Resort blogger Sarah’s first entry - Preparing for a season and heading to Alpe D’Huez for training

By adamrowden, 9 Dec '13 at 09:13

One of our new resort bloggers, Sarah, is heading to Meribel for her first ever winter season! Here is her first post for Natives, in which she talks about leaving family behind and preparing for the coming months! Enjoy...

It’s 8am in the morning and we are 12 hours in to our marathon bus trip to the Alps. We’re all a bit tired (and frankly, a bit grotty), but the air is buzzing with excitement. Most of us still can’t believe we’re getting paid to live in the biggest, liveliest ski resorts in France for a full five months.

Myself, I’m a recent graduate having what you could probably call an early-onset midlife crisis. Since I graduated in July, I have had to fend off well-meaning relatives asking “What are you doing with your life?” which arguably, isn’t a very nice thing to ask and inevitably involves sympathetic head patting when I explain that no, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

Thankfully, when the relatives then asked if I had a job lined up, I could triumphantly cry “YES!” Ever since I took up skiing at 16 (in Holland during the summer – true story), I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that becoming a seasonnaire would be an ideal lifestyle. So when I realised that the graduate job market is a bit horrific and that quite frankly, I had no real responsibilities, I jumped at the chance and applied to work for Crystal as a Chalet Host. I’ll admit that I did a little happy dance too when I found out that I was bound for Meribel in the heart of the Three Valleys, the biggest ski area in France. Lucky is an understatement.

What I didn’t take on board was how difficult it is to prepare for a season. I’m from a close knit Scottish family so telling them that I’d be missing Christmas, New Years and my Mum’s birthday was a wee bit emotional! Packing for 5 months was pretty stressful, to the extent that I eventually took to walking away from my suitcase and the various items yet to pack into it in the vain hope that maybe they’d magically fit in if I came back later (they didn’t). And don’t even get me started on how much it cost to replace the kit that I’d neglected badly for the last few years!

The upside is that everyone else is in the same boat. Some have done a season already and are able to offer some nuggets of advice, but the majority are starting their first season with a mixture of excitement and anxiety – Where will we live? Will the work be hard? HOW MUCH FRESH POWDER WILL THERE BE?? There are even people here who’ve never skied or boarded before, but the general response has been offers of tuition and encouragement – it’s abundantly clear that everyone here is passionate about life in the mountains.

So currently we are all off for a week’s training in Alpe D’Huez, before carrying on to our respective resorts just in time for the start of Chalet season where we’ll be busy cooking, cleaning and of course, skiing. I hope to keep you all updated with pictures and stories of powder, après and the inevitable culinary disasters, so watch this space!

Sarah x

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