It was like coming home. All those bloody steps!...
But when we finally got a lift round to Sainte Foy with our manager both Kerry and I had smiles on our faces. The resort was lacking a bit of snow but was instantly recognisable. We opened the door to the chalet to a cloud of feathers. People had been in to remove the sofa cushion covers to die them black. But apart from it looking like a chicken coop, she was just as we left her.
We had a week in total to get the chalet ready, clean her up a bit and get the shopping in. Our first week of guests was, yet again Christmas week.
Christmas, New Year, Easter and half terms are... in my opinion... always the hardest weeks. People pay top dollar to come, like thousands per person.. and so (possibly rightly so) expect a lot. These guests were no exception.
They owned multiple 8 bedroom houses, had au pairs and gardeners and pool boys. They shipped their kids off to boarding school, then got pissed off at them when they were around on 'holiday'. It was funny to watch really. But being our first week back in the game it made it hard. Really hard. Like I don't want to be here hard. I got quite depressed.
The snow wasn't as good as last year. Apparently last year was the best snow year in 60 years for volume and consistency with snowfall being spread out over the whole season. This year I was boarding down runs I had boarded last year and suddenly come across a river, having to unstrap and climb over it. That wasn't there last year!
So I got a bit down... but the next week was a lot better. A lovely family from South West Wales stayed with us. They were very Welsh, speaking their native tongue most of the time. It was interesting to listen to... all of a sudden an English word would pop up! I've always loved the Welsh people. I found it very easy hitchhiking in Wales when I did my Hitchventure in 2012.
The fireworks on New Year were spectacular. For such a small resort Sainte Foy definitely knows how to spend some money on explosions. The party games started straight after dinner with the two welsh brothers, 21 and 23 getting very competitive about who could climb around the table the quickest.
A group of 50 odd year old blokes stayed the week after and it was chaos to board with them. But fun at the same time. One bloke in particular just careered around, completely out of control, yet loving every minute. I cut together this video after riding with them for a day.
It was also our first experience catering for vegetarians. There was a couple booked in with the blokes and they didn't eat meat. It didn't go too badly really! I thought it would be mountains more work, making another dish as well as catering for the carnivores. But that wasn't the case. Heaven forbid if we ever get someone who's lactose intolerant, allergic to gluten or a fruitarian! Veggies we can do!
After a few weeks under our belt I now feel more at home, more at ease. It also helped that we had very few bookings and were treated to a week off! There was absolutely no one booked in! I was tasked with picking a new member of staff up from Geneva airport on the Wednesday, but other than that we had the chalet to ourselves!
Home at last!