‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaa and all that bollocks. Sadly, if you’re working up a mountain this Noël, you will know that the Christmas period is not likely to be the traditional orgy of joy and festivities.
As we learnt last month, seasons are not always as endlessly enjoyable as they might seem. No, life working in a ski resort over Christmas is a circus of sixteen-hour, migraine-inducing incompetence, served on a bed of angry punters, seasoned with a sprinkling of wailing brats, and a side order of ‘I honestly don’t give a flying fuck, I just want to go out riding.’
Of course if you’re a chalet bitch, you’re probably going to come off worst. Before the first-timers among you guffaw with glee because you think you’ve snaffled a cushy season job, let me offer you this dose of enlightenment…
“You’ll be empowered to run and host a chalet as if it were your own home."
If by ‘empowered’ they mean ‘enslaved’ then yes, this is pretty accurate. They’ll hand you a hundred Euros, a bog brush, some chipped crockery and a broken whisk, then deposit you unceremoniously in a chalet with severe drainage issues (the bastion of all good alpine architecture), and tell you curtly to deliver five-star service on pain of redundancy.
“Join an outgoing, hardworking team in a bar with a fantastic atmosphere"
Enter a world of sociopathic sex addicts with burgeoning alcoholism, in a bar that’s essentially nothing more than a turd that’s been repeatedly coated with glue and sprinkled with glitter. You will inexplicably fall in love with and shag each and every one of your colleagues over the course of the season. You will never go riding because you’re too busy getting pissed to survive the job. The hours in between will be spent visiting the doctor with various venereal ailments. It’s likely you may also spend the entire season with a moustache drawn on your upper lip in permanent ink.
“Make your passion your career"
Days of your life lost in the service of babysitting screaming, whining, snotty-nosed tots. Yes, welcome your new role as a souped-up off-road nanny. Weep with rage as you ascend the magic carpet at 0.04miles an hour for the seventy fifth time on a bluebird powder day, with a four-year-old under each arm, while all your friends are balls deep in pow.
“Required - a hard working, presentable, highly skilled tradesperson."
They don’t mention it in the job description, obviously, but there are some key, unspoken pre-requisites for this job. These are a) having a thick regional accent b) being a drug dealer.
Our own dear ‘logistics manager,’ as the company I worked for had the chutzpah to call him, we nicknamed The Geordie Ninja. He had this uncanny knack of disappearing whenever the shit hit the fan (poo overflowing into the bedrooms from a blocked toilet, emergency transfer requested, electrical fire), but would then materialise, as if by magic, whenever there were free leftovers on offer or it was someone else’s round.
“You may get the opportunity to test skis and boards so that you can make informed recommendations to guests."
Ha! What a load of codshit. Free gear, you think. Access to unlimited stash, you think. Well that’s very nice, but you’re forgetting that in this job you’ll only actually be riding for about three hours a day, which is about as useful as a cock flavoured lollipop unless you’ve got something worth hiking outside your front door. The rest of the time will be spent with your pretty little nose stuffed inside a thousand sweaty, fungus-infested boot-liners, while fielding this question from punters approximately forty million times: “My boots are a bit tight and painful, can I try a bigger size?"
“A chance to combine work and play, and revel in sunny skies and snowy slopes"
Underpaid, over-qualified, bored and always working during après hours. As a result, you’ll find yourself only socialising with your colleagues who are often fat, cliquey and Welsh.
Man of Leisure
“This is not a job. You are born to it"
Rather like ‘flashpacking’ and ‘glamping’, this is a form of ski bumming mainly reserved for those with trust funds. Main activities will include sitting around in underpants surfing snowboard porn and purchasing new equipment, waxing your extensive board and ski collection, drinking, attending the odd bit of ‘race training’ when the mood takes you and complaining about how tired you are and how bored you are of truffle oil and powder days.
“You’ll have to work harder, but the perks are endless"
With any management job comes an inevitable ‘them and us’ situation. Now, factor 18-year-olds into that image. Envision yourself at the centre of a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies, where you are perpetually shat on from all sides by staff and clients, and shovelled up by head office, while gradually coming to the chilling realisation that overall you actually get paid less than your staff because you don’t get tips. True, when I was an RM I did spend a large proportion of the season working naked from bed, intermittently eating biscuits and having sex while pre-booking ski passes online. So it’s not all bad.
Read more tales of catastrophe, sex and squalor from the alpine underbelly on Belle de Neige's blog!