Saturday, 23 February 2013

Friends in snowy places...

The transfer bus drives up the road and sat at the back is a very good friend of mine.

Alex and Claire had been promising a visit ever since we murmured we were working a ski season. We had been on 2 skiing holidays before this season and both were with Alex and Claire.

It really was a welcomed break. I didn't realise quite how lonely the whole experience would be. Yes I have Kerry, and yes I've made friends here on the ski resort.. but somewhere deep down It's still lonely. So seeing Alex's little cherub face grinning at me through the bus window, like an excited child who's just seen an ice cream van, was a sight I'd been longing for.

A few big hugs and welcomes later and I was straight back in to Chalet Host mode. We had 6 other guests to cater for afterall!

Flashing back a few days, Kerry and I log in to the company website to check on numbers. Brilliant... still just two, our two mates. Then comes Tuesday ... Bugger! Another two.. Oh well I'm sure they'll be lenient and understanding ... Thursday rolls up ... Get a text whilst nailing some awesome tree runs.

  "Manager Mobile: We nd 2 go shopping, u hve 8 guests nxt wk!"

Right... A trip to Bourg St Maurice (the nearest place with a supermarket) later and a grimacing wait and I'm stood looking at that bus, with my window licker mate grinning back at me.

Kerry, Gabby, Mark and Jules chillin'
My fears and concerns were soon put to rest. Three of the guests had worked seasons before, 2 a couple, like Kerry and I, called Chris and Jane. Everyone was very nice... It was the first time Kerry and I had had a group of people who were mixed bookings. 'Usually' a group hired the chalet in its entirety. This time everyone had snapped up a last minute deal! But it worked.

People were able to mingle, chat and discuss new and exciting things, everyone had something to bring to the table, stories, games. It all just clicked. We had our moments with our friends, but also enjoy the company of the other guests.

To my delight Alex decided to grab a board for a few days. I started learning just as he started his second or third week so I always thought we'd ride together, but after a couple of days on my first holiday he succumbed to the lure of ease and convenience associated with skiing, lacking in panache and finesse on a board.

Alex at his finest!
He was a touch wobbly, but he looked like he was enjoying it! I think he surprised himself as to how much he remembered. Claire had come on leaps and bounds, I was nearly gobsmacked when I first saw her. I'd become accustomed to a few tears, ski poles being thrown as well as the odd obscenity following them down the mountain! But this time it was a real pleasure to ski with her. Something I'd like to do again.

I don't think Gabby, Mark, Jules and Becky were privvy to the 'little game' that was brought by the ex-seasonnaires but they contributed well! The basics of it were to tell a story as a 'pants' nomination. The nominations were then voted upon and a 'winner' decided. This winner then had to wear a pair of knitted pants (or thong) for the evening, morning and start of evening until the next nominations were conducted at dinner.

Kerry sums up a few of the hilarious stories over on her blog. I'll admit now, some of my spectacular cartwheels in the powder won me an evening wearing the panties.

I'd say I got off lightly. Alex won the pants on Tuesday, the night before the hosts day off. That meant he had to wear the panties out to the restaurant on Wednesday night!

Our friends very kindly took us out to dinner. It just so happened that the rest of our guests were booked in to the same restaurant and we sat next to them on the next table!

Kerry and I both had steak, mine with a peppercorn sauce and Kerry with morel mushrooms. I asked for it to be cooked semian (?sp) or rare in French and it was beautifully cooked.

Alex and Claire opted for the typical French Raclette. I've never seen one of these before so was a tad surprised when a large wrought iron contraption was presented at the table and plugged in to the wall. Turns out its a sort of ceramic heating element similar to hair straighteners, a MASSIVE block of cheese (presumably Raclette) was then put in position to melt with an accompanying platter of cold meats and breads.

The evening was a real treat and a good laugh. The food was brilliant, company familiar and we were still able to all gather round to complete that nights pants nominations.

Unfortunately for Alex, he 'won' the pant wearing duty again so had to walk out of the restaurant in the same get up as he'd walked in!

The week didn't feel like work. The guests weren't 'guests' for this week. They were our friends and the whole holiday was just a group of friends who happened to have dinner parties everynight and were able to snowboard in the days!

It was sad to see new friends leave and we will be sure to keep in contact. The offers of hospitality was also more than welcomed, and as for being a bridesmaid at Chris and Jane's wedding... I'll have to see if I'm free for the dress fitting.

Enjoy the video below: Best viewed in HD if possible