Diary Of A Third Year: Ski trips to the Alps are a mixture of immaturity and lewdness

It's 12.30am at Dover ferry port. Covered in face paint, a student from Manchester University is being held with his arms behind his back, as another tries to pull his trousers down. Two policemen appear. Seeing the police, one lets go, while the other continues to pull at his friend's pants. A policeman coughs. The trouser-puller turns, sees them and makes a swift exit. Welcome to the world of university ski trips.

Every year, hordes of well-heeled class students head to the Alps for a week of sliding down hills and drinking. Traditionally, the bus journey to Dover is so drunken that P&O is compelled to send a letter to everyone on the trips, warning that "no passenger should arrive on board intoxicated beyond control" (as well as reminding them that "nudity, streaking and indecent exposure are unacceptable" too.)

Unfortunately, this year alcohol wasn't allowed on our bus ride. We realised what we had missed out on at Dover, when another university bus pulled alongside our coach and a group of students fell out into a giggling heap on the car park floor. Unsurprisingly, civilian passengers on the boat were not exactly happy to share their voyage with a bunch of hollering drunks, wailing songs by the American band Journey.

Their displeasure was equalled only by those who had the misfortune to book their family skiing holiday in a small resort at the same time as 500 students. In January, many resorts are overwhelmed with students. And the students stand out, not just because of the numbers. This thought struck me as I sat in a restaurant listening to a ski committee member talk about the trip so far while he was completely naked. I wasn't as shocked as I might have been, mainly because I'd seen far more that afternoon during Valley Rally.

Valley Rally is a competition based on a number of challenges. It's party games on the slopes – like building a human pyramid, or passing a sweet between each other without using your hands. It was quite similar to the party games we played in my early teens, with one exception: this time we got extra points for gratuitous nudity. A rule enthusiastically embraced by many despite it being minus 8C, and which led to a rather awkward "Please don't tell our parents" conversation between siblings.

This mixture of immaturity and lewdness seems to sum up ski trips quite well. They might seem like one of the first forays into independent adult life, but really they have more in common with a secondary school trip. The entertainment is laid on. You play party games. Reps come and tell you to stop making noise in your room after 10pm. You're even given a wrist tag with a phone number to call if you get into any trouble. It's just like any Year 8 school trip to France only with booze.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003