So – I’ve made it, I’m here, about 1000 miles away from the tiny town I’ve spent my short 20 years, settling into the place that I am lucky enough to call home for the next 5 months or so.
I came here with a sad story to tell (doesn’t everyone who runs off to the mountains?) but that story is becoming more of a distant memory every day. I’ve already made bonds with people that are quickly becoming like family. Ive laughed more than I have done in a while, I’ve been drunk, kissed strangers, gone even further than that. (Sorry mum. Stop reading.)
So, what is the ski season all about? First off, I must tell you that the job of ‘resort representative’ actually involves WAY more than taking rowdy guests on bar crawls and throwing shots back. I am actually going to be responsible for getting bus loads of people to and from the airport – this might sound easy enough, but let’s not forget, people are idiots. I am liasing with in-resort suppliers, (no sexual undertones implied here) I am securing commission deals from restaurant owners, I am even filling out health and safety assessments for Christ sakes. But that’s not to say that the general impression of a ski season is a lie – it has also so far involved a lot of free shots, drunken games in the snow and enough banter to make an entire rugby team wince.
The first week, training week, I believe I made a colossal mistake – I set the bar way too high. I was tipsy, confident and determined to put the last couple of horrendous months behind me. I locked eyes with the most attractive guy in the bar, and from that instant I knew I had to talk to him. So my line of ‘sorry, you’re incredibly hot – I had to talk to you’ admittedly wasn’t the smoothest phrase i’ve ever come up with, but it worked. He laughed, talked to me and joked around, he was several years older than me I imagine, a surfer with a wonderful face and a wicked sense of humour (I know, I know.) After kissing I thought that was that, until he got my attention at the end of the night as I was leaving the final bar. All I took away from that night was a few kisses, a first name, the name of the places he works and a bar token, not even a number or a Facebook add. It’s been a while, so why won’t this guy get out of my head? I’m not proposing some kind of Cinderella hunt for him (he didn’t really strike me as the glass slipper type) or some gone girl psycho level of stalkery, but I can’t understand why he won’t leave my mind, maybe it was the glint in his eye, maybe it was his southern charm or maybe the altitude has just gone to my head. (Personally I prefer the latter.)
Since then, I’ve moved into my own resort for the season, Tignes, a 20-minute coach ride from my training venue of Val D’isere, and I’m exhilarated, overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. (As well as continuously hungover.)
The mountains truly are beautiful, luckily the sky has been a cloudless blue and last weeks heavy snow means that everything is dusted in glittering white. It doesn’t feel real – I will be sat at work in the chalet and look up, completely surprised to find myself in an Evian advert.
As far as getting on the slopes goes, we haven’t had our lift passes yet – and it really is torture surveying these conditions every day with my board eyeing me from the corner of my room. (Don’t worry baby – there’s 5 months of that to come.)
One thing I wish I’d have done my research on before leaving is exactly what to bring, so if anyone reading this is about to head out on a season or plans to do one in the future, please find below the essentials for surviving a ski season (or the first 2 weeks anyway.)
1. An extension cable
You’re only really guaranteed one plug socket to yourself out here – and let’s face it, nobody can survive anymore without having 3 gadgets on the go as well as our hairdryers. (Hairdryer can also double up as emergency underwear drier/boot warmer) just remember your French adapter so that you can actually plug it in.
2. LOTS of socks
Seriously, bring thousands. You will use them. You will lose them. You may even abuse them. They will get wet. Your feet will get cold, you will want a new sung pair to put on afterwards. Bottom line is, you need loads.
3. Home comforts
Even the most independent of us will miss home at some point – or even if it’s just to remember what your mum’s face looks like, chuck a few photos in an album and make your new space homely. (Personally, 80% of my album contains pictures of what I will miss most – my dog.)
4. Condoms/ contraception
Let’s not be all British and shy and uptight about this. You are probably going to have sex with a stranger during the season. So be safe about it. Check yo’self and protect yo’self.
5. Notebook & lots of pens
If you’re working for a big company like I am – the training sessions require you to take notes and obtain important information to set you up for the season. Your new found ‘friends’ will also disappear with your pens. Good luck.
Notebooks are also good for neurotic writers like me or for letters to send home/ love songs/ rap battle preparation/ presidential speech draft.
Inevitably, you will be drunk a lot this season. Think of university on snow, a Baltic Benidorm. Resort prices are expensive – bring a bottle of whatever your favourite is and be sneaky about it, there’s plenty of space in those salopettes. I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift from a good friend before I came out – so if funds are low you can always demand one as a present.
7. ‘Going-out’ tops
For us girls – the struggle is real out here. We want to look nice when we go out – but we are surrounded by snow. Let me tell you from experience – you can bring the crop tops. The bars are SWEATY, knees weak…. Arms are heavy…… I digress, but seriously, as long as you wear a decent jacket and wrap up for the walk to the bar and home, you can wear anything inside.
So far – that’s about it, obviously as the season goes on I will probably kick myself for forgetting various other essentials – of which I will keep you updated!