Inspiration for learning outside the classroom

Equity Blog - Items filtered by date: January 2016

  • Published in Ski

Safety on the slopes

At Equity, we have been operating school trips for more than 82 years and safety is at the heart of everything we do.

Here are some tips for a safe ski trip.

1. Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment

Equity has a strong Safety Management System in place which will help you complete your risk assessment. We can also offer assistance with paperwork required by your Local Authority as well as an Inspection Visit to get to know the area and complete your specific risk assessment. We recommend the School Travel Forum’s Demystifying Risk Assessments.

2. Attend an Inspection Visit

We also regularly conduct Inspection Visits for teachers so they can visit specific areas and hotels before making a decision on which resort to choose. Inspection Visit costs vary but if you go on to book a ski trip with Equity (for 40 paying places), the cost of your Inspection Visit will be subtracted from your school's final invoice.

3. Use only qualified instructors

School groups on an Equity trip receive 2 lessons per day which are conducted by qualified instructors. ESF is one of France’s leading ski schools and instructors are highly qualified.

While of course the mountains have an element of unpredictability there is no safer way to ski or learn to ski than with the type of instructors that take our groups week in week out, know the mountains, can read the conditions and adapt the lessons accordingly.

The marked runs of a ski resort open to the public are patrolled before opening and throughout the day to ensure they are not only safe themselves but that there are no other dangers i.e. an avalanche area which could run onto a slope.

4. On tour support

You can rely on us to get it right in the first place but should the unexpected happen we have the knowledge and the resources to resolve any issues. Once you are on tour, Equity staff are on duty night and day, equipped with full details of your tour and ready to go into action if you need us. Our support service runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can rely on us in the event of any problems.

We live by a simple principle “Make it fun but make it safe”, perhaps one reason why almost half a million young people have travelled with Equity.

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  • Published in Sport

Follow in the footsteps of a Championship Football Club

A sports tour is the perfect way for teams to bond, develop new skills and play competitive matches against international teams - even professional football clubs do it! The Derby County FC U16’s and U21’s did all this and more when they embarked on a group sports trip to Oliva Nova on the East Coast of Spain in October this year.

U21’s player, Jonathan Mitchell, wrote a tour diary on the teams website and said, “…it’s fair to say the place and its facilities immediately impressed us. For me personally, this is the first time that I have been on a tour such as this. We are with each other 24/7, we are all sharing rooms and that can only be good for the team spirit amongst the group.”

After arriving at the destination, both sides completed daily training sessions as well as team building activities. The U21’s were also preparing for a fixture against Valencia’s B side, providing a great opportunity to put into practice the new skills learnt on the trip.

Unfortunately the U21’s were defeated by Valencia’s B side, however player Mason Bennett believes their side have learnt a lot from the match. “I love being around the lads, especially back at the Training Centre, so to come and experience a place like Valencia with the rest of the lads has been beneficial to all of us.”

Pat Lyons, who manages the team, said on their website “That aside, though, these camps help us get to know the lads better, it’s great for the team spirit and it’s important that we also do stuff to help that away from the football field. That’s why we have got the beach…It’s something that we look to do with all of our age groups, to see how they cope in different environments.”

Both sports tours to Oliva Nova, Derby County FC U16’s and U21’s, were coordinated by Equity.

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  • Published in Ski

Ski Inspection Visit to Equity Club in France and Italy

After three exhilarating days, five countries, six resorts, eight hotels, a bit of skiing and a LOT of driving I’m finally home and able to tell you about my amazing experience!.

A team of 13 of us flew to Geneva on Monday the 4th of Jan to learn more about the fantastic Equity Club properties. Firstly we drove to Le Corbier for lunch and had a look around the wonderful Club Mont Corbier before scoping out the resort. We then headed off to Les Rois Mages at Montgenèvre, which was to be our base for the two nights of the trip. After a tasty three-course dinner we joined in with a school group on an exploratory treasure trail around town before checking out the hotel and finally being treated to a presentation on some of our Austrian and Italian properties by Bill - one of our head office ski specialists.

Day two saw us take an early start, filling our bellies with a buffet breakfast and making the trip to Risoul for a tour of the Equity Club Le Morgan. After taking a look around the resort we were lucky to get a few hours skiing Risoul and Vars (part of the same lift pass). After lunch, we were back on the stunning Alpine roads again back to Montgenèvre for a shower and a quick go on the bum boards out the front of the hotel and a snowball fight, before making the extremely short trip over the border to Claviere in Italy. This area is linked to Montgenèvre and within walking distance for those adventurous enough to go on a snow hike across a golf course with the Club staff. The meal at the Equity Club Roma was very impressive with four-courses. We were very well looked after receiving a tour of the hotel and resort led by manager Elizibetta, who is super excited about running our newest property.

Our final day involved a trip to Serre Chevalier where we enjoyed a few hours skiing on one of the most impressive and expansive mountains I’ve visited. After refueling at lunch it was off to Les Deux Alpes for a look at three great third-party hotels, one of which is new to us this year and particularly impressive for those with discerning tastes and perhaps a slightly higher budget.

I've written about my findings per resort to let you know the best bits from the trip.

Le Corbier – Equity Club Mont Corbier

The Club Mont Corbier is probably the best positioned of all the the Equity Club properties, with skiing to and from the door and a 30 second walk to the main chairlift. It features a private bar – a great place for meetings with your class; a good sized restaurant; pool table and table football. Le Corbier itself is ideal for younger school groups as the resort is really compact. Indeed, the swimming pool, shops, ski school, rollerblading link and disco are all within a very short walk. The mountain terrain is ideal for all groups, with plenty of long, wide greens to learn those first turns and part of the massive Les Sybelles domain that will mean more advanced skiers are never bored during their stay.

Montgenèvre – Equity Club Les Rois Mages

Sarah and her team were our hosts for the trip and looked after us very well. Les Rois Mages is in a fantastic location right across the very quiet road to the ski school and main lifts. It is also a short walk to a small slopes where groups can take out the bum boards, ice-skating, swimming pool, pizzeria, cash machine, shops and town attractions. The exploratory treasure trail run by the Equity staff is great for showing staff and the kids around. The hotel has a public bar, which was fairly quiet during our stay but is a great place for the teachers to unwind after a long day. In the basement there is a huge private area for school groups to play arcade machines, pool and indulge in a bit of karaoke and a disco. An on-site boot room and tech room mean the ski fit and storage can all happen in the hotel. The mountain itself is not quite as expansive as Le Corbier, but still offers plenty for all ages and abilities. The link with Claviere is particularly useful for those able to explore or those wanting to take part in a skidoo ride can get there by coach or adventurous snow walk (approximately 20 minutes through a golf course).

Risoul – Equity Club Morgan

Risoul is an old favourite of mine, after I led a team from the University of Stirling to the 2005 BUSC championship there. The snow had been falling heavily for us arriving and the staff were all buzzing about getting up the mountain which wasn't surprising. We had a great morning skiing down to the connecting Vars area and over and into Risoul enjoying the glorious sunshine and fresh snow. The Equity Club Morgan faces onto the buildings that surround the main base area and a 30 second walk will get groups to the main chair lifts and ski school meeting point. The hotel also includes a great restaurant area, which is split into two connecting rooms and ideal for hosting two schools at once. A tidy bar is great for a hot chocolate after a day of skiing and the attic has soft seating, arcade machines and a TV for a DVD night. It also doubles up as a great meeting space or disco and is safely tucked away on the top floor. Après-ski includes bum boarding, tobogganing, pizza nights, crepe nights and karaoke.

Claviere – Equity Club Roma

The Roma is our newest Club property and has a reputation for great food and great service, with a family atmosphere between staff and guests. Being Scottish, I was tickled to see them serving Tennant’s beers in the bar, among a selection of other great beers from around the world. The hotel features a large restaurant for three-course and buffet meals, a good sized games room with plenty of space for meetings and great views of the mountains on one side. The ski school meeting points and ski storage are just a short walk away and the quiet little tow,n with its' cobbled streets, is great for exploring without the risk of getting lost. Close to the hotel you will find a local bar that is happy to organise discos for smaller groups and a pizzeria with a huge and funky function room will do the same for larger groups. Although it is one of the smaller mountain ranges, Claviere is linked with Montgenèvre offering a wider variety of skiing for those looking to explore. It’s an ideal introductory resort for those groups heading on their first trip and Elizabetta and her team will look after you well.

Serre Chevalier – Equity Club Olympic

I was delighted to go skiing at Serre Chevalier as it’s been on my to-do list for a while. The expansive mountain offers plenty of terrain for all ages and abilities and definitely did not disappoint. We had another amazingly sunny day and good snow conditions. The Club Olympic is in a great location, just a 2-minute walk to the gondola and at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, meaning traffic is minimal. The modern décor and warm welcome you will receive from Sarah and her team makes for a great first impression. A well kitted out tech room and brand new storage lockers with heated boot holders means no soggy feet in the mornings. The restaurant is large enough to hold big groups in one sitting and there is a comfortable bar and chill out area with games for the kids. The village is well kitted out with shops, restaurants and views of the famous Luc Alphand piste, which runs back to town and is named after the renowned French skier, who went on to become a racing driver. Serre Chevalier is recommended to all groups but in particular those of an intermediate to advanced level of skiing will get the most out of the huge ski area. Having said that, the 23 green runs mean there are ample opportunities for beginners to work on their first turns in a safe and relaxing environment.

All-in-all it was a whirlwind trip, but we got there right at the best time after a huge dump of snow to really kick-start the season in earnest. I’m so jealous of the groups heading to Equity Club this winter now that I’ve seen firsthand what an amazing time they will have. The adventure has really whet my appetite for heading out to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire when I rep for Uddingston Grammar in March!

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