Beers, boards and being broke: Everything you will experience on a ski season
All the clichés are true
If the eye rolls your pretentious ‘gap yah’ mate gets, are anything to go by, you know bringing up your ski season will get roasted on the group chat.
There are a lot of connotations associated with the term ‘ski season’ and my guess most of them are negative. Privately educated ‘posh totties’ who have paid thousands of pounds for a chalet cookery course or lads with long hair that constantly refer to you as ‘dude’ are just a few stereotypes that spring to mind.
In truth, the clichés are pretty accurate. You probably won’t ‘find yourself’ and if you’re seeking a spiritual or cultural epiphany, then a popular tourist destination, littered with white middle-class holiday goers, probably shouldn’t be your go to. However, spending five months in the Alps will no doubt be a truly unforgettable experience. In every sense of the word.
You’ll quickly learn that whoever wrote your job description has a vivid imagination, but a loose grip on the truth.
Life at home will become a distant memory
Living in a ski resort can actually be quite isolating in a good way, it’s like living at uni except with much better views. You start out with good intentions, texting Mum everyday but gradually the only thing you begin to care about is when it’s next going to snow and when you’re getting off work.
The inevitable lack of wifi provides a convenient excuse. Whispers about what’s going on in the ‘real world’ come from guests milling in and out of the hotel. By the time you get back, your best mate has broken up with his girlfriend, another war has broken out in the Middle East and Kim and Kanye have had another baby.
You’ll become a bit of a knob
This is a progressive, subconscious process and I couldn’t pin point exactly when or how it happens. I think it begins with a subtle change to your daily vocab and the way you dress. Words such as ‘pow’ and ‘steeze’ become commonplace and all of a sudden you start wearing your DC clothing three sizes bigger than you actually should. You also start throwing snowballs at the snowploughing twats from the chair lift. Your friends back home will bring you crashing back down to earth or maybe you were just a knob already.
It will feel like you never stop working
No phrase epitomises a ‘ski season’ more suitably than ‘work hard play hard.’ The hours are long and the work is tedious. It can be especially tough when a 5’4 middle-aged man is moaning that his kids boots don’t fit perfectly, or an old French woman is complaining her steak has been overcooked. However, once a week you’ll have twenty-four golden hours of freedom and you want to make make the most of every single second. Fresh air and adrenalin are effective hangover cures and it won’t be long before you have remembered why you came to the mountains in the first place.
You’ll be hungry and broke
This is synonymous with being exhausted. Just don’t take the ‘three meals a day’ in your job description at face value. Despite working constantly, you will always find your pockets empty.
There will be a lot of embarrassing moments
It’s bound to happen at some point. Maybe you got too confident and tried to ollie over that fence in the distance to impress your mates or that girl that works in the chalet not far from you. Shame you didn’t see those kids out on a school trip below, as you knock each one of them down as if you’ve scored a strike in ten-pin bowling.
The friends you make will be for life
Working in a ski resort is a claustrophobic experience. You eat, work, drink and sleep together. You spend every waking moment for five months in each other’s company, squeezed into tiny accommodation and you bond over a love for ‘shredding.’ If you don’t kill each other, these are the foundations of a friendship that will last a long time. You can also talk to these mates without them judging you when you talk about what you did on your ‘gap yah.’
You might find your soul mate
Seasonnaires often have a very valid reputation for debauchery and promiscuity but the reality is many people settle down on their season and some even find partners for life. A one night stands can quickly turn into two kids, a dog and a chalet company business in the Alps.
You’ll have the best six months of your life
Doing a ‘ski season’ is a physical and emotional rollercoaster, but it’s infectious. Six months sounds like a long time but it’ll be over before you know it. There might be times where you’re loving every second of it and there may be other times when you miss your friends and family back home.
However, there is a real reason why seasonnaires head back out to the mountains ever year. For those seeking some kind of normality, you might to uni afterwards and you’ll probably have a great time. But one day, you’ll be walking across a grey campus in the West Midlands on your way to a 9am lecture. You’ll look up, think about the snow and the mountains and realise that those were the best days of your life.