We knew that this week would prove ‘interesting’ from the booking form. 14 lads between 20 and 26, old school mates? uni friends? No, they are all connected through farming, most belonging to their local Young Farmers. This has resulted in quite a cross section from those whose Daddy’s own the farm and their progeny ‘work’ on it, with rather a lot of cash to throw around, to those who are hard grafting contractors, one working up to 120 hours a week during harvest! It is fairly easy to distinguish which are which.
2 are experienced skiers, from the former category. One had been a ‘seasonnaire’ last year but actually just stayed in the family apartment in Meribel and tried to find some work but didn’t manage to stick at anything because these jobs were too time consuming and limited when he was able to ski. Not that he needed the benefit of the provided equipment as he has his own boots and skis as well as food and accommodation.
They are not a bad bunch and actually arrived sober, which was a bit of a surprise. 3 had driven overnight and been in resort since 7am but, fortunately for us, couldn’t find the chalet until 9.45, about 10mins after the last group of previous guests had departed and in the middle of our breakfast! One started to look a bit settled so we had to politely chuck them out, suggesting they return about 3pm, check-in is 3.30. The other 10 arrived at lunchtime so a similar herding operation was enacted. They were quite biddable about it. We have developed a tactic of bringing all the dirty laundry, rubbish etc into the living area, leaving it and the boot room/entrance until last to clear and clean so that when people arrive early the place doesn’t look in the slightest bit ready, even though the bedrooms could be finished. We allow them to leave their bags in the boot room and reassure them that everything will be ready, and much nicer presented on their return. This usually works quite successfully and they can be impressed with the transformation.
It is quite a relief to find that these ‘youngsters’ struggle with the pace of a party ski holiday. Most groups crash and burn by Wednesday or Thursday, skiing all day and drinking each evening until midweek. These guys didn’t go out Saturday night but made up for it on Sunday and then could barely manage to get up on Monday. I shamed a few of them into going out though, but they stayed in and watched a film that evening. We bumped into them on the slopes on Tuesday, our day off and absolutely glorious (the forecast being the main reason for us choosing it!) They had another heavy night on Tuesday and no-one made it out the chalet before 11am on Wednesday.
We had agreed to make breakfast an hour later for them this week but no more, so that we still have some time off in between morning and evening service. Our extra hour enables Roger to lie in and for me to have a more leisurely rise and decent shower before setting off. The time delay also loses me my morning spectator. Usually I am watched trying to negotiate the steepest iciest section of the path with my boulangerie cargo, by a guy leaning on his balcony expectorating his bronchii with his first cigarette. It has been a relief to not have that pressure although this morning it wasn’t icy, just knee deep snow! This fall had been forecast and they were keen to get up on the first lifts, after another night in, so we went back to an early breakfast, 7.45-9am but they were all out around 8.30. This meant that we could relax and use the wifi until we heard clattering in the boot room at about 10.30 only to find 4 of them had returned because there was too much snow! There is no pleasing people.
The chalet itself is a bit of a tip. We have tried to keep the communal areas reasonably clean and tidy but I have not ventured into the rooms for anything other than negotiating clothes strewn floors to replenish toilet rolls. I was tidying up the leaflets and magazines on the coffee table the first morning and wondered why they had taken one from the pile under the TV consisting of Marie-Claires, Good-housekeeping etc perhaps, just to lean on. I was about to put it back when I realised that I didn’t recognise the front cover picture of a young girl in a bikini. I am somewhat relieved that I flicked it open to find it was a porno mag and didn’t put it with the other mags for next week’s unsuspecting guests to find! It would have made our segregation of the ’18’ classified DVDs and games somewhat pointless!
I will need someone young to explain to me how anyone can hear a thing when the television is on, the budding DJ has has mix on the ipod speakers and several others are playing videos on their phones, not to mention the Xbox going upstairs, in the less than effectively sound-proofed snug. The assault to the ears is phenomenal.
One guy arrived on Sunday evening, having missed his flight in Dubai and having to go via Moscow. He managed to get separated from the group during their excursion into town on Sunday night and was being ridiculed, in his absence, on Monday morning, for not getting in until 7.30am. It transpired that he’d come back earlier than that but couldn’t remember the door entry code so, very considerately, rather than wake anyone, spent the last few hours of the night in the hot tub! Unfortunately his mates had unhelpfully, left the lid off so it had cooled down somewhat and must have been like sitting in a cold bath. He’s obviously made of quite tough stuff though as he is now sporting a broken nose and split lip after face planting the ice subsequent to successfully land a jump in the snow park.