No one can prepare you for your first ski season. But here are three things I learnt during my first ski season that hopefully will prepare you. Disclaimer I had a particularly hard first season, if you read on you will understand why!
During my first ski season I was a customer service representative (rep) for a school ski trip company in the stunning resort of Serre Chevalier. To start the season we flew out to Alpe d’Huez, for a weeks training. From there we were meant to move to our respective resorts. However the hotel I would be based in was not yet ready. For this reason we were temporarily shipped off to different resorts to wait for the hotel to be finished.
Just before Christmas we moved to the resort, well sort of. We had 12 of us living across 3 studio apartments not ideal really. Luckily on Boxing Day we finally moved into our accommodation for the season. A few days later the rest of the hotel staff arrived into resort.
1. The start is the hardest part of every season
When you arrive in resort you have some basic training, (and this is good fun, getting to meet everyone). However be warned after this the hard part starts. First there is the cleaning of the property! I know what your thinking, but its an all hands on deck with getting the hotel ready for first guests. Often the hotels or chalets have been sat empty collecting dust for the months between the end of summer season and winter starting.
During my first season the hotel was new to the company and they had commissioned some refurbishments by builders. Which is what we were waiting to be finished to be able to move in. Therefore it was in a worse state than the standard hotel at the start of a season. We felt like we cleaned something really well and then the next day there was a layer of dust exactly the same as the day before. Builders generate a lot of dust.
Once the guests start arriving you get into a routine. As a rep you don’t have to do so much cleaning. It also is a case of keeping on top of things rather than starting from the beginning.
2. How to live with other people
Probably one of the hardest things you have to cope with on season is living with other people. Some people like managers get their own rooms but most of the time you will have to share.
In my first year we lived on the ground floor, with four of us in the room. Lets start with the positives. It was an en suite room which was good. We had a TV which we could plug a hard drive into. Not so good was the bunk beds, as a grown adult no one really wants to be in a bunk bed.
The three girls I lived with, were all hotel assistance (HAs). Which meant that they worked slightly different hours to me. Not so much an issue in the evening. However on some transfer days I started earlier than them. This often meant getting ready in the dark or trying to make sure you have everything ready the night before. But you know you’re bound to forget something.
3. You only remember the good
Looking back at my season now I remember it as sunshine and rainbows. Except it isn’t always like that. There will be times that you get sick and still have to work. Times when you just want to go home. Or those times that you don’t agree with a colleague or the management. Just like any normal job except that you live, socialise and work with all of the same people.
When you come home though and people ask about how your season was you will remember all the good times. Like that perfect blue bird day on your day off or the time you all dressed up in togas for someones birthday. Or the week your parents came out to visit and take you for food at the restaurant you’ve been dying to try.
Now when I compare my first season to the other three, I think that it was my hardest one. I think this is partly due to the start where I was moved around from place to place each week. Meaning I didn’t feel like I had settled in anywhere for quite some time. Hopefully these three things I learnt will help you to know more about the reality of your first ski season. I also hope that you won’t have the same start as I did. But hopefully you will learn to love it as much as I did.