I can’t believe that we are this far through already and even starting to feel like veterans not the newbies of merely a few weeks ago. One of our guests has recently asked how many seasons we had done! We managed our turnaround in record time, with Fergus’s help of course. We waved our previous guests off, after hugs all round, at the civilised but later time of 7.30 which meant a frantic blitz for the subsequent 6 hours as the next group were due at 1.45pm. It had taken us over 8 hours the previous week so I made the executive decision to just have the communal areas and top floor finished by their arrival as they’d probably not expect to get into their rooms that early. However by 1.30 we were doing well and when the call came to say there was an hour’s delay we were actually able to have all their rooms ready by the time of their arrival so that was quite satisfying. More to the point it meant that once they were settled, sorted out their skis, had their tea and cake it was only 3.15 and we could have a couple of hours off before the evening shift. We’d been told to not expect to ski on transfer day as it was so busy. We’d accepted this totally as we’d managed to have to work from 4am until 11pm on one occasion due to transfer times but had needed that time to complete everything so this was an unexpected bonus, we must be getting better at something and no, not just cutting corners although I will confess that they do not get paper flowers in their toilet rolls anymore (sometimes they’re lucky get any toilet paper at all!)
Our guys this week are great, they’re a larger than life bunch of men from mid 20s to mid 50s and have been very entertaining, particularly the first morning when breakfast attire ranged from underpants and T-shirt to thermal tops and bottoms but hey, they’re supposed to feel that the chalet is a home from home. Bit of a risky strategy IMHO as we wouldn’t know how they live normally. We joined them for a drink in our haunt on Tuesday evening where, after plying me with jaegger bombs, I was tasked with finding a spotlight for their award ceremony on Saturday evening. Not sure I’ll be able to get one but hope that won’t exclude us from being able to observe from the sidelines as I’m sure it’ll be very entertaining.
Our day off today has been great, we were on the slopes for 10am and after 5 lifts managed to get to the top. After a quick warm up run, coz I was pretty cold by then, we tackled the legendary 17km black run, the longest in Europe and I can safely say it was a massive disappointment. I don’t think we’ll be trekking that far again for that, some of the nearer reds are more challenging and much more enjoyable. The last 2-3km are an almost flat schuss so that doesn’t really count anyway despite being very pretty as we cruised the river valley, much like cross – country skiing in Finland. Due to its fame the slopes themselves were very busy and cut up so didn’t even make for nice skiing. We came back to a more central point and sought a restaurant which was only accessible by skiing or walking. I thought I’d seen the appropriate piste closed from our birds eye view from the cable car but we decided to have a look at the route for another time to discover that I’d looked at the wrong piste. Well not exactly, the ‘piste’ in question was little more than a track with some poles stuck in the snow at the side, fortunately the restaurant had a banner at the start of this to reassure that we were on the right path as we headed off into the white blanket. It was an interesting route, more of a walking path than a ski track with some steep inclines and declines but accessible only from a red run so only accessible in this direction by skiers. However it was worth the effort and we enjoyed a lovely steak and chips followed by the essential chocolate chaud, initially outdoors but did need to migrate inside as the heat generated from the skiing exertions wore off in the sub-zero temperatures and partially obscured sunshine. It will definitely be a place to return to now and again for a treat but also one to recommend to our more intrepid guests.