Live here is at a hectic pace now that the school holidays are upon us. The chalet is full to capacity most of the time with frequent changes of guests for over three weeks. It becomes challenging to match faces to rooms when folk order from the bar without asking their names the whole time, challenging to clean and change rooms as guests come and go, challenging to keep up with potato peeling for chips for all the lunches we are selling now, challenging to process the laundry fast enough to keep up with demand and challenging to keep everything as it should be.
I love being busy, don’t get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed the quiet times skiing and getting lost in a good book, but this is great. A constantly full house of people enjoying their holidays, tired from skiing all day and eating good food every night. Listening to their stories and hearing about where they come from. I am always amazed at how far people will drive for a few days skiing. Many guests this week are coming from Bordeaux or further north, all the way up to Brittany, frequently driving eight or more hours each way. With the autoroutes here, driving isn’t a chore like it is back in the UK, rather easy in fact, although, unfortunately you pay for the luxury as the majority of the motor way network is privately owned.
We have had doctors and farmers, tourist office managers and lawyers, a podiatrist magician and a heavy plant driver, teachers and hoteliers all staying within the last week. Groups of friends with children, families and single parents with kids of all ages, all determined to enjoy the mountains. It’s almost imperative that children learn to ski here and for these few weeks the slopes are smattered with snakes of ski school classes following one of a seemingly never ending supply of instructors across the snow. Parents often invest in ski school for their offspring so that they can spend at least some of their time enjoying the slopes too. It’s great chatting to these people and getting some little insight into their lives, the diversity is astounding, I think that I prefer working through the day and having the time to dine properly amongst the guests, everyone eats together here on long tables, all mixed in together, its great. It makes for a busy day, although I seem to be fully occupied with helping out whatever shift I do at the moment.
Whatever the shift, my lunchtimes are usually spent in the kitchen with Mark. A good team, he occupies himself with the complicated menu items and lets me get on with the rest, burgers, BLT’s, salads, desserts and endless chips. It can be hellish frantic one day and no one the next, which makes it very difficult to prep and plan. Demand seems to be governed by the weather, too cold or cloudy and there are just less people on the mountains, sunny blue sky days and folk stay on the mountain all day, suffering the queues at the mountain fooderies or sitting out on rocky outcrops with a picnics. The ideal, for us is cold and sunny with enough cloud cover to make it uncomfortably cold to sit out for too long. That sends people in search of warming locations to lunch and they often stay a good length of time to get thoroughly reheated before heading off again.