Dream made reality as Cheltenham students with disabilities take to the piste

national star college ski

A group of students with disabilities from National Star College are to embark on their first skiing adventure, thanks to the help of The School Travel Company Ski.

The seven students, all with varying levels of learning and physical disability, departed for a week on the slopes of Andorra on Saturday 16 January.

The Cheltenham-based college struggled to find a travel operator to help, until The School Travel Company Ski stepped in. The company has more than 30 years experience in organising educational and residential tours for school and youth groups.

Chris Slater, Product Manager at The School Travel Company Ski, worked alongside the team at National Star to make the dream become a reality. It took over 18 months to organise given the complicated nature of the trip.

“A number of other operators turned down the challenge thinking it would be too difficult, which made us even more determined to make it happen,” said Chris.

“It was unlike anything we’d ever done before, from the logistics of taking the students abroad, to the safety precautions and specialist equipment needed for them to ski. But it’s been more than worthwhile to see it finally happen.”

The students, aged between 18 and 23, have a range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy and Friedrich’s Ataxia. The trip will be every participant’s first time skiing and for many, their first holiday abroad without family.

Four of the students will be on sit-skis with the rest on regular skis. In addition to lessons, they’ll have time to enjoy the local area, as well as bowling, swimming and perhaps a little shopping.

Seven staff from The School Travel Company Ski and National Star will accompany the group, providing a one-to-one ratio.

“The resort we’ve chosen in Andorra is well-equipped to facilitate this kind of trip.  It has specially trained disability teaching instructors and specialist teaching equipment in conjunction with Disability Snowsport UK,” said Chris.

“With the contacts we have built up there, we’re in a great position to organise similar trips in the future,” he added.

For more information visit www.theschooltravelcompany.com/ski or call 01384 398 893.

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