THE LESSER SPOTTED SKIER

Emerging tired and grumpy from his hibernating hire car the lesser spotted skier reaches for the sky with both hands, stretching and cracking his back he yawns and scratches his belly before turning to his uncontrollable screaming infants.

Carrying more luggage than he packed, loaded with ski gear and with an arm outstretched the lesser spotted skier has learnt not to argue after emerging from his den.

Greeted by those providing for his family for his annual expedition to the slopes leaves the lesser spotted skier exhausted but thankful.

On the first morning he rouses his family, gathering at the eating table at an early 8am. Keen to be out on the snow before the hordes he holds his tribe personally responsible if he isn’t on the first chairlift that morning. The scene makes for some eventful watching. Boots of all sizes are forced onto tiny feet and coats, hats and gloves, some too big, some too small are fitted onto their loose limbs and sent to the front of the queue, most of the time without a visit to their bathroom.

He then leads his pack down slopes and back up again in search of lost phones, cameras and ski poles. But the lesser spotted skier won’t be baffled and easily off loads this accusation of not closing his pockets by suggesting that perhaps it was undone because he was leading his family to get lift passes, was carrying 8 ski poles and four pairs of skis. The lesser spotted skier is quick to pass the blame to the youngest member who involuntarily bursts into tears and is treated with care by the mother.

The Lesser Spotted Skier evades the camera.

The Lesser Spotted Skier evades the camera.

On returning to their rental layer that night an argument is spared with the flow of free chalet wine. The lesser spotted skier is let off by the female of the group for slapping the ass of his host because the female is absorbed with her smart phone and complains loudly and continually that the internet doesn’t work. After several more bottles the adults of the group sluggishly retire to their room, fatigued and with a promise of being at breakfast at 8am, they bid a goodnight.

Day by day the group emerge later and later for their first meal of the day, finally arriving at 8:58, they apologetically request the house special whilst running around sorting clothes and skis. A tired and exhausted mother does the final dressing of the cubs as the lesser spotted skier shows no sign of helping.

Without ski school on the final day, the lesser spotted skier knows he will have to wait for his cubs to gingerly make their way down runs he insists upon choosing. A black run never looks so satisfying to the lesser spotted skier than when he is watching his cubs emerge in floods of tears at the foot of the mountain.

The last day of his annual migration towards the snow shows signs of cracks in an otherwise seem less relationship with his pack. Knowing his future hours will be packing, loading, repacking and reloading of his family’s bags, he sits restful with his well earned beverage.

Finally packed with clothes, skis and children the annual migration expires in silence as the lesser spotted skier reverses into a snow marker on his way to the mechanical bird. Ready for a conversation with lines like, let me drive, never again, your fault, soaked to the bone and I want a divorce the lesser spotted skier realises the potential of not being so lesser spotted.

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CHALET LIFE PART ONE

Guests.

Running Chalet Eterlou this winter has its perks. We get to ski everyday, our lift pass is paid for, our accommodation is three minutes from the slopes, and we get beer money at the end of each week.

We also get the chance to greet new fresh and excited guests every change over day. This guarantees to be fun if not unbearable, greeting  all kinds of personalities, sense of humour and charm.

So far, 90% of our guests in the first three weeks have become friends, people who are here to enjoy themselves and get the most out of their holiday as possible. These people have been hard to say goodbye to, but with today’s lifestyle and social media we can keep in touch and continue the fun that brought us together in the short time that our lives past.

But one family this week, that 10% of guests so far, I just can’t wait for change over day. It’s not that they are unpleasant, they are not rude, but some people really shouldn’t be allowed out of their homes. It’s hard to point out what is so irritating about this family but I’m not alone in volunteering to help pack their bags.

We won’t help dig out their snow covered car, we won’t be carrying their luggage for them and we wont walk along the drive and wave as they turn the corner. We will quietly close the door and breathe a sigh of relief.

Next week we have four guests, a calm hangover after the Christmas and New Year party.

DINNER TABLE TALKS

Home this winter is Chalet Eterlou in Tignes-les-Brevieres, with Jajina as Chalet Girl I am in the position of Handy man.

When applying for the jobs we received a pdf titled ‘job description-Chalet Girl’ Jajina’s made for some bed time reading, three A4 pages detailing her chores in great detail. After reading this together we opened the ‘handyman’ page.

My job was described in far less detail:

  • Clear the paths from snow
  • Fix things when they are broken
  • Sit with, eat with and chat up the guests in the evenings

This I have achieved with great success in the first two weeks, clearing almost three meters of snow from the garden, fixing countless leaks in this charming 80’s Chalet and selling two books in physical format and one as a download. Guests here have been reading the Chalet copy with a smile, as our first guest remarked “I can hear your voice Ricky as I read it”-this I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Sitting down with 16 new people for dinner every week allows for some interesting topics to be discussed and some funny tales to be aired. I shall be posting more stories as they unfold throughout the winter.