Brunel Snow Club Winter Tour 2014 Report
#KeithHitsTignes #BrunelSnowClub #WinterTour2014 #Brunel

In the early afternoon of the last day of term, members of Brunel Snow Club began to converge upon Brunel’s local drinking hole, the fine establishment that is Locos, bringing with them a vast assortment of bags, kitted out in onesies and club hoodies. This wasn’t our weird way of preparing for a massive night out at mega global, but was the final preparatory moments prior to leaving for the Annual Brunel Snow Club Winter Tour!

This year the much-anticipated Winter Tour 2014 was based in Tignes, situated in the Tarentise Valley within the Alps, in France’s Savoie region. Alongside Val d’Isere, another main French resort, it forms what is known as the Espace Killy ski area. Boasting 300km of ski runs at altitudes ranging from 1,550m to 3,450m, and being well known for its excellent snowparks, freeriding, the 4th longest funicular in the world and not to forget an outstanding après ski scene, it certainly looked to be an awesome week on the slopes. A funicular, by the way, is a train that runs on tracks like any normal train but however it does so at an incline. The funicular in Tignes travels upwards through the mountain, taking you from the snow front of Val Claret (2,100m), one of the five villages that makes up Tignes and where we would be staying, to 3,030m, just a short hop from the mountain top glacier in seven minutes.

Anyways, more on the resort later, but for now back to our trip! We headed over to the IAC at around 4pm to catch our coach. The total estimated time for the journey would be roughly around 18 hours, heading round the UK’s national car park (the M25), down through Kent to Dover, taking a ferry across to Calais, before steamrolling it past Paris and down to the French Alps. Both coaches had an assortment of DVDs for entertainment and much sleep was had before arriving in resort around midday.

Unfortunately due to circumstances out of our control we had to wait for our rooms which wouldn’t be available till 5pm, but this gave people time to look around and go get their ski/board and boot hire from the rental shop down in Le Lac - a short bus ride to the next village also part of Tignes. The hotel complex we would be staying in was called Residence Le Ron Point Des Pistes and is situated right next to the first set of chair lifts and the funicular. It is also not far from the main nightlife hotspots making it an excellent location for the week’s activities.

The first night out on the town saw Brunel dress their age. This involved gearing up based on your year of study from freshers dressing as babies up to final years and graduates dressing as OAP’s. We hit a lovely little bar called Couloir before heading to Blue Girl known for playing awesome Europop and the odd bit of RnB. The other themes for the nights out were ABC - Anything But Clothes with several bin bag and bed sheet outfits on show, Trip T-shirt, Christmas, Rubiks, and the ever-mysterious Skuba Keith. Keith is a moose. He is a member of Snow Club. He is our mascot. He’s cool!

This year’s trip had the added experience of both a Funicular Party and a Pool Party. The Funicular Party was awesome! Brunel got kitted out in our Trip T-Shirts, representing both club and university, and then grabbed the Funicular to the top of the mountain. Once there, the mountain top restaurant had been turned into a nightclub playing some banging tunes and serving pints of beer and wine by the shed load. This night proved to be one of the highlights of the trip. The other university also at this party was UWE and some great banter was seen flying between the two groups.

The universities present in Tignes for the week were Sussex, Brighton and Liverpool. As I’ve already mentioned, the other main night out was a pool party! This again involved both Brunel and UWE, this time heading down to Le Lac to jump in the local indoor pool. There was a slide, whirl pool, Jacuzzi section and of course DJ’s. All who went had a crackin’ time, including and especially Keith the moose.

Of course we must not forget the main reason for being in Tignes - hitting up the awesome array of pistes. Now I must admit that initially it was quite light on the snow, but however throughout the week we saw snow fall on a number of the days leading to some good piste-bashed runs to hit up in the later part of the week. It was awesome to see all of our new members who were beginners to intermediates taking to the slopes and progressing from strength to strength throughout the week. Many of our more experienced members had opted for extended lift passes with which they were able to head over to Val d’Isere for a larger assortment of runs.

A highlight on the slopes was the annual mountain gamma’s or Valley Rally as it is traditionally known. On the Thursday, members got into teams and took part in a number of fun but challenging tasks at different checkpoints down a run, with the finish being at Le Coffee - the location for that days après ski party. Congratulations to team Polly consisting of Andrew Sapsford, Matt Ruffel, Liv Carpenter, Gordon Lester, Dan Heath-Caldwell, and Setareh Farzad who were decided to be the winners!

I think that pretty much covers everything! It was an awesome week! It was great to see newcomers, regulars, and some old faces all having an amazing time on the slopes and nights out. Unfortunately, however, the winter tour always has to come to an end! Sad face! We cleaned and tided our rooms and then chilled until our coach departure time of around 11pm. Another lengthy film and sleep filled coach journey ensued before arriving back at Brunel around 6pm on Saturday 20th.

That’s not it however! We have to things to note coming up this term. The first is a trip reunion, which will be happening on 23rd January 2015. It will be an awesome chance for all those on the trip to get together and reminisce as well as those who didn’t to have a good time too of course. We are also working on our trip edit which we hope to release during this term for everyone to see for themselves what an awesome time was had on winter tour! Of course we can’t forget also the continued running of lessons and sessions at Hemel indoor snow centre, the club photos on the 21st January, some freestyle sessions and competitions and of course after exams the one and only and original Annual Brunel End of Year Boat Party hosted by Brunel Snow Club! It’s certainly looking to be an exciting few months!

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Snowy Love
Adam White