Since December, over 100 different tongues have tingled with pleasure at the presence of my food. Or, more likely, too much chalet wine.
Either way… almost 3 months in… Where the time has gone literally baffles me.
We’re talking 900 eggs, 60 cakes, and impressive development of my CGA (Chalet Girl Ass).
But before embarking on this mad escapade back in December, I made sure I read up on what it’s actually like to do a ski season.
What could I expect? (Aside from an unavoidable diet of cake, beer, wine and French stick leading, inevitably, to dreaded CGA).
Anyway, apparently around the middle of the season in February, when the novelty of living in a ski resort starts to ebb, it’s fairly normal to feel a little depressed. Your skiing progress begins to plateau, you get bored of resort, the job becomes mundane, you start to miss home… and other wah wah wah’s.
Yes, there are certainly bad days, actually, bad weeks… but on the whole… I just can’t relate to this concept of ‘mid season lows’. Quite the opposite.
Actually, the middle of the season for me has brought with it a sense of general contentment and comfort. Now that I can ski, and cook, and do my job efficiently, and, of course, now I look like I’m sponsored by Ribena … life is just… sweet! I no longer feel out of place on the slopes, and I no longer feel daunted when ten hungry strangers turn up every Saturday and expect little old me to feed and look after them all week. These things are easy peasy lemon sqeezy now. Everything is chill.
If anything, the worst part of the season for me was December, because then I was both a beginner skier and a beginner chalet host- and if there’s one thing I hate, its being rubbish at stuff when I so want to excel.
So now, with this long-term feeling of accomplishment, the last few weeks have also meant genuine excitability for the rest of the season. Hey, right now, I’m just generally quite excitable about life.
I’ve been lucky though. Change has been my friend. I’ve avoided getting stuck in any kind of rut thanks to a fair amount of moving around to work in other resorts, which suits me down to the ground… new friends, new slopes, new nightlife, new types of guests… I love new.
And for the past couple of weeks I’ve been having a blast working in La Plagne (pronounced plan… the source of many cheesy jokes regarding plans in La Plagne).
La Plagne is an ugly resort, with breathtakingly beautiful skiing.
The team and I get on like a house on fire.
Nothing beats hanging out with people who equal you in silliness.
The mutual love has been such that I’ve been given a season pass and will now be splitting my time between here and Les Menuires / Val Thorens as needed.
Two season passes for two different resorts… who’s a happy girl??
I love being a floater.
For the first week in La Plagne I was reunited with my one-time Alpe D’Huez partner in crime, Cressida.
I had nice guests as well
Including four teenage boys, who we took out for some highly banterous skiing a couple of times.
They literally made me one of the family for the week… helped me serve and clear the table, devoured every little morsel I put before them, insisted I eat with them, and left me incredible feedback, which is always nice.
Unfortunately though, they did not put their money where their feedback forms were… which miffed us all as they literally bummed me all week… and I’ve since decided it’s time to start dropping some serious ‘tip me!’ hints. No more Mrs Nice Mel.
The hints (or just my awesomeness) seemed to work the next week though!
These guys gave a little ‘thankyou’ speech and presented me with 100 euros… yay!
But it’s not all about money. Actually, once I’d had a little strop and sulk about not getting tipped last week, I couldn’t give a monkeys.
No, for me it’s all about the FUN. It’s about getting out on the slopes or on top of the bar and enjoying life. It’s most definitely NOT about having a pity party regarding the diminishing contents of your purse.
Who CARES! You live on the roof of the world and pretty much everything is paid for!
I for one am here to enjoy myself, and relaxed-mid-season-competence provides the perfect breeding ground for such enjoyment.
Indeed, we’re having a blast out here in La Plagne
Our days are characterised by having ‘moments’ with the view…
…by chair lift banter
…Gondola Fever (thanks for that one Paula, I love it)
…Never ending awe at the reflective supremacy of each other’s goggles
…And general snowy silliness
Here I am trying to get my ski behind my head
And failing miserably
And, yes, we go to work too.
If you’ve got good guests (or if you pop next door to bitch about your bad ones / steal each other’s food /annoy each other enough) work is also pretty fun!
As are the nights out, which naturally entail a whole set of other stories.
Suffice it to say, out-of-hand silliness is usually a defining factor in a night’s success…
As a general rule, if the night beings with amateur gymnastics and chalet wine, we probably won’t make it out the door.
As another general rule, if you can get down the mountain on your day off, you must eat McDonalds.
‘errr s’il vous plait… ketchup?’
Oh, it’s divine to eat something NOT on the Ski France menu.
Kate and I enjoyed a rather romantic Valentine’s Day meal in there together last week actually.
Then we went shopping and I bought a new dress- which I instantly nicknamed ‘my phenomena nighty’, for fear that it may actually kill me on a -20c night out.
I also bought a helmet and now my ski outfit is well and truly complete. Happy Days!
Food and shopping: Parfait.
But not as good as this week’s day off… which involved a group ROAD TRIP to Tignes! Yay!
Will drove us in the van. These are his eyes, concentrating.
And this is me, doing a standard Mel and trying not bring up last night’s wine on the 20 hairpin turns down to reality.
McDonalds soon cured that. Literally, magic.
In Tignes we met up with Drew, another colleague I’d not seen since training week, and the six of us had an INCREDIBLE day skiing and mucking about together.
We found an airbag… a free one!
And got stuck in with some jumpy fun…
Well, I didn’t. Apparently I was still trying not to vom.
But I DID have a go on the ACTUAL X-Games half pipe… and its freaking huge!
Naturally I screamed and giggled hysterically like a crazy person the whole way down.
On the whole, Tignes is very cool, it just has a COOL vibe, and everyone LOOKS cool.
And it was free, because the La Plagne season pass gives two free days at other resorts or something.
Just like my new favourite fruit (tenuous, I know), which is so yummy I had to share it with you.
My dutch guests seem to always buy and eat these giant orange things, and I was curious so asked to try some one day.
Lush. It’s like a grapefruit had a forbidden love affair with an orange and they had secret hybrid babies.
Remember the name, and see if you can buy one in Tesco.
Trust me on this, dutchies always know best.
Anyway, in cheesy summary, I have only to say that my mid-season sentiment is not in fact low, but as sweet as a Chinese honey pomello.
And just like the pomello (and, apparently, French McDonalds), I really can’t get enough right now.
Bring on the second half of the season (which, ironically, is when I probably will get depressed at the prospect of it all ending)!
PS- Very excited for this next week (my final in La Plagne for a while). It looks set to be a big messy one as we have a ridiculous amount of chalets and staff, and our beautiful and hilarious friend Kate is off at the end of it. Cannot wait for lots of (hopefully wild) guests, some crazy group skiing, out of hand après action, and ridiculous nights out… It’s definitely going to be a week to get fully involved with living the seasonaire life, and I promise stories.