CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: ENGADINE

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Signing on for the ski marathon and exploring the marathon village the day before the race was great. It made me feel I was part of a huge event. The countdown to the start of the marathon was really exciting, knowing that I was about to do this with 13,000 other people. But I'll never forget the thrill of hearing the crowds lining the route shouting out my name as I went up a hill (our race bibs had our name on them), accompanined by a 'hup hup hup' and the sound of Swiss cow bells.

What did you think of your group leader?

Eric is a hero. His teaching, constant encouragement and great sense of humour are legendary. Everybody's skiing improved as a result of Eric's coaching, which helped no end when it came to the marathon. He covered all aspects of the event in the days leading up to the marathon so we were fully prepared, and the whole whole week ran as smoothly as, well, a Swiss train.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

You get a real buzz taking part in a great mass-participation event, and a huge sense of achievement at the end. It's good to take thin layers of clothing as you can get quite hot while skiing.