We were invited back to run the same winter chalet that we did last year via a facebook message. And, running a little low on cash, decided another winter of boarding on a beautiful mountain wouldn't be much punishment for a few quid.
The coach journey from London to the Alps was not so bad this time. I managed to sleep fairly well and when we got to La Tania were divided up in to a few groups and shipped off to Meribel to settle in to a nice Chalet... not being waited on hand and foot in the companies hotel like last year.
This training week was different to last year. We were placed with 6 other wannabe chalet hosts and given a chalet, a manager and a chef. The next few days were spent learning to cook, clean and generally chatting about the practicalities of running a chalet. Our group were all couples, either people dating or friends who had decided to do a season so it was a really nice atmosphere.
We went out to the bar a few times in the evening, introducing the younger, unseasoned seasonnaires to Mutzig and Affligem, 7 - 8% lagers that seem to catch up on you!
Obviously Kerry and I knew which resort and chalet we were going to be put in. We chose to come back afterall. But the others in our Chalet had no idea where they were going.. and most no idea where they wanted to go. So everyone was excited, including Kerry and I, as Terry, our interim manager announced the selections. Everyone seemed pleased with their placements, some going to Les Gets and some staying here in Meribel.
After a rather boring morning doing the obligatory food hygiene course, we were pilling on to a bus and being taken to resort. The good bit! The bit everyone's been waiting for! Except Kerry and I, as we knew we wouldn't quite get to our resort just yet. We were destined for Tignes Le Breviere, a part of Tignes about the same height as our resort, just 20 minutes round the corner.
We always find this bit a touch annoying as you don't want to get properly settled in, only to move in a week or so, and it's always in the back of your head that your own chalet needs tarting up and organising before you get guests. One advantage was the apres though. We don't get much of a night life in our resort, so going to Tignes I took the opportunity to drink some beer... and drink beer is what I did.
I was out with all the lads from the chalets in Tignes. We had a few drinks in the chalet, then a few more in Vincents bar and finally ended up in the Underground bar The Vault. God knows what happens next, except for me waking up at 7:30, sat bolt upright in a big Chesterfield arm chair with a half played game of chess next to me. My head was pounding and my mouth felt like I'd been eating silica gel sachets. I gingerly got up and looked around the lounge I was in, finally making it to the front door and out on to the street. I was outside of a totally random chalet a 15 minute walk from the one I was meant to be sleeping in!~
Kerry wasn't pleased. She had been out looking for me at 3am, traipsing round the little town trying to find me. Every year a seasonnaire or two are caught out being too drunk and falling asleep outside where it gets to -25 C at night. But I was home safe... thanks to that random chalet.
Kerry and I were treated to a little night time soiree when Evolution 2 invited our manager and a few staff to a wilderness experience. We didn't really know what to expect. But turned up at the prescribed time to find 4 huge yurts setup in the snow. Massive flaming torches were everywhere and we were told to sit on the beanbags surrounding the big fire pit. It really was amazing. After a little while we were given cups of some sort of wine/spirit and paper bowls with hot soup in. It was nice to get to know our manager and the Tignes rep a little more... before we were called in to one of the yurts to sit down for dinner.
The food was good ole French Tartiflette and salad. One of my favourite French foods, and we had wine at the table. All around the yurt were tens if not hundreds of candles. There was no electricity up here on the side of the mountain and everything was powered by fire. Now we were sitting in, what I presumed to be, a very flammable wooden and cloth yurt, with one exit and hundreds of little flames for lighting. I expressed my concerns jovially with Kerry and the others.
Then my fear was realised. One of the girls serving the food had to move backwards to let a hot platter through and when she turned around her fur hood had caught fire! She'd inadvertently leant back in to a candle and now had a foot high flame roaring up behind her head. I heard a few people gasp... the girl was non the wiser... but no one moved! So I lept up and start twacking this girl like she was on fire. She WAS on fire.
The flame went out easily and she nonchalantly turned around and said "Was I on fire?" as everyone applauded. I felt like a superhero! And I sat back down to enjoy my dinner whilst keeping watch in case I needed to whip out my cape and come to another damsels rescue.