We caught up with Alpoholics main man, Charlie Bulbrook, on hosting the Lobster Crew in his chalet
Lobster released their latest film, Losers, last week. It’s a showcase in high-octane, heavy slamming, dressing gown wearing, full-on shredding. Not that you’d expect anything less from the boys. They didn’t exactly make a name for themselves being in bed by 9 or enforcing a strict ‘no mixing’ policy with their drinks.
It’s hardly a multimedia resumé which screams ‘ideal house guest’, but for Charlie Bulbrook, owner of La Plagne based chalet company, Alpoholics, he extended the invite to the crew for the Lobster Cream Week, last April. As the official demo centre for both Bataleon and Lobster snowboards, nestled up in one of France’s most underrated resorts, it turned out to be a match made in heaven.
We caught up with the man himself to find out just how loose things got on the Cream Week, what makes Alpoholics a Chalet experience like no other, and what might be hiding in Fridge’s backpack…
We checked out the new Lobster film, Losers, last week – it’s so wild. How was it hosting the crew in La Plagne when they were out filming in April?
Yeah, it was pretty wild but in a really nice way; these guys sure know how to have fun (as do we) but they are also just super good dudes so it was never in a disrespectful or up their own arses kind of way. Just good old fashioned dicking around and having a laugh.
The season before we hosted the Transworld/Monster crew when they came to us to shoot “The Future of Yesterday” movie and there was some overlap with the riders and crew so we kind of knew what to expect.
“Just good old fashioned dicking around and having a laugh”
Also, it was the last week of the season right at the end of April so, although things were winding down in resort there was still bucket loads of snow and good times to be had.
We hear you’re a bit of a legend on a snowboard too (cough-British-Uni-Freestyle-Champ-cough). What was it like getting to ride with a crew like that in your own back yard?
Oh wow, I’ve not heard my one snowboarding accolade mentioned for many moons! Yeah, it was amazing riding with some of my all-time heroes and helping them scout spots. But the coolest thing about having some of the best riders on the planet in your backyard is that suddenly all of these crazy spots that I’ve looked at over the last ten years and thought “imagine gapping that” or “I wonder if anyone could hit that without dying” become reality as they actually can gap that and hit that (no one died).
“Suddenly all of these crazy spots that I’ve looked at over the last ten years and thought ‘imagine gapping that’ or ‘I wonder if anyone could hit that without dying’ become reality”
Watching people like Eiki, Frank Bourg and Fridge do their thing in the flesh blew my mind just as it did with Halldor, Ethan Morgan, Kevin Backstrom & Tor Lundstrom the year before.
None of the Lobster team are known for doing things by half measures, but who partied the hardest that week? Were there any proper rogue moves?
I think there’s only one winner here and yes – it was, of course, the lone Brit of the bunch! Take a bow Mr. Sparrow Knox. The sheer relentless energy of that man is rather infectious and it seems once an idea pops into his head it’s not long before the whole crew is on board and smashing wall rides at midnight, Brewdog in hand. We also threw a Lobster party at my mate’s bar on the last night which was where you see Birkir getting his Lobster Tattoo in the movie.
You guys seem to look after your guests really well. Did Chalet Mustang provide the dressing gown that Sparrow donned for the night session? We heard rumours he wasn’t keen to change out of it after, what exactly happened that night?
Yeah, we provide a much higher level of service than you’d expect from a chalet company in our price range. All of our chalets have hot tubs and all of our chefs are professional chefs, so we like to think people are getting exceptional value for money with our chalet holidays.
We even loan out our dressing gowns to highly exuberant mega-shredders so they can snowboard down the concrete stairs of the local nightclub at 3am. You don’t get that from any other chalet company that I know of…
Did you manage to sneak a peek inside Fridge’s backpack? Any ideas what he’s hiding in there?
Ahh well, many have tried and many have failed to unearth the hidden mysteries of the Fridge backpack. One can only surmise that it is packed to the brim with secret sender sauce and, hopefully for him, a whole bunch of arnica cream – that dude puts his body through the ringer man!
Did the boys lose their deposit? Or did you have to give the cleaner a pay rise by the end of the week?
Haha no, not at all. As I said earlier they were all super respectful and knew exactly where the line was so everyone was happy and they are welcome back any time. I think that’s the vibe we try to cultivate. The best thing about the name “Alpoholics” is that its self selecting so all of our guests seem to be on the same wavelength as us.
“People with a stick up their arse don’t book a holiday with a company called ‘Alpoholics’ we’d like to keep it that way!”
People with a stick up their arse don’t book a holiday with a company called “Alpoholics” we’d like to keep it that way! Our typical guests like a laugh, a drink or two and are mad about sliding on snow so there’s a perfect synergy there and people just love it. Having said all that, Sparrow, you owe me a dressing gown son!
La Plagne is somewhat of a hidden gem in the Alps, surrounded by the bigger, surrounding resorts. What made you want to base yourself there and set up Alpoholics?
Well, we started off in Morzine back in 2010 but we soon realised that we wanted to be in a more high altitude, snow-sure resort and when I was offered a chalet in La Plagne I realised that La Plagne was just this great big amazing blank canvas with incredible terrain and great people and I just thought I could do so many cool things here.
One of these was to set up a weekly apres event at La Bergerie Restaurant up the mountain which used to have about 50 people in attendance every week and now, 5 years later they have built a multi-million Euro après venue that gives the Folie Douce a run for its money (but with better music and less champagne wasting!).
My Wednesday events are sponsored by the likes of Brewdog, Bataleon, Lobster (of course), ThirtyTwo, Bawbags, bro! and more. It’s really fun as we always have loads of goodies to chuck out and I can pretty much play what I want. We do things like 90s parties and have a “raver of the week” award too. There’s also a ping pong table and Giant Jenga and this year there will be a singer and a sax player every day so it’s gotten pretty huge!
“I realised that La Plagne was just this great big amazing blank canvas with incredible terrain and great people and I just thought I could do so many cool things here”
Having the Lobster guys come stay (and the Future of Yesterday boys the year before) made us all super proud to be based in La Plagne which, as a resort, really does have the perfect balance of everything. There’s insane and ridiculously vast terrain that gets tracked at about a 10th of the rate of neighbouring resorts, a massively burgeoning après scene that’s there whenever you want it but not so “in your face” that you end up obliterating your riding week (and your bank account), and down to earth, nice people with good vibes.
The park is also pretty rad and the Les Arcs one (linked from La Plagne) is world-class. But its a tricky one as part of me wants to shout all this from the rooftops and part of me wants to keep it all for myself and my guests as the last thing we want is for it to become one of those resorts that get tracked by 09:30 on a pow day!
Between running 5 chalets and DJing, do you still find time to ride?
Well over the last year or two we’ve expanded our management team and Jenny & Jess are really great at their jobs so I’m no longer running around like a nutter and have had more time to ride and to just concentrate on the bigger picture stuff as well as my apres events which I love doing so much. It also means that when I do visit the guests in the chalets I can do so in a relaxed and social manner, perhaps joining them for a beer and a chat about their day rather than stressing about whether every little detail has been done properly. Its much better this way!
What exciting plans have Alpoholics got lined up for this season?
We’ve added a chalet bar to our flagship Chalet Orshanti which will have 2 types of Brewdog on tap as well as our usual choice of around 7 different craft beers from our official Brewdog honesty bar. It also has a vintage Bar Billiards table, a dartboard and Sky/BT Sports. I’m gonna have to dream up some good excuses to “pop in” fairly regularly I think! Also, the apres venue has just made some pretty exciting upgrades but I’m not allowed to talk about those yet; you’ll have to follow our Instagram over the coming months for that info but it’s looking pretty mega up there.
Will you be hosting the Lobster crew again?
We would love to! I am trying to figure out dates with Halldor at the moment but the guys are super keen to come back so hopefully, we will get it dialled as its something we all just love doing.
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