Ski Trips

Each year Balcarras runs a ski trip during February half-term.

The trip is open to pupils in Year 8 and above at the time of the trip.

Ski Trip 2025 (Sunday 16th to Saturday 22nd February)

Norway Ski Trip (February 2025) FULL

A reserve list exists for those who wish to have the chance of participating should there be any withdrawals.

Taking a smaller group of 6th Form students out a day earlier is under consideration. This will free up space.

A decision cannot be made until September when new Year 12 students arrive.


(Ski Trip Organiser)

Balcarras Ski Trip Review & Feedback (February ½ term 2024) 

Balcarras Ski Trip Review 

Sunday 11th February … Our Journey to Myrkdalen

· Another event free transfer on very comfortable Pulhams Coaches. Thanks to everyone for getting to school earlier than anticipated for a 5am departure

· The check-in process at Gatwick was very smooth and getting through security was a doddle.

· The flight to Bergen was free of any turbulence and we flew in over beautiful snow capped islands on our approach to Flesland airport..

· Our flight this year must have been the fastest on record! (1hour 40mins). That made up for the slight delay at Gatwick.

· The coach transfer to Myrkdalen was mesmerizing with frozen lakes and iced up waterfalls providing spectacular views on our way to resort.

· The check-in process and ski-fit at Myrkdalen was faultless ... as we have come to expect.

· We enjoyed the traditional Scandinavian meatballs evening meal and then there was just enough time to get unpacked and ready for today, our first day on the slopes.

· Everyone was quite tired after our early start so there was no complaint about being in bed by 10pm!

Monday 12th February (Day 1 Skiing)

· Breakfast @ 7am … Wow!

· There has been fine snow and light winds all day, and although cloudy, there were perfect skiing conditions.

· The incredibly cold and windy conditions over the previous week thankfully gave way to a more comfortable -5 degrees!

· We had virtually all the slopes to ourselves.

· The progression shown on snow by all skiers of all abilities was clear to see.

· Experienced skiers were given new challenges and the confident transition to snow from dry slope training by our novices was particularly impressive.

· There were a couple 'falls' to deal with but we anticipate that everyone will be skiing again on Day 2.

· Our evening meal tonight was roast chicken, rice and veg. Very nice!

· Everyone is watching the film 'Chalet Girl' downstairs as I write.

· We are hoping for some sunshine tomorrow, so I will attempt to upload some photos in the evening.

Tuesday 12th February (Day 2)

· Breakfast @ 7am … Wow!

· Light snow all day … perfect skiing conditions

· Great visibility … mostly cloudy but some sunny breaks

· Lunch … fish and chips

· Slopes to ourselves … growing confidence / skiability across all groups

· Evening meal … Tacos & Salad

· Apres-ski: Mr Baxter’s Quiz

Wednesday 13th February (Day 3)

· Breakfast @ 7am … Wow!

· Substantial snow all day … low cloud … poor light … close to ‘white-out’ conditions

· Lunch … chicken nuggets, fries and salad

· Challenging skiing conditions met with resilience by all

· Evening meal … Beefburgers & chips

· Clear conditions for night skiing

· Apres-ski: traditional bingo

Thursday 14th February (Day 4)

· Breakfast @ 7am … Wow!

· Beautiful sunny morning session … excellent visibility on uncrowded and superbly-prepared pistes (ably assisted by Mrs Dean co-piloting one of the fleet of piste-bashers!)

· Views awesome

· Lunch … Norwegian beef ‘Goulash’

· Afternoon cloudy but good ‘light’ … all groups progressing to next level

· Novices venturing much further up the mountain with many experiencing their first red runs

· Evening Meal … Lasagne & salad

· Apres-ski: tobogganing on floodlit green slope … great to see everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves … pity we only had 1 hour before the lights were turned off

· Very competitive races between staff & pupils

Friday 15th February (Day 5)

· Our last day

· Another superb start to the day with the Myrkdalen breakfast

· Lots of snow overnight but with the temperature approaching zero degrees there was a heavy mist for the 1st ski session

· Undaunted by poor viz, everyone can be really proud of mastering the conditions

· Re-fuelled after a lovely pasta lunch, all were put through their paces on the slalom course and medals were awarded by our excellent instructors in the mid-mountain restaurant / café

· Everyone met the challenge of Black #2 or the equally demanding Red #3 Ski-Cross. A remarkable achievement considering half the party were novices.

· Your children can be so proud of their achievements … we were certainly very impressed.

· A few more runs on virtually empty pistes, and then down to ski-fit to give their equipment back.

· Evening meal tonight was all-you-can eat pizza.

· Everyone is packing their bags as I write and we will be dishing out individual rewards later along with a final hot chocolate before bedtime at 9pm

· We depart at mid-night so just a few hours to get some sleep before loading and getting back on the coaches to Bergen … hopefully all will get a few more hours sleep before we check-in at 5am for our return flight.

As usual the Balcarras Ski Party have been great ambassadors for our school. The Myrkdalen staff, ski instructors, ski-fit employees and others using the hotel (particularly a Danish Ski club) have not held back in their praise of our pupils commenting on how polite, sociable and well behaved they have been.

Kind regards, Malcolm Dean (Ski Party Leader)


February Ski Trip 2024 Feedback from parents

Dear Mr Dean, Mr Burke and all the other ski trip staff. We wanted to thank you all for such a fantastic ski trip this half term. Seb thoroughly enjoyed his time away with you. It was obviously incredibly well organised, from the preparation lessons for novices (Seb!), the money envelope system, the information booklets, the evening activities and the general organisation of travel logistics and skiing. The hotel and ski set-up are very impressive - Seb spent ages showing us the map of the mountain and explaining all the different ski runs. Seb's highlights were the breakfasts, tobogganing, snowball fighting, doing a black run and spending time with his lovely room mates. We thank you all for giving up your time during the school holidays to look after, organise and entertain our children! We hope that you also enjoyed your time skiing. We really are very grateful, as is Seb, and we hope you continue to do this super trip in future years.

To all the ski trip teachers! I just wanted to pass on a huge thank you to all the staff for creating such an amazing time for Matilda and the children. I wasn’t sure how she would find it at her age but she loved every second and wants to go every year now!! You have clearly created a system that works incredibly well. We have been most impressed. I know it’s a huge amount of work and time away from your families etc … we hope you all had a lovely time too. Thank you again and we hope you can rest up before Monday!


I’m sure you will be inundated with emails like this over the next few days! THANK YOU - and all the teaching team - so so so much for an epic week!!! Austin loved it and came home buzzing, full of funny stories, def a better skier and standing a little taller! He has talked about most of the teachers and said how great they all were! So a big thank you from my husband and I for looking after him, keeping him safe and giving him a week he’ll never forget! Really hope you recover well before school tomorrow!

This is just a note to thank you for the enormous effort that went into planning and executing such a wonderful ski trip this year. Our son was a complete novice and had actually not even been away from home on a big trip without family. He has come back with so many wonderful tales of his experiences and challenges, we’ve never seen him so animated and passionate! Daily physical challenges on the slopes which gave him great confidence as the week went on, love of the Norwegian landscape and snow swept mountains, independence with his peers in working out their own timings for the morning’s, camaraderie - games in the evenings and an opportunity to get to know the teachers under a different environment to that of school, all sounded like the perfect recipe for a great trip and clearly had a positive impact. He also spoke of how amazing all the Balcarras staff were, his team leader and his ski coach. This trip has not only taught them important life skills but filled them with confidence to believe in themselves and tackle new challenges with enthusiasm, lessons that they will be able to apply in other areas of their lives moving forward. The downside is that our son now has a passion for a very expensive hobby! We Thank you and the whole team for giving the children this opportunity and bringing them back safely and in such high spirits.

Many thanks for a wonderful trip last week, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Please could you kindly place her name on the list for February 2025.

Dear Mr Dean & Ski Staff Teachers. Just a short note to say thank you for making Maisie’s first ski experience so memorable. What an amazing time I hear you all had! We can only imagine the enormous task of planning and organising such a trip, so to those involved thanks for looking after her, them all. Hopefully you have a little time on Sunday to relax.

I have to email to thank you for giving my kids the most amazing opportunity again this year.           I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone. I know that Lani and Manni have loved their week and learnt so much. I know they have been so well cared for and looked after by you all. It means so much to know that they are safe and happy when they are so far away. You and Mrs Dean are truly exceptional and Lani (and Ella and Manni) has been so lucky to be part of your Norway gang for so many years.

I hope you and Mrs Dean are enjoying being back at home and manage to relax a little before being back at school on Monday! Thank you again to you and all the teachers for such a fantastic week and all your hard work. Katie has had the best time and is now fully hooked on skiing. We are glad to have her home safely and husband and I are enjoying hearing all about the week. Katie is already excited at the thought that she could get the opportunity to do it all again! We have blocked the dates in the calendar to ensure we keep them clear for next year.

Thank you so much for allowing Orla to participate in this trip. She had the best time ever!!!!! Please reserve her a spot for next year.

Thank you so much for taking them!  Alex and Zoë had a fabulous time and were full of praise for the hotel and instructors. They also enjoyed snowballing the teachers. They have a little something for the staff involved in the trip - is it best they drop it off at reception or the staff room?

Piers had a fantastic time as always and came back buzzing. He said the food this year was even better than it was in previous years.  He would definitely like a place on next year’s trip please. We hope you have both had a bit of time to relax since returning yesterday and thank you again for ensuring everyone has such a great time. We know the organisation takes many, many hours of time and effort, please know that we and all our boys have really appreciated it. The ski trip has always been one of their best highlights of their time at Balcarras.

James had a brilliant time. He was a bit nervous going as a total novice but has come back excited and hoping to go again next year! A huge thank you to yourself and the rest of the staff that have organised everything so seamlessly. Thank you for both keeping our children safe and pushing James just enough out of his comfort zone allowing him to progress. He would love to go on the list for next year please.

I just wanted to email you to thank you and the staff for a wonderful ski trip. Abigail (8S1) hasn’t stopped talking about what a fantastic time she had. Myrkdalen sounds like a great resort, perfect for all and with great snow! She’s already talking about going next year and now her sister in year 11 wants to go too!! Anyway, thank you once again for organising such a memorable trip.

Hello Mr Dean, another amazing ski trip. Isaac had a fabulous time. Thank you so much.

Thanks very much to you and all the staff for all your hard work, they all seem to have a had a wonderful time!

Thank you for all your hard work organising the ski trip this year.  What a smooth operation you run.  Please thank all the team involved, for caring and having so much fun.  Daniel had a wonderful time on and off the slopes and would love to return to Norway to ski next year 2025.

Thank you so much for organising a fantastic skiing holiday.
Will says he definitely improved over the course of the week. He kept us updated with news that it wasn’t too cold and the food was great and that there was lots of apres ski fun too.

I just wanted to thank you so much for making this year’s ski trip another hugely happy success! Ava and Arty both came back with stories to tell and smiles on their tired faces! You really do know how to put on a good show, keep everyone safe and well looked after. It sounds as though they’re pretty confident skiers too now, they’ll give my husband and I a run for our money I’m sure!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the staff who were involved in the ski trip. It was William’s first time going and he absolutely loved it.  I know he was really well looked after by all the adults and he had so many great stories to tell on his return!  Please reserve him a space on next year’s trip.  He is currently in 8F2.

I just wanted to pass on my sincere thanks and appreciation to you, Mrs Dean and the rest of the staff that took the students to Norway this year. I realise what a huge undertaking and responsibility it is to organise such a trip.  But what a success, Darcy had an amazing time – it was a truly brilliant experience, which I’m sure she will treasure for a long time. I have skied for many year’s and we are going for the first time as a family at Easter and it’s going to be very special for us all to ski together. I am grateful for the obviously brilliant tuition Darcy received and how confident she has become after just 1 week on snow. She’s looking forward to giving her mother a run for her money on the slopes – Can’t wait!

Thank you so much for the wonderful Myrkdalen Ski Trip you arrange every year, which allows us to send our children away to develop their independence and autonomy, knowing that they are in the safest hands possible.  Holly and Adam have both had the most marvellous time and would both love to come skiing again next year so please can I put their names down for the 2025 trip. Thank you again to you and the fantastic team of Balcarras teachers who were on the trip, for everything you do for our little ones. I hope you all had as much fun as they did.

Information for 2024 ski trip 

Ski Trip 2024 (February Half-Term) FULL

Due to unprecedented demand all 80 spaces on next year’s ski trip have been applied for. Over the past week we have been inundated with requests for a place on the trip, so I have asked Mrs Davis (Finance Office) to create a reserve list.

Confirmed places

The assumption can be made that a deposit secures a place on the ski trip. However due to the extreme nature of skiing, the suitability of all applicants will be discussed with pastoral heads and staff accompanying the trip.

Should there be any concerns about behaviour or the ability to cope with the demands of skiing either now, or in the months leading up to the trip, then participation will be reviewed.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Pupils currently in Year 11 (now on study leave) … Year 12 from September

Since there is no space left on the half-term trip I know that there will be many in year 11 who will be disappointed at not being able to go when they are in Year 12.

New 6th Form entrants in September will have the opportunity to apply for a place on an exclusive Year 12 Easter trip next year potentially from:

  • Monday 1st to Sunday 7th April  

or   Sunday March 31st to Saturday 6th April

depending on flight availability.

This is due to anticipated demand from Year 12 who will not have any immediate exam commitments after the Easter break in 2024.

Since returning from this year’s half-term trip, I have kept an eye on the live webcams at Myrkdalen. The conditions over Easter were, again, remarkable. Perfect slopes and lots of sunshine and historically this is normal.

The benefits of a Year 12 only Easter trip would involve a £100 discount on the February price, less extreme temperatures, more sunshine, longer daylight hours and everyone involved being in the same peer group.

In order to find out how many want to participate next Easter, please complete the following questionnaire …

At least 30 need to indicate that they want to participate before I start making arrangements with Myrkdalen and Norwegian Air.

Kind regards

Malcolm Dean (Ski Party Leader)

2023 Ski trip review

2023 Ski Trip took place in Norway

The Balcarras Ski trip to Norway saw record numbers take to the slopes

Another trip to beautiful Myrkdalen is over. It’s a pity that half-terms cannot be two-week affairs because many did not want to come home! 

73 pupils (our highest ever ski party size) got up early on Sunday morning for our transfer to Gatwick. Our transition though check-in, security, and boarding was exceptionally smooth due to well-drilled youngsters being chaperoned by teachers with a wealth of experience in accompanying such trips. 

Our flight to Bergen was 20 minutes shorter than normal owing to a strong tail wind. The coach transfer from Flesland Airport along the picturesque E-16 fjord road took about 2½ hours. Our hotel welcomed us back with open arms and everyone settled in to their 5* accommodation very swiftly.

Day 1 involved getting kitted up at ski fit. It was amazing how the whole party was dealt with in less than an hour. The strong winds on Monday meant that the chair lift was closed but everyone was able to brace the arctic like conditions using the button and T-bar lifts. The challenge caused by the weather did not deter our resilient pupils. 

For the rest of the week the weather calmed down and we skied on virtually deserted pistes in (mostly) glorious sunshine. 

Certificates were distributed to everyone. For the first time, two of our party got 4½ stars out of 5. It is tough to accept that any pupil is better at skiing than Dr Sharp & Mr Critchley! 

The ‘pupils’ were a credit to the school, their parents and themselves. This was our 5th successive visit to Myrkdalen. The hotel staff, ski instructors & ski-fit personnel have run out of superlatives to describe our children.  

Roll-on February half-term 2024! 

Mr M Dean (Ski Party Leader) 


Previous Ski Trip locations 

Here is a selection of places that have been visited since the turn of the century!

2023       Myrkdalen                          (Norway)             February

2022       Myrkdalen                          (Norway)             February

2020       Myrkdalen                          (Norway)             February

2019       Myrkdalen                          (Norway)             February

2018       Myrkdalen                          (Norway)             February

2017       Madonna di Campiglio  (Italy)                    February

2016       Bramberg                            (Austria)              February

2015       Artesina                               (Italy)                    Easter

2015       Madonna di Campiglio  (Italy)                    February

2014       Wildkogel                           (Austria)              February

2013       St Anton                              (Austria)              February

2012       St Anton                              (Austria)              February

2011       Zell am Ziller                      (Austria)              February

2010       Kaltenbach                         (Austria)              February

2009       Flachau                                (Austria)              February

2008       Tonale                                  (Italy)                    Easter

2008       Wildkogel                           (Austria)              February

2007       Tonale                                  (Italy)                    Easter

2007       Wildkogel                           (Austria)              February

2006       Salt Lake City                   (USA)                    February

2005       Schlick                                 (Austria)              Easter

2005       Wildkogel                           (Austria)              February

2004       Wildkogel                           (Austria)              February

2003       Bardoneccia                       (Italy)                    February

2002       Bardoneccia                       (Italy)                    February

2001       Mayrhofen                         (Austria)              February

2000       Aprika                                  (Italy)                    February