Doing a ski season was always part of the plan. Starting in March wasn’t. However, the belated timing worked out rather well as it provided me with enough work time to save for the summer and also meant I could ski for most of January without having to work. Working the remainder of the season is the new plan. Working in a hotel isn’t the most glamorous with all the scrubbing of toilets and de-hairing of showers but the perks are obvious with the mountain on the doorstep. Once the routine monotony of the morning is complete (all rooms cleaned and breakfast tidied up) the skis are on and you’re free to play around on the slopes. Luckily, I’ve been sent to Val D’isere which has an enormous ski area and notoriously epic aprés ski and nightlife. The seasonaire lifestyle took some adapting too. There are three states of being- drunk, hungover or exhausted, and three major activities- skiing, working and sleeping. Napping skills are key to surviving a ski season, the timing is crucial and the regularity is vital to maintain energy to get though a late shift or recover from a night out.
The skiing, as for the majority of seasonaires, is the main reason for coming out. I’ve being skiing since I was seven years old and I love it. After a few weeks of ski school I mainly learnt through competition with my brother and by trying to keep up with him is how I developed from an out of control Eddie the Eagle impersonate to a decent ski bum. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve already noticed a great improvement. Before I came out I’d never been in a ski park but now I’m quite comfortable on the boxes and can even manage to get down a few rails and I’ve started to pull out a few tricks over the jumps (learnt through a lot of falling on my head). The best way to learn, however painful, is to just go for it.
Learning the ropes of the job was nearly as painful. The first week of cleaning rooms took me forever to complete my allocations whilst the rest of the team were done in a fraction of the time, before I came out I couldn’t even put a pillow case on. Dinner service isn’t as bad, although the soup delivery is pretty shaky, with more concentration going on keeping the ridiculously liquidy starter in the bowl than what went into my school work. It’s pretty impressive how the hotels are run considering most employees are either school leavers or university graduates on a gap year, all of which have little experience but still manage to keep things ticking along. Especially when the unpredictability of the company is taken into account. Staff are often swapped or not replaced and organisation is nearly non existent, it’s a very last minute/ wing it kind of job. For example, I only found out where I was coming to one day before my flight, and some people only found out at the airport. Some shifts are only decided just before they are required and staff are often thrown into a random duty unprepared, so if you’re ever in a ski resort, be kind to any staff as they most likely are blagging it, not to mention probably hungover.
Sadly, I only have five or six weeks left of the cycle of working, skiing and drinking. Hopefully the snow will stick around for the duration so I can keep pushing myself in the park and on the slopes and hopefully the bruises will become sparser. I’ll let you know if I ever conquer my fear and attempt a back flip (more bruises imminent) but for now I have my night shift followed by a post transfer-day night out.