The down to earth musings of a seasonaire chalet couple reflecting on doing a ski season last year working in a luxury ski chalet in The Alps…
There is so much time in a day
On the season you get up, you make full-English for 16 people, you clear up the mess and set for afternoon tea, you bake a cake (although, always double the recipe as cakes freeze delightfully!) you clean a 16-bed chalet, you check the hot tub, you get ready, you ski for at least 6 hours solid, stop for a couple of drinks/chill with your mates, back for afternoon tea, start prepping for a three-course meal, clear up afternoon tea, set up the dinner table, socialise with the guests, cook a three-course meal, serve a three-course meal, clean kitchen, clear up the dinner table, lay breakfast table, get ready to go out and hit up shot night. You then come back, sleep minimal hours and start again. Even if you’re not into skiing or boarding, there are plenty of winter sports to try instead while out in the mountains.
Yes, you’re absolutely shattered, but look at all you’ve done! It’s amazing just how many tasks you can fit into those 24 precious hours when you absolutely have to. Taking it back home can be a real eye-opener. Just how much of your time is sat at a desk? Or even worse, on a sofa, or staring aimlessly at a screen looking at how much better everybody else’s lives are? Everybody has the same time in the day but not everyone has the same moments! Go run, read, bake a cake if you wish, but whatever you want to do, there’s plenty of time to fit it in so stop making excuses!
You can function on far less sleep than you thought
What with all the running around, cleaning, cooking, Saturday changeover and snow clearing, it’s safe to say that a ski season can be very physically demanding. Added to the fact you’re then skiing and/or boarding in your own ‘downtime’, you’d expect to have to sleep even more than at home just to function. Which isn’t true you’ll be surprised to hear!
Yes, some nights you’ll skip the pub to recover, or you’ll just sleep your whole day off (although, we only ‘needed’ to do this once all season…) but on the whole, you’re functioning on 6 hours or less sleep a night. At home, I wouldn’t be able to walk to the bathroom in the morning on that little sleep but out in the mountains, it just feels…do-able.
You just find an inner enthusiasm and motivation that you perhaps don’t get at home. You’re out there doing what you love and you’re excited to get up and do it. and so in the motto of Nike, you ‘just do it’. And you keep doing it. Again, and again, until the season is over. My biggest advice? Never leave thinking you missed out on something because you were tired. Our best days were always spontaneous ones with friends.
People, on the whole, are pretty decent human beings
Doing a ski season taught me to let people in more because it makes you realise that there are some genuinely nice people around. Like the people who brought their karaoke set into the chalet and let us celebrate a birthday with them that night. Absolute legends every one of them and great fun. Or those who gave our tip in the middle of the week so we could enjoy it on our day off. Or the guests who helped us clean the chalet, clear the snow and prepare dinner. The list is endless. Because ultimately, if you are nice to others, and demonstrate your hard work and passion, they’ll be nice back and will want to reward you well. And I’m not just talking tips, I’m talking inviting you to stay in their Oman home with them on holiday sometime, or paying for dinner for you, or even just clearing and cleaning the table each evening for you.
All simple gestures but proved to me that people are good and have good hearts. They may have paid a lot of money for your services, but most people don’t want you to wait on them hand and foot and many will cut you some slack. So, embrace it, make friends and network. We were offered jobs, holidays and some single colleagues almost found girlfriends, so put yourself out there and you never know what the world will give you back.
We will never take a two-day weekend for granted again. Ever
One day off just never seems enough. Do you rest all day, or do you go hard all day fitting in as much as you can? That’s the question you’re posed with given that once that prized day is over, it’s back to work. It also means you’re then plagued with the question of going hard or not on the night before your day off (thus, eating into a considerable chunk of the day the next morning) or the night of your day off (meaning breakfast service could be a struggle!). Ah, first world (ski season) problems, eh?
But back home, wow, 48 whole hours to do whatever I want!? Bring it on! It means you can properly plan for things, look forward to bigger events and alongside point number 1 above, you have so much room for activities!! I will never, ever, complain that a weekend is too short again!
Sometimes you just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone
Six months doing a ski season in the mountains, skiing every day in some of the biggest and best skiable domains in the world sounds like an absolute dream. What comforts are we pushing there? But for some, meeting new people every week strikes them down with fear. Living away from home seems an impossible task. Leaving your ‘safe’ job behind to pursue what you really love can seem daunting. You’re leaving your friends, your family, your jobs and your belongings behind and you’re starting afresh! But just remember why you wanted to go out in the first place, to get away from what society tells you to do. You don’t have to be ruled by society’s watch, you can go at your own pace. The memories we made on our season easily surpass that money and the plans we could/would have made if we stayed at home.
All of these (irrational) fears fade away the moment you step foot in that chalet. Your interpersonal skills skyrocket from being confronted with new faces each and every week, you manage your time superbly to ensure maximum time on the slopes, and you have an incredible time meeting awesome people and forgetting about any worries you previously had.
This time of year the applications are open so go, go, go!! We literally can’t help but recommend it to every single person we meet, so now is the time to apply!
Check out our current ski season roles.
This blog post originally appeared on www.chaletcouple.com and was reprinted with permission.
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