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Posted: 26 January 2017

Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

Just before Christmas, our Audrey headed out to Prato Nevoso, one of our most popular resorts. She had a great time exploring the resort and finding out just what makes it such a great choice for a school ski trip.

It was a very exciting start to the ski season for me as I was lucky enough to travel to Prato Nevoso, to explore the resort and meet some of our suppliers.

Day 1

As I had an early flight (07.35!!!), I stayed the night at a hotel at Heathrow Airport. After a short sleep (alarm clock set for 04.30!!!), my plane left on time, landing at Milan Malpensa at 10.35 local time.

My colleague John, who lives in Italy, picked me up from the airport and together we headed for Prato Nevoso. On the way we stopped by Turin Airport, to pick up two of our party leaders, who were also heading to Prato Nevoso on our annual pre-Christmas inspection visit!

After the (very!!!) early start, all I could think about during our journey was food – I was starving! John very confidently told us that we would stop at a service station he knew that served the best sandwiches ever – I hoped he was right! When we eventually arrived at the service station, which was about an hour away from Prato Nevoso, my warm prosciutto and cheese sandwich certainly did not disappoint!

I was a little concerned when we arrived at the resort, as it looked a little greener than I had hoped. But our spirits were high and heavy snow was forecast for the next few days, so I put any worries I had to the back of my mind.

On arrival at the Hotel Mondolé (popular with our school groups, and our base for our stay), the hotel’s owner, Alberto, gave us a very warm welcome with a much needed cup of tea!

After enjoying my tea, I took a wander over to the slightly confusingly named ‘Surf Shop’, where most of our groups rent their ski equipment. I met with Silvia, the owner, and she explained to me that each of our groups has a sticker with a different colour. In addition to this, each person is given a number to differentiate equipment. This system obviously works, as my ski fitting literally took just 2 minutes!

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

Next, I headed over to the ski school. Francesco, the ski school director, booked me a ski lesson for the next morning, and then we headed out for a hot chocolate. If there’s one thing I urge you to do when you visit Prato Nevoso, it’s to try the hot chocolate, which was so thick I had to eat it with a spoon! I also met Francesco’s wife, their 3 year-old daughter (who was asleep in the car – exhausted from her very first ski lesson!) and their 2 week old son!

On my way back to the hotel, I met with our fantastic team of reps. Davide, our resort rep, has worked several ski seasons in Prato Nevoso and literally knows everyone in resort! Simone, our other rep in resort that week, was in Prato Nevoso for the first time, but has worked for us in a number of other resorts.

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

Simone gave me a tour of the hotel. The reception area is very spacious with a number of sofas, TVs, a football table, a pool table and video games. Downstairs is a ski room with lockers organised by school name. More able skiers can actually meet their instructors here and ski from the hotel itself.

There’s also a theatre room downstairs for evening activities. This is a very big room, with many chairs and tables. There’s also a large screen for movie nights and lights for the disco.

Finally, we took a look at the swimming pool and wellness area, and met with Cicco, who’s a lifeguard by day and DJ by night!

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

After the tour, I met our group leaders, who had returned from their day’s skiing. And it looked like they were all enjoying their week in Prato Nevoso!

At 19.00 it was time for dinner, and I was kindly offered a seat at one of our group’s tables. The restaurant staff were very quick and kind. There was a well-stocked salad bar, which also offered plenty of vegetables, as well as a soup of the day.

Starters and mains were served to us at the table. We then helped ourselves to dessert, which was gorgeous Italian gelato on that occasion.

Once we’d eaten, Simone was presented with a hoodie from his departing school group – he was so touched by the gesture! I then joined one of our other school groups for their quiz night before heading to bed – it had been a long day!

Day 2

On the second day I woke up at 07.30, having enjoyed a very good night’s sleep. I was very much looking forward to the buffet breakfast and couldn’t have hoped for more! Alongside the traditional cereals, toasts, cold meat, cheese and yoghurts, there was also the most amazing selection of cakes.

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

After filling up, I piled on the layers and headed out for my ski lesson. As I stepped outside, I realised it was finally snowing! I first stopped off at the ski shop to collect my ski equipment – they also kindly lent me some goggles, as it was now snowing heavily. I then walked over to the ski pass office, where I met Simone. Don’t forget to bring the refundable €5 deposit for your lift pass – I did! Next stop, the magic carpet, where I met my ski instructor, Chiara.

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

As a beginner with just one ski lesson under my belt (which, incidentally, I took over 6 years ago), I was both nervous and excited to get back on skis. We hopped on the magic carpet and started with the basics, to build my confidence. As I skied down the nursery slope, I spotted some of our groups – the beginners had made great progress in just a couple of days!

Chiara was very patient and encouraging with me. She’d just graduated but loves being in the mountains so much that she wants to carry on instructing. By the end of my lesson, the snow was falling very heavily and the visibility was very poor. But I was feeling very proud of myself as, after 2 hours, I was able to turn with parallel skis.

Back at the hotel, I’d really worked up an appetite skiing and was more than ready for a late lunch. I helped myself to some veggies from the salad bar and enjoyed them with the main meal that was brought to the table. If you’re being super healthy, you’ll be pleased to know they offer plenty of fruit too. Chatting with some of the teachers, they were very pleased with how well the hotel’s restaurant had catered for students with specific dietary requirements.

After lunch I met up with Franco who is, without a doubt, the most popular man in the hotel (he’s the barman!). Franco has worked at the Hotel Mondolé for a couple of years, but has known the owner, Alberto, for over 50!

By this point, the resort was completely covered in snow (what a difference a day makes!). I spent the rest of the afternoon shadowing our ski reps, to watch them in action. They seamlessly manage to sort out about 10 things at once and looked like they were doing a brilliant job of it (who said men can’t multitask?!).

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

This evening’s highlights included a Christmas jumper competition (some of the students had really gone the extra mile!) and a table football tournament.

Day 3

The resort looks amazingly beautiful this morning, with snowfalls of over 100cm. Unfortunately, this meant I wasn’t able to visit the nearby resort of Artesina, as Davide’s car didn’t have snow tyres. This also meant he wouldn’t be able to take me back to the airport – although my colleague John saved the day by booking a 4x4 taxi with Merlo Viaggi, our local supplier for group airport transfers.

As I was in Prato Nevoso for a day longer than expected, I caught up with a few work emails and then helped finalise our group’s departure from resort. Later, I took a lovely walk around Prato Nevoso, taking loads of photos and even doing a bit of shopping under the archway.

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Audrey's Trip to Prato Nevoso

As I walked back, the hotel staff were busy clearing the path and digging our groups’s coach out of the snow, ready for their departure.

In the afternoon, we waved goodbye to our departing groups. I then went to pack my suitcase. It looked like I was about ready to go, but wait…I hadn’t had a chance to enjoy an authentic Italian pizza! Elisa, our rep over in Artesina that week, joined us for pizza night at ‘Baby Lunch’ with our school group. The restaurant is very cosy and traditional, and the staff were very welcoming, with the owner, Fulvio, laughing and chatting with customers.

With about 48 of us in the group, I was worried about how long we might have to wait to get our food, but I was surprised to see them served pretty quickly! After struggling to finish my succulent ham and mushroom pizza, I had just enough room left for ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.

We then all headed back to the hotel and danced the night away at a farewell disco. At 23.30, the group was still on the dancefloor, but it was time for me to say goodnight and head to bed, as I had a very early start the next day.

Day 4

Fabrizio, my driver from Merlo Viaggi, arrived at the hotel before my pick up at 05.30. I dropped the keys at reception and collect the packed breakfast that I had ordered the day before. Fabrizio and I had a broken conversation in half English/half Italian until I realised he could speak my native tongue (French) fluently! He explained that he used to drive lorries through France, although he’s now worked for Merlo Viaggi for years. Apparently, driving in the snow is what he loves best!

I arrived at Turin Airport well before check in (the snow not having caused us any delay) and it was time to say goodbye – arrivederci!

Interested in skiing in Prato Nevoso on your next school ski trip? Contact us today for further information or to request your tailor-made quote.

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