Why work a season?

Val d'Isere Travel Blog

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So we 3 went out to work a ski season. It's no big deal, many people do it every year in europe - those priveliged few who have skied since childhood often regard it as a matter of course, a rite of passage before or after uni, but somewhere between teenage years and a 'proper' job. Some get hooked completely, and work the seasonal shifts between summer and winter, their every moment dedicated to being in the mountains.

If you've never head of it before, i suggest you look into it. If you are considering doing it, go for it. You will not have as much fun over the course of one winter any other way!

I never attended university, so I guess my season was a chance to catch up on being poor, living in squalour and partying every night. By the end of it, I was a hardened drinker, a half-decent boarder and had this funny twitch in my right eye from sheer exhaustion.

The cameraderie was incredible. There were about 25 staff working in our hotel; and we spent more time together than is ever healthy for young adults. 4 of us shared a tiny apartment, where going to bed meant finding it first, and re-conquering your territory from comatose colleagues, bits of food and the never-ending tundra of clothing that dominated our tiny landscape. Going to work meant you piled your boarding kit on your bed, going boarding meant the opposite. We lived in such close quarters that an unchecked sneeze could easily hit 3 other people, and we could switch off each other's alarm clocks without getting out of bed.

The riding was awesome; we started out like bambi on the frozen lake, and sketchily learnt to ride on the icy slopes of the Espace Killy, which is not known for being gentle or forgiving. By the end of the season we were going silly, throwing ourselves off anything with a landing and riding from top to bottom of the resort in a single hit (a game we called 'feel the burn', which ensured you could not walk properly afterwards).

In our tiny apartment we had injuries and disapointments too. 2 ACL's, 2 spinal fractures (the same guy - twice! He went home after the second one), bruised and broken coccyx's all round, broken collar bones and hearts.

The money was shit, the working hours even worse, but I had the time of my life, and I'd do it all again in an instant, if only I could...
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Val d'Isere
photo by: skibabe