After a very fast couple of months, last week the time came to return home. Having still never landed a back flip and having failed to ski down Val’s famous hidden valley I wasn’t quite ready to come back to the English countryside. Fortunately, I won’t be sat around missing the mountains for too long as I’m only back for one week before I jet off to Thailand with my mum for a cycling adventure before I continue my travels. The last few weeks of the season were as unforgettable as the rest with more skiing, partying and scrubbing even more toilets.
The final staff day off of the season required the turkey fancy dress to be recalled as the hotel was split into two teams for the Champs Avalins valley rally. As the skiing tradition goes both groups must complete the predetermined challenges to see who accumulates more points by the end of the day. As the majority of the events were either skiing or drinking based I felt pretty confident going into the seasonaire’s equivalent of sports day. However, due to my inexperience I regrettably rushed into the alcoholic disciplines which made the skiing tests rather more difficult, and also resulted in the loss of my helmet somewhere on the mountain (a mystery till this day but most likely involving the naked photo). After various trials had been ticked off my team were feeling pretty confident, especially after blagging ourselves into the Folie VIP area, and we’d thought we had wrapped up the title but our rivals late charge and pedantic judging threw a spanner in the works and victory slipped from our grasp. Despite the crushing loss it remained a fantastic day and the beverage based challenges provided more than adequate predrinks for the closing party of our favourite aprés bar- Cocoricos.
The final week wasn’t all fun and games and as the closing parties began, so did the closing of the hotel. Deep cleaning bathrooms with a toothbrush isn’t anyone’s idea of fun and certainly made time go slowly, and the crippling hangover only multiplied the devastation thanks to the previous nights weekly awards (the award being a mix of shots for each nomination) and the teams favourite 8.6% beer known only as business. Some of the work turned out to be quite enjoyable thanks to the shared love of cheesy tunes and the ability to form long chains of people to shift all the storage that even the seven dwarfs would have been jealous of. Another positive of the hotel being empty is that I got to move out of my cave of a room from behind the lift and experience the guests life when I moved into one of the hotel’s rooms. Now that my nights weren’t being disturbed by an automated voice serenading me with ‘doors opening’ and ‘going down’ all night long and there was no risk of smashing my head on the low roof every morning I could finally sleep with a little bit of luxury.
Those few sleeps of comfort were definitely missed when I was sat on the bus back to Gatwick with 18 hours left on board. Getting on the bus first was a great advantage as we got the first choice of seating and luckily landed in the equivalent of bus VIP as we landed the table seats, which on a long haul journey makes all the difference. After a few rounds of cards and the usual chat I eventually drifted off to sleep. The goodbyes were emotional ones when we arrived at the airport as the team were collected one by one. My brother was the one responsible for my transfer back home and in his typical style was rather useless. As his phone was broken the last bit of communication I received was ‘I’ll find you at the terminal’. A statement to vague for my liking as Gatwick is more than just one car park. Luckily, after just a few laps of the parking infrastructure I stumbled upon his little blue car, but he was no where to be seen. Obviously he was doing the same and running around looking for me and once we were reunited it was back on the road and on the way home.