpaths of the world famous Lombard Street. Although we thought we were walking down Lombard Street, we didn’t realise that first we had to walk up it! It was certainly steep and it was quite entertaining to see Year 12 boys Luke Donlon and Nathan Salmon challenge each other to a hill sprint that would rival most. It wouldn’t be fair to tell you who lost – I can tell you that Nathan won though!

Once at the top of the hill (Hyde Street) we saw many city trams passing by and it was then time for us to walk down the iconic winding stretch of Lombard Street. It really was a beautiful stretch (if you can call it that) of road, although getting in and out of the driveways certainly looked a challenge for the residents!

From Lombard Street we headed to “Bay City Bikes” where each of us picked up a bike in preparation for our San Francisco riding experience. This was just fantastic. We rode along the shores of San Francisco Bay before we headed up the steep incline to the Golden Gate Bridge. Having our own famous bridge in Sydney did nothing to take away from incredible feeling as we rode along the bridge, stopping a few times to admire the incredible view of the bay, Alcatraz and some seals swimming below us. The weather was perfect for the ride and there is no doubt that this was an experience that we will all remember for a long long time.

We had a short break on the otherside of the bridge before heading back – the three hour bike ride, some of which was at a steep incline, certainly tested the fitness!

After dropping our bikes back we jumped on the coach and headed to Union Square for lunch. After a bite to eat, the boys had the choice of either heading to the “Beat Museum” or spending some time shopping in and around Union Square. For those of us who visited the many shops of the area, the walk was certainly an experience and it was fortunate that we had divided the boys into smaller groups, each being with a teacher at all times and the talk we had had with the boys last night now seemed to make more sense to them. We all certainly came to the conclusion that we were very lucky with the lives we lead.

Dinner tonight was at the ‘Burger Bar” which was a restaurant inside Macy’s – a large department store similar to David Jones. At the Burger Bar we had our own private function room which was great. Not only did it allow us to have some privacy as a group but it also gave us a chance to pause as a group before dinner and, led by Mr Thompson, give thanks for not just the food we were lucky to have but also the incredible experiences and opportunities that we had had over the last 8 days.

Today was a fantastic day that allowed us to see how beautiful the City of San Francisco really is and in looking back a few months to when we had to choose whether or not to have an extra day in San Francisco, I think we all agreed that it was definitely worth it!

Photo 1: Year 10 boys Mark Robinson, Scott Atkin, Patrick Jessup and Sam Scarlett at the top of Lombard Street.

Photo 2: Jordan Lewis (Year 8) on his bike preparing to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo 3: Year 9 boys Ben Rooney, Jackson Haynes, Tom Anderson, Daniel Amasi and Cain Nelson enjoy the amazing view of San Francisco Bay after riding over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Photo 4: Year 11 boys Max Beavis, Daniel Moscaritolo and Will Flannery getting ready to eat at the Burger Bar at Union Square.

Jan 18

Goodbye Heavenly – Hello San Francisco

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Leaving Heavenly was always going to be hard as each of the boys, in their own way, have got a huge amount out of their time here. As they say though, “all good things must come to an end” and this morning we finished our packing and boarded our bus to head back towards San Francisco.

The first stop along the way was to the Vacaville Premium Outlet Centre. This was an opportunity for the boys to have a walk around the centre and many of the boys found this a great opportunity to pick up some excellent deals, particularly in the clothing department. I have never seen so many shoes in my life as when I boarded the bus – clearly the boys plan on wearing them out quickly as they seem to have organised several replacements! When it came to the staff, I am not sure what to think when one boarded the bus with a skateboard and another with a fry pan! A third member of staff isn’t sure whether his wife is having a boy or girl … so bought for both!

The size of this place and the number of shops was quite extraordinary and I am pleased that we limited the time that the boys had there – if we hadn’t then the trip from that point was going to be extremely tight!

From Vacaville we continued towards San Francisco and stopped off for a guided tour around the Jelly Belly Factory. This was a part of the trip that I was not sure how it would go – as it turned out, it was a great experience listening to the history of the jelly bean, watching the factory in action and enjoying a few samples along the way! This stop was only a short one and within about an hour, after a few more taste tests and a some candy purchases, we were back on the bus and heading for dinner.

This evening we dined at the world famous “Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co Restaurant” at the even more famous Pier 39. Just the walk down the peer was an experience as we were able to window shop anything and everything. A few took some time before dinner to appreciate the view of Alcatraz and witness the Sea Lions bedding down for the night.

Bubba Gumps is a themed restaurant based around the movie Forest Gump. Some mid-dinner Forest Gump trivia organised by the waiters was well answered by the boys and the shrimp was superb. A good fun night, a solid feed and just a small taste of the scenery of San Francisco was an excellent way to end the day and take our minds off the fact that we had left Heavenly.

We arrived at the accommodation and set ourselves up for the evening and had a good chat about the importance of being sensible and inconspicuous in a city like San Francisco in order to ensure that the rest of the trip ran smoothly.

Yes it was sad to say goodbye to Lake Tahoe but it was certainly fantastic to move on to San Francisco!

Photo 1: Our full group just before departing Lake Tahoe

Photo 2: Sam Greig (Year 11) and Nathan Salmon (Year 12) admire a portrait of “William and Kate” made out of Jelly Beans.

Photo 3: Spencer Wilson (Year 9) sits on the the famous chair that was used in the movie Forest Gump.

Photo 4: Daniel Moscaritolo (Year 11), Jack Cullen (Year 11) and Max Beavis (Year 11) enjoy the view with Alcatraz in the background.

Jan 17

Let’s See Some Action

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Heavenly can never really be described to an extent where one will appreciate the beauty of it. In a similar manner, photos and video don’t do it justice. Having said that … we’ll certainly give it a go! Below is another video package. A huge thanks to Sam Greig (Year 11) who offered to put this one together for us. Enjoy!

Jan 16

Heavenly by Name – Heavenly by Nature

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We woke up this morning to the fantastic news that the winds had died down overnight and the snow arrived! Rooftops around the village were sprinkled with snow, making the already picturesque environment amazing. This news was greeted with great excitement as the boys prepared for their last day of skiing and boarding.

The gondola ride up the mountain was magnificent as we were able to look around the surrounding areas and see all the snow capped mountains.

Up on the slopes we had a fresh layer of powder to ski on and compared to the icy conditions that yesterday provided, the powder was a real treat. It was definitely the coldest day of the trip with Daniel Moscaritolo (Year 11) recording a -17 degrees at the top of the Olympic lift. But hey, we’re at the snow and 3000 feet above sea level!

The other bonus today was the opening of the “Skyline Trail”. This is a long run along the ridgeline and connects the Nevada side of the mountain to the California side and allowed us to ski all runs without having to catch a shuttle bus.

We thought we had seen some amazing views over the last week – none compare to that which the top of the Skyline Trail provided. Ben Williams (Year 9) and Harry Dodd (Year 9) climbed even higher to ensure that they were at the absolute peak of the mountain and enjoy the piles of fresh powder on offer to start a snow fight!

Although a little icy, the Ante Up Terrain Park was again popular for not only the boys but also some staff with lots of the group experimenting with the jumps and boxes on offer – some with not as much success as others!

A noticeable feature of the day was also the lack of people on the mountain. There were times when you could be skiing or boarding down a run and be forgiven for thinking you were the only one on the run. This meant no lines at the bottom of lifts and some flexibility in the manner we went down the slopes. It also meant that many of the group were able to catch up and ski together. In fact the last half hour of the day saw a group of about 20 boys and staff together cranking it down the mountain, up the lift and down again several times.

When asked about his last day on the slopes, Scott Atkin (Year 10) said that Skyline Trail was fantastic and he enjoyed the day of skiing more than any other day on the slopes.

Ewin Spinks (Year 9) said that he enjoyed the last day heaps, going on most of the runs on the mountain and also doing some filming in the terrain park. He did mention that running over a 6 year old beginner who had found himself on a blue run was not so pleasant!

Jack Foster (Year 10) had never skied before coming on the trip and upon reflection said “Heavenly was a fantastic place to learn how to ski. The weather was perfect for building my skills and I got further than I thought I would, eventually skiing most of the runs available on the slopes. I didn’t think that was possible when I started on the first day!”

Cameron Fazzari (Year 9) also agreed that it was the best day of skiing so far and particularly enjoyed the length of Skyline Trail because it turned into the Dipper run, making it a really long run.

It was certainly a tough ride down the gondola at the end of the day, knowing that we wouldn’t be coming back up again. We had been on the slopes for six days straight and although the locals kept telling us how the snow was nothing compared to last season, the terrain that we covered, the runs that we completed, the jumps attempted and fun had by all was just awesome!

For dinner this evening we were treated to an American tradition … the Hard Rock Cafe, Lake Tahoe. This was a fantastic experience as many of the music buffs of the group (led by Mr Sam Walker) enjoyed roaming the venue for pieces of memorabilia while the genuine American burgers were greatly enjoyed by all. Once again, like many things on the Nevada side of the boarder, to get to the Hard Rock Cafe, we had to walk through a casino, this time Harveys. It is interesting to note that on our walk from our lodge to dinner, we cross the boarder and in the very first block of Nevada, there are four casinos!

The big Hard Rock dinner was a great way to wrap up our time in Lake Tahoe and I know that the boys are looking forward to a similar experience when we visit San Francisco!

Photo 1: Year 9 boys Ben Rooney, James Ramm, Ben Williams, Nick Andrews, Cain Nelson, Nathan Dufficy, Daniel Amasi, Harry Dodd and Louis Collins enjoy the outstanding conditions.

Photo 2: Year 8 boys Ed McKenzie, Jordan Lewis, Callum Paterson and Joe Flannery drop in for a bite to eat halfway through the day.

Photo 3: Luke Donlon (Year 12) braves the extra cold conditions at the top of California.

Photo 4: Rohan Downs (Year 10), Patrick Jessup (Year 10), Sam Scarlett (Year 10) and Harry Hannell (Year 11) enjoy the American experience of Hard Rock Cafe.

Jan 15

High Winds Hit Tahoe

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We saw something totally new today … a cloud. For the first time on the trip we didn’t have a perfectly clear sky but rather a large cloud that poked its head above the mountain for about an hour and then disappeared, leaving the blue sky we are used to. Having said this, the wind did pick up significantly and this led to the gondola to the slopes being closed for the day. As a result, we had to shuttle bus it to the California base (about a 10 minute drive) and then spent the day on the slopes of California.

The wind on this side was still strong, particularly at the top, however it didn’t stop most of the boys remaining on the mountain for the full day!

With all skiers and boarders being more condensed on the slopes one would think that the lifts would have much longer queues … nope … we just hopped straight on as usual. The good thing was that we were all continually seeing each other around the slopes. It was great to see Nathan Dufficy (Year 9) and Nick Kovacs (Year 9) showing their creativity on the edges of the runs making the most of any little jump or groove that was there. They also took to a little racing down the slopes as well.

Jack Cullen (Year 11) met up with some locals and learnt the ins and outs of the mountain from them, while Nathan Salmon (Year 12) couldn’t be stopped as he cycled around the California runs until the very last lift of the day.

Despite some soreness, Luke McMahon (Year 8) and Luke Jolly (Year 9) remained on the slopes gathering some helmet footage and enjoying the wind protected areas of the lower California side. Similarly, a large group of the Year 9 boys headed back up the long California chairlift after lunch to really make the most of every second available to them on the mountain.

On arrival back this afternoon at 4:30pm it was straight into the spa for many of them – a venue which the Year 9 boys seem to have made their own!

For dinner we were back at the buffet of Mont Bleu – now experienced in the American buffets, the boys certainly left a dent around the serving area … particularly the deserts section with the Oreo ice cream being a favourite.

We now have just one day of skiing left and after a day today of limited terrain, the forecast for tomorrow is very positive with the winds much lower and even the possibility of some overnight snow! Sleep well … big day tomorrow!

Photo 1: Rohan Downs (Year 10) on top of the world.

Photo 2: Mark Robinson (Year 10) and Jack Foster (Year 10) enjoy the ride up the mountain.

Jan 14

See it for Yourself

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We have written a lot about our time here at Heavenly, now it is time to see just a small glimpse of it yourself. Below is a short video from today on the slopes. Enjoy!

Jan 13

A Day for Exploring

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Weather report … same old, same old … in other words … perfect! So rather than focusing on the incredible weather, let’s get straight onto what the boys have been up to on the mountain.

Today saw many of the boys being a little more adventurous with more than half of the group moving from the Nevada side of the mountain to the California side. This side has a few slightly harder runs but the advantage of having less people over there. This created some good opportunities for those with a little more experience as well as the opportunity to Mr Walker and Harry Hannell (Year 11) to get to know the Ski Patrol staff a little better. With the only way back to the gondola being a shuttle bus, many of the group spent the second half of the day on this side so they could head straight back to the lodge once the lifts closed.

Those who remained in Nevada found themselves exploring sections of each run which allowed them a little “air” or enough space to work on their backwards skiing. The latter half of the day saw a very quiet Nevada area and hence the chance to be on a run and feel as though you had it to yourself.

Enough from me though … what do the boys have to say? I spoke to many of them this evening and asked them what their most memorable moment on the slopes was today:

Mitch Davis (Year 8) said that his favourite part of the mountain is the back tracks of Nevada such as “Stage Coach” as these are longer and no one gets in the way. Ed McKenzie (Year 8) who has been boarding with Mitch explained his most memorable moment was when he somehow landed on his head and flipped and rolled and flipped and rolled down the hill after stacking it. Don’t worry … no injuries!

Lachlan Rush (Year 11) says that he is mostly enjoying the great blue skies and the long runs which compliments Sam Scarlett’s (Year 10) comments that the scenic views are just incredible.

When I asked Scott Atkin (Year 10) what his most memorable moment was he said “When I got run over by an American College chick. Now that was memorable”. He did, however, quickly decide that the amount and size of the food was also memorable, describing it by saying “Everything is just huge”.

Andre Bezuidenhout (Year 9) was not able to pick a single memorable moment as he said “I think it was falling off the side of the run, although my face plant was pretty memorable as well”.

Listening to to the boys chat on the way up chair lifts and around dinner tables, it is great to hear that they all have great stories from each day. The laughter appears to be non-stop and it is fantastic to see them having a ball but doing it sensibly, safely and respectfully.

This evening, dinner was another local Casino called Harrah’s. For those following this blog every day and starting to worry about where the boys are spending their evenings (keeping in mind we were at Mont Bleu Casino the night before), please don’t worry. The boys aren’t heading to the Blackjack tables – in the USA the casinos contain lots of family eateries and very large buffets. There are areas that kids can walk through and then areas which are restricted – no your son won’t arrive home with pockets full of chips!

As for the buffet we had … Scott Atkin’s comment sums it up perfectly. It was massive. There was everything and lots more! I guarantee you that the boys won’t come home lighter! Although with the amount of skiing they are doing it is unlikely that they will arrive home heavier!

After dinner this evening we all gathered for a night of American based trivia. Mr Thompson worked his way through three rounds of questions about lots of American questions ranging from their flag, to movies involving Alcatraz and even the singing abilities of some boys! With a few not so nutritious food as the prizes, the trivia was hotly contested with Jack Cullen (Year 11) making more than the occasional protest – generally to no avail.

We head into the weekend tomorrow where the lifts open a little earlier in order to allow everyone to get more out of the day.In addition, the boys will again have access to the terrain park. No doubt, another awesome day ahead!

Photo 1: Jordan Lewis (Year 8) and Ed McKenzie (Year 8) enjoy a short break at the top of the mountain.

Photo 2: Jack Cullen (Year 11) slides into a sudden stop.

Photo 3: Harry Dodd (Year 9) enjoys the snowboarding conditions.

Photo 4: Spencer Wilson (Year 9), Jackson Haynes (Year 9), Andre Bezuidenhout (Year 9) and Ewan Spinks (Year 9) … also known as team “Jeans and Joggers” get stuck into the trivia.

Photo 5: Louis Collins (Year 9) carves his way down the mountain.

Jan 12

Deja Vu In Heavenly

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We’ve now had two full days in Heavenly and as far as the weather goes, the two days have been identical – not a cloud in the sky! This has led to perfect skiing conditions where visibility is literally kilometres and the chill not too hard to handle.

I thought that today it would be good to get the boys perspective on how things are going and therefore I asked a few of the Year 12 boys (Nathan Salmon, Luke Donlon, Max Westacott and Brendon Follington to put together their summary of the day.

Thursday morning started much the same as Wednesday, except this time most of us made it out of bed and to breakfast on time. “Change” was on the agenda today as all the Year 12 boys chose to master snowboarding (as skiing was conquered the previous day and Max Westacott provided a free lesson and a discounted group rate. Needless to say all but one determined Nathan Salmon returned to the comforting familiarity of their skis.

Many memorable stacks were experienced throughout the day with Brendon Follington having a crash of considerable size, taking with him several acres of woodland and suffering a bruise on his elbow.

Nathan Salmon’s afternoon was spent in the hotel weights gym, where on his 47th rep of 250kg he was unable to lift any more and needed the assistance of Luke Donlon who was easily able to lift the weight from him. The others of us also sweated it out during the afternoon … in the sauna.

Tonight we had a buffet dinner at a local casino called Mont Bleau, with several boys taking the “All You Can Eat” opportunity to it’s furthest limits. After dinner we had some free time with boys making the most of the spa, sauna and their bed.

All in all, it was a good second day and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly, and no doubts will do so for the rest of the trip.

There is no doubt that things are going exactly to plan at the moment and the boys are not only having a great time but are doing so sensibly and respectfully. Yes, it is hard to get them out of bed in the morning, however, seeing them on the slopes each day going non-stop I definitely understand why!

Photo 1: Banjo Travers (Year 10) enjoys the amazing conditions at the top of California.

Photo 2: Harry Hannell (Year 11) questions “do I really have to ski with that view?”

Photo 3: Nick Kovacs (Year 9), Nathan Dufficy (Year 9), Dylan Chin (Year 9), Sam Scarlett (Year 10), Jack Foster (Year 10)Mark Robinson (Year 10) Patrick Jessup (Year 10), Scott Atkin (Year 10), Rohan Downs (Year 10), Andre Bezuidenhout (Year 9), Jackson Haynes (Year 9) and Cain Nelson (Year 9) make sure that they give everything a go at the buffet!

Jan 11

Happy Birthday Joe

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In most cases, the phrase “You only turn 13 once” would be accurate. For Joe Flannery (Year 8) though he has been lucky to experience it twice! On our flight to the USA he was 13 for about an hour before crossing the date line and all of a sudden becoming younger again (if only de-aging was that easy for us all). Today he woke up to be able to celebrate turning 13 for the second time!

Having never skied before, today was a pretty impressive way for Joe to celebrate his 13th birthday. I spent some time with him this afternoon and he has certainly come of age, developing his turning nicely and enjoying pointing his skis downhill to finish the runs off with speed! It won’t be long until he finds himself enjoying some of the blue runs here.

At dinner tonight, Joe was treated to a special Applebees Happy Birthday song and desert and then later this evening, in the absence of cake, Joe and his room mates enjoyed some chocolate brownies as a final celebration.

Congratulations Joe!

Photo 1: Year 8 boys Callum Paterson, Mitch Davis, Ed McKenzie and Jordan Lewis celebrate Joe’s birthday with him

Jan 11

A Blue Bird Day

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They use the phrase “Blue Bird Day” a lot here and as we headed onto the slopes of Heavenly today we saw first hand what exactly a Blue Bird Day is. We had totally clear skies, very little wind, a chill in the air to remind us of where we were and the very pleasant surprise of plenty of snow to ski on.

There is no doubt that compared to this time last year, the snow season has been very limited – but that is the sport of skiing/boarding and something that you have to learn to live with throughout the world. Having said this, with the American kids back at school this week, the time on the slopes today was pretty awesome with no waiting in lines at the lifts and the slopes not crowded at all. What this meant was that it was a full day of skiing with little time to rest.

To give you an idea, here in Tahoe, all accommodation is in the village and each morning everyone catches the gondola up the mountain to the slopes. In our case, we are about 200m from the gondola and in fact it goes right about our pool. The trip up the mountain is about 20 minutes but this is 20 minutes of just beautiful scenery as you look over Lake Tahoe.

The slopes themselves today were well groomed and a joy to ride. There is something for everyone with some entry level slopes for the beginners and then some wonderfully long wide runs for those who have skied for some time. For those with a little more adrenalin in their system, the terrain park got a nice work out as well.

I knew it had been a great day of skiing when with about 45 minutes to go in the day, I came across Callum Coleman (Year 11) having a lesson and he was just exhausted. He had spent the day enjoying the top to bottom runs, jumping straight on the chair lift and doing it all again, over and over!

The views on the mountain are simply spectacular. To be standing in snow at the top of the mountain below a clear blue sky and looking across at the mountains and down to the lake was amazing and I am not sure if there is anything like it in the world!

This evening we had dinner at a local restaurant called Applebees. As we are now used to here, we were fed until we were full, enjoying a wide options of meals ranging from a perfectly tender steak to the hottest chicken wings anyone has ever tasted!

This evening the boys had the chance to either have a quiet night in the accommodation or go to the movies. It wasn’t surprising to see most boys choose to have a quiet night with the temptation of the spa too much and several of them in bed before 9pm – what a great sign that the skiing and boarding is fantastic here!

Come the end of the day we had a group of boys and staff who, not withstanding a few sore muscles and backsides, were injury free and worn out from a superb day on the slopes – and the great news is we get to do it all again tomorrow!

Photo 1: Yep – that is what we were forced to put up with. It is hard work having to enjoy a view like that while skiing the beautifully groomed runs!

Photo 2: Spencer Wilson (Year 9) and Tom Clark (Year 9) enjoy the trip up the gondola.

Photo 3: Scott Atkin (Year 10), Patrick Jessup (Year 10), Jack Foster (Year 10) and Mark Robinson (Year 10) get stuck into their meals at Applebees.

Jan 10

A Relaxing First Night

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The last article made comment of how much sleep one got on the plane depending on who you sat near. Clearly from the photo in that article there were a few who didn’t sleep a lot. Well … have a look at the same boys on the bus trip!!!

The time on the bus was shorter than expected and with a stop for lunch halfway along, during which some of the boys met some very generous locals sporting gifts, the 4 hours seemed to fly by and we arrived at Lake Tahoe before the scheduled time.

When you use a travel company to travel overseas as we have for this trip, one of the things that you have to trust is their choice of accommodation and it is not until you get there that you really know what you are getting. This evening when we arrived at the Forest Suites Resort, any concerns were laid to rest as we entered a beautiful lobby featuring incredibly comfortable lounges set in front of a warm fire. Within a short time we were heading off to settle in and there is no deception in the rooms being referred to as suites – they are exactly that and provide the boys with plenty of room with the addition of a kitchenette. A big thanks to “Educating Adventures” who picked out the accommodation which is perfect for the boys.

This evening the boys took a short stroll down the pedestrian village to The Powder House where everyone was fitted with their gear for skiing and boarding tomorrow. It was great service and with this now out of the way, we are all ready to hit the slopes first thing in the morning.

Talking about the village … it is a picturesque little holiday village of which I have taken no pictures! Tomorrow night the boys have some time at the various venues so hopefully I will have some shots to show you.

After the fittings we headed back to the suites for a casual dinner. Now, we thought it would be best if we warned the locals that the boys will eat a lot. So in came the pizzas. It was not just Pizza Hut but Pizza Hut on steroids … they were huge!!! And they were regular … apparently the large pizzas are bigger. In Sydney 2 pizzas between three boys would be scoffed down in no time. In Lake Tahoe … most boys were taking left overs back to their rooms. Add to that the brownies and Coke and there were no empty stomaches!

After dinner the boys had some time to just relax and settle into the accommodation. Many of them made the most of the spa and pool, often jumping between the two and certainly having a great time. Some made the most of the games room, playing some pool and arcade games while others enjoyed the time on couches in front of the fire and, in their own words, having a D & M!

We spent about 20 minutes going through some of the important matters regarding the trip and I have to commend the boys on the manner in which they were able to listen and concentrate during this, despite their excitement about being in another country and only 12 hours from hitting the slopes. It was important that they were able to listen during this time and they were excellent. As I pointed out to the boys this evening, this compliment about their manners and maturity was also noted by the stewards on the flight into the USA.

So … a big day of traveling followed by a relaxing night around the spa and fires – the perfect start to a ski trip!

Photo 1: James Ramm (Year 8) and Ben Williams (Year 8) making up for some lost sleep.

Photo 2: Max Beavis (Year 11), Jack Cullen (Year 11), Will Flannery (Year 11), Callum Coleman (Year 11) and Daniel Moscaritolo (Year 11) enjoy some pool in the games room.

Photo 3: Brendan Follington (Year 12)Lachlan Rush (Year 11)Sam Greig (Year 11)Rohan Downs (Year 11),Harry Hannell (Year 11)Daniel Amasi (Year 9)Sam Scarlett (Year 10)Nick Andrews (Year 9)Dylan Chin (Year 9)Ben Williams (Year 9)Patrick Jessup (Year 10) and Scott Atkin (Year 10) enjoy the warmth and relaxation of the spa.

Jan 10

Watch Out San Fran … We’re Here!

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After 13 hours on our United Airlines flight, and the softest landing ever experienced, we have arrived in San Francisco. Most of us managed to get a few hours sleep on the plane, although this depended on which Joeys boys you were sitting near. The usual aircraft food didn’t do a lot to help its reputation but hit the spot a few times during the flight.

So far things have run very smoothly and we are just a little ahead of time. As I type we are on our charter bus (equipped with its own WiFi) driving over the Bay Bridge (so I am told by our navigator Sam Walker). As we look out to the left we can see Alcatraz (which we will visit later in the trip) and the harbour is just massive.

Now, I know that in the USA they drive on the wrong side of the road, however, as we drive across this bridge I now realize that they also drive on top of each other – I was confused about where cars going in the opposite direction were until I was told they were above us!

It is a beautiful day here in San Francisco – about 10 degrees, clear sky with a little fog – not unlike our own winter.

So, we have this 4 hour bus trip and will arrive at Lake Tahoe at about 5:30pm. Hopefully a lunch stop is not far away and wherever we do stop … watch out!

Photo 1: Louis Collins (Year 9)James Ramm (Year 9) and Ben Williams (Year 9) show an incredible ability to maintain their energy for the whole plane trip!

Photo 2: A quick shot taken from the Bay Bridge

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