Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhhhh its Christmas week, the guests arrived early and I am not ready!

I honestly wish I could say that didn’t happen…but it did! Best laid plans, weeks to prepare, lists ticked off…all going so smoothly…and then you throw a human into the mix. Not just a human but a guest human.

The definition of human should at some point include the words predictably unpredictable. Lesson 1 of the season well and truly learned (whilst I had my arm elbow deep in the toilet giving it a good scrub! So glamorous I know!)

Keep in mind here that I am gainfully employed (and wish to remain so) and guests are paying my wages so I am super conscious about what I can/ can’t write and what I should and shouldn’t talk about!

Christmas week is a pretty big deal in the Alps. Its the first busy week of the season and for many places their first real week of paying guests. Its also hugely pressurised. Christmas expectations are high, especially so with the catered chalets where all the trimmings are offered at Christmas time from mulled wine to fresh made mince pies. Not forgetting the turkey!

A rare blue sky this week! Glorious between the blizzards!

A week ago there was a mere dusting of snow on the ground and the snow cannons were working double time to keep the pistes open. This week however has been mainly spent clearing the white fluffy stuff so we could get into the accommodations and on the driveway safely. The snow has officially arrived and just in time for our weekly trip down the mountain to restock the chalets. The snow chains got their first outing! Its going to be a white Christmas!

A huge pile of snow in front of one of the chalets created by Dan for the snow plough to take away the next day

In years gone by we wished for fresh powder to go and play in. After only 1 week of clearing that wish is waning! Apparently our Chalets have a reputation in resort as being the best snow clearers in previous years so we have big boots to fill!

Another thing that happened this week which I should have predicated is the arrival of the tour coaches! Aside from the snail pace that they travel up and down the mountain roads they really are spectacular to watch! Those drivers must have nerves of steel to take a vehicle that big up to the top of the mountain in snow chains! Kudos to those brave (slow) souls!

The food / waist line struggle is real! Leftovers for our dinner come in whatever container is available to transport from the Chalets.

The food problem continues this week…I say problem. Its not a bad thing! Its great in fact. Dan and I get fed by the Chalets each day. The teams are producing some delicious food and we basically get the leftovers! We are expanding each day from all the wonderful food!

There is a game in the mountains that some Chalet chefs play on their hosts. Its called feed the host. A silly game where the objective is to look after your host almost too well throughout the season. The result is normally expanding waist lines. I am fairly confident our team is playing ‘feed the manager’!!

This is Bob the Turkey! Christmas dinner was epic and between us we fed 30 guests a 5 course meal that went down a treat!
Neither Dan or I have ever worked a Christmas day before and it was a bit of an eye opener!

A whole different level of stress to deliver against seriously high expectations. Add into that mix Dan and I are both ill with a cold and Dan is celebrating a rather special birthday!

It made for a quite surreal day culminating in me taking a Turkey (Bob) for a ride on my knee between chalets whilst sitting in the boot of a van.

Once the last plates were cleared and put away the whole team headed for the local pub for a well deserved pint which turned into 3…and some sore heads on Boxing day but we delivered. It was quite a humbling moment, the whole team getting the job done.

We did manage to get a couple of hours play time on the pistes to celebrate Dan’s birthday which was very cool and makes it all worth while.
This week also happens to mark the 4 year anniversary of our life change strategy.

4 years ago I changed jobs. I moved roles into a different team within the same company in an attempt to recover some of my work life balance. The previous 3 years had taken their toll on my health and whilst I loved what I did it was time for a change.

4 years ago this week Dan and I started to talk about change, about our long term future, about making every second count, about what we could do differently. 4 years ago this week our lives began to change for the better.

If you had told me 4 years ago that this would be my work view I would never have believed you.

You can find out what we did in Week 2 here