Ski Season 15/16: An Unexpected Journey

Shock horror, another Lord of the Rings reference from me. Also, minimal photos have been added as the internet feels like dial up in this hotel!

Two weeks into what should be five of the best months of my life has commenced and it already has felt like an eternity since I left home. Long days accompanied with hotel set up prior to guest arrivals was the norm in the early days which have now been replaced with irritable children and a few hours on the piste. Here’s a tiny summary on this seasonaires early days in the French/Italian Alps without hopefully boring the majority.

I don’t want to give my opinion of Claviere yet, as there’s sweet F all open at the minute and it’d be unfair to comment on it. It looks picturesque, the food’s great and it’s close to Montgenevre, which is where we’re currently hiking to every day to hit the slopes!

Working in a hybrid hotel has certainly provided an interesting start, hybrid meaning owned privately but staffed by an external company. Bless them as they’re the poor buggers that hired me! It does appear that there is less of a focus on us because it isn’t entirely owned by the company but we have still managed to set up an entire hotel, get fair amounts of ski time and build a bubbling family life in a short space of time, culminating in family Christmas Dinner.

The first week was a doddle. Those gay as ten ice breaker games were used with between ourselves and another hotel team which we won’t see again all season. Rendered pointless in my humble opinion, our team and a couple of others formed a formidable friendship which has really helped us settle into life, although already there is visible cracks to the original titans which is to be expected. I’m fortunate to be out here with one of my best mates and we have climbed mountains, kept fit and caused general havoc prior to receiving our ski passes. Working at a 2* hotel sometimes has a 2* working environment and strangely enough, being one of the more mature employees here, I get seriously infuriated at the lack of motivation towards maintaining high standards. Suppose when I’m running my own chalet it’ll have to be a minimum of 4*.

Unfortunately, as all the work on the hotel got finished two days before our first guests arrived, they reintroduced the slave trade for those final two days. Thirteen hour days were thankfully subsidised with unbelievable Italian cuisine which I must say is a perk of being in Italy. Being a foodie, this has been imperative and when they serve up dishes capable of serving fifteen, I ensure that those empty seats at the table felt like they’ve eaten. Praise my (skinny) childish metabolism. Lemon carbonara being a particular highlight, although aruncini and palenta are certainly two foods that are high up that list.

Ticking the hotel off was a milestone. With that accomplished, we received our ski passes and have been able to carve into that fresh powder! Oh no wait, hang on… We’ve had no bloody snow for two weeks!! Either way, I’m impressed with the availability of runs in our first week on them. It’s icy as bollocks (if you’re not from Yorkshire, I presume this terminology will make zero sense) so trying to pick that one week of snowboarding experience from ten years ago is proving an improbable challenge. One I’ve duly accepted but my body is certainly rejecting, with various scrapes, bruises, pulls and sprains being acquired in the first few runs. I’m one that can take a bit of a beating though and when you roll over and see the mountainous horizon glaring down at you, there’s no excuse to sit back and enjoy the euphoria of the place you’re living in. After one week back on the slopes though, I’m back on the black runs and carving those icy death traps for fun, although my arse still winces every time it hears the scraping of black ice!

Would I say the start of the season is what I expected? No. Would I say I’m excited by the rest of the season? Hell yeah! Watch out Shaun White…

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