Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Chalet Bitch Cookbook

Ever invented a culinary short-cut the cleverness and depravity of which left you with the distinct suspicion that you may, in fact, be an evil genius?

Like the time we were seized with mid-service horror, because we had forgotten to prepare anything remotely resembling a vegetarian main-course for our VIP guest's superwife... (She may have looked like a praying mantis but apparently all she would eat was pickled dodo droppings.)

We had to come up with a solution. And fast.

As many a chalet bitch among you is, I'm sure, aware, chalet cuisine is a highly skilled art form. By art form, I don't mean in the way Nobu's cuisine is - a subtle and intelligent union of flavours and textures to delight and surprise the senses.


No, I'm talking about genius in the sense of crashing face first into the side of your chalet after four hours of powder and a pint of vodka when you're nothing more than a sweaty, smelly zombie, with legs like lead and the brain capacity of a leech.


...Then staggering inside still in your thermals and staring into the echoey chasm of a fridge which contains only mildew butter and hope, and emerging from the kitchen an hour later with a delicious, nutritious meal for eight.

That, my friends, is a treasure trove of possibilities...

 This is a honed skill. The reserve of only the highly resourceful, the unscrupulous and the lucky.

...Which is why, we, of course, managed to find the the perfect solution to our little problem in the form of a jar of Doritos salsa dip.


Discarded by a 2-month-previous set of guests, and languishing stickily at the back of the fridge, we stared at it in wonder.

Of course, she didn't realise what she was eating, but it turns out there's nothing you can't do with a three inch stack of niftily sliced tomatoes and microwaved courgettes that a good, artistic drizzle of Doritos salsa dip won't improve to the point of Michelin star gastronomy. The 'dish' produced enraptured admiration from the eater and demands to be given the 'secret' recipe which went on for several days. The poor, cretinous, duped fool.

So, in the interests of arming future generations of chalet bitches with the tools they need to achieve culinary excellence whilst still fitting in maximum hours balls deep in pow....and armed with a library of my own culinary fuck ups and strokes of last minute genius, I have decided to compile another book.

 Working Title: "The Chalet Bitch Cookbook"

If you fancy 15 minutes of fame, serve me up some of the most frightening concoctions you've splattered under the noses of your unfortunate guests, and you might just make the shortlist...

Happy cooking, chalet bitches!


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Life in the tube queue

In the last 3rd of my 30th year, I have finally paid off my student loan, I own a pair of shoes that cost more than £100 and have no ski-related purpose, I use face cream, brush my hair regularly and cut off split ends. I hold down full time employment, I don't drink during the week and last Monday I booked myself on a yoga retreat ...for new year.

I know.... it's like I swallowed a copy of Lady Magazine. I'm like, shitting Tiffany cufflinks.


...I regularly cycle to work, and I've finally made peace with the idea that if I'm ever going to shed the spare tyre I've carried since the age of 10, I need to eat fewer cakes and move around more. Oh yes, and I've written a book.

Yes, it all looks very impressive doesn't it?

Of, course, we are neatly glossing over a few minor details here. I still, for example, cannot afford a house. There are various banal reasons for this, including the fact that my entire generation is fucked.

I work in London, and they keep building posh, expensive boxes for Chinese people to buy with money they made from the bleeding fingers of toddlers in sweatshops making iPhones, which means the cost of living in a pencil case with no windows is roughly equivalent to everything I've earned in my life.... ever. (Which isn't that much thanks to the fact I spent four years tossing around a ski resort, crippling my once impressive earning potential. I'm currently on the same pay I was in 2009.)

Oh yeah...then there's the latent terror that makes me scuttle to the back of my mental cave any time anyone mentions anything vaguely resembling responsibility.

The key thing to confess is that, at 30, Scruffy but Handsome and I are still living at home, with his Mum.

This set up, while not great for personal morale, has a charm of its own. I don't for example, have to pay rent. And every so often my laundry gets done for me. However, I also don't have a cupboard. All my belongings are hanging on a rail in a moth-infested study. Or stuffed into boxes in dusty corners, where they wait patiently for the day I acquire a mantelpiece, kitchen or bathroom to put them in. The house is large, sprawling and kinda bohemian. It's full of stuff. Sometimes if you listen at night you can hear the joists straining under the load of years and years of accumulated accoutrements and chattels.


SbH's Mum is a lover of objects, to which she's capable of ascribing all sorts of abstract values and meanings. In other words she is a bit of a hoarder. There are (at the last count) 17 tables, about fifty chairs, four million boxes of mysterious papers, 25 years' worth of abandoned sports equipment, flotsam and jetsam from various fads, school text books and art projects. Ancient videos, abandoned computer screens, broken lamps, knickknacks, trinkets, baffling historical artefacts she found whilst wandering the sands at Greenwich, drawers crammed with broken jewellery and crockery, paper clips, scraps of jottings, postcards...worn out shoes...And then there's the pottery.

SbH's Mum likes to make pots.


Lots and lots of pots.


And heads.


In fact, just this morning, while making my pint of tea I totted up 42 items of home-made earthenware in the kitchen alone.

And the numbers are growing.



The house is also full of something else. People. Eccentric individuals SbH's Mum has curated into a collection in much the same way as the chairs and tables.

...An obese, out of work, kaftan-wearing thespian, whom SbH has eloquently nicknamed 'The Fat Man.' A man so devoutly committed to the religion of consumption that he is unable to do anything whatsoever in moderation. From running a bath (fill bath to brim with boiling water, wait for it to cool), to brewing coffee (brew an entire pot full, strong enough to rouse Tutankhamun from the dank, shadowy depths of his tomb, drink one cupful, discard pot by sink to get cold). Want a bowl of pasta? Why have a bowl when you could make an entire kitchen sink's worth?

...A teenaged, bone-white, carrot-red, six foot, Northern Irish, straight, male ballerina, with a name I won't attempt to pronounce that contains seven consonants and no vowels and doesn't know how to feed himself properly. He lives off chicken nuggets, and likes to stretch, extravagantly, in front of the telly in the evenings while moaning about how tired he is, how amazingly good at ballet he is (DON'T make the mistake of asking him how is day was. You'll be treated to a live enacting of the latest Pas de Deux he's learning, complete with singing)  and whine on about his romantic entangling with an insane, anorexic, egotistical trainwreck named Anna, who's a complete bitch to both him and herself.

...A builder with congenital verbal diarrhoea and FOMO named Gareth, who spends his time repeatedly impregnating every woman he fucks, and then running for the hills (on this occasion, our house).

So really, whilst it might appear on the outside that I am living the smooth, glossy life of a success, the real truth is that I am still living in much the same circumstances as I was in the ski resort. That is, crammed into an over-stuffed space with a bunch of crack pots. Except there's no snow.



As I stand in the exit line from Brixton railway station on one of many hundred occasions this year, shuffling forwards through the narrow doorway that creates a frustrating bottle neck every single day, I'm often reminded of the queue for a chair lift. I feel a pang for ski resort life.  Then my thoughts settled on the shower surround in the chalet. An expanse of gloss black mosaic and glass, uplit by bulbs, embedded into the tiles in all four corners which showed up every last smear and blemish rendering it necessary to polish the walls, the ceiling, and the glass panels, every single day.

In total I polished that shower surround approximately three hundred times over the course of the season. And every time, I died a little bit inside. Just as I’m dying a little bit standing in this queue.

It strikes me then that no matter what you do you cannot escape the inevitable repetitiveness of some aspect of life. You get up, you clean your teeth, you have a shit.

Life goes on.


So, if you're doing the sensible thing, and heading out on another ski season this year, at least have the decency to send me a postcard.

AFTERGLOW - Lightsuit Segment from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Why don't bitches ride no more?

Excuse me, but what the fuck is this?


Oh. I know. It's Vogue magazine peddling drivel on the subject of skiing. As if they have even a rhesus monkey's inkling in Higgs Bosun of what they're talking about.

Allow me to speak for an entire section of snow-borne society in saying this to you Vogue:

"FUCK. OFF."

Yes Vogue you bunch of prancing tossers. I'm talking to you. Peddling this kind of bullshit in our territory, is not welcome. You don't belong here. How dare you write an article on 'ski chic', when you don't ski? If Seth Morrison turned up on the Paris catwalk and started lecturing Kate Sodding Moss about Manolo Blahniks what sort of expression do you think would creep over her alabaster features? It would be one of pure fury, disdain and bile-soaked ire... So may I enquire why you feel entitled to print such a load of drivel and sell it to the unsuspecting, paying public?

Aren't your tits a bit cold, luv?

For those of you without the stomach to read it, let me summarise this lacklustre piece of pseudo-fashion journalism for you. The general gist is as follows:

"How to be ski chic? Don't ski. As every on-trend fashionista knows, skiing is a non essential part of a ski holiday. The real point is to get selfies and be 'seen' poncing around in Lacroix with a fruit bowl on your head, looking like a cunt."

I don't know where to begin with this article. I feel deeply in my soul that it's the root of everything that's wrong with ski resorts and the 'upper echelons' of the clientelle that visit them. Particularly people like Sadie Fucking Frost. And Nick Knob Grimshaw.

A few of my choice turds from this article:

Wear monochrome


Up a mountain? Oh yeah. I'm so cool I'm dressed like a rock.

Moon Boots are still in

 

Er....I beg to differ. What in the name of Zeus' left testicle are you talking about?

Anything goes...even Pandas on your trousers.



Say what?

Yes. That's true, if you're seven years old and your parents are blind people from China.

...I think more than anything it's the haughty, conceited, know-it-all tone of this article that offends me most. It oozes arrogance -that familiar hallmark of the ignoramus - like a suppurating boil. It's meant to be tongue in cheek. But no. It's just shit.

Nick Grimshaw and Sadie Frost took meditation classes instead of skiing, did they? Well hopefully the narcissistic, agave syrup guzzling half-wits spent the time meditating on what a pair of cunts they are, wasting money in an otherwise hostile environment. 

Meditation clearly working wonders there Sade...

You turn up in your over-egged four by four, demanding heated driveways, so you don't slip over in your stupid, overpriced shoes and your canine canape's feet don't freeze, raising the temperatures in the resort and fucking the environment while you're at it. Then you proceed to not ride because you have no joy in your soul.

If you have come to a resort to 'see' and 'be seen' one has to ask, why? Aren't there a million other less extreme environments in which you can satisfy your nebular ego? You have totally missed the point of what the mountains have to offer. You can prance around in a fur lined Moncler anorak anywhere. Go to Siberia and die. I certainly don't want to look at you. Especially if you're that much of a hag that over exposure to clean mountain air makes your skin chafe and flake off. Maybe you should lay off the cocaine and botox if that's the case! Or eat some meat (because you're no doubt vegan or some shit like a 'Cloudarian'). 

This kind of crap is exactly why bitches don't ski no more!

Ladies of the Alps, I say to you that people like this should be pole whacked in the Montcler tits. Don't be a Sadie, or an Arizona or a Tamara. Be an Aimee or a Jenny.Get out there and live, and ride and get messy and scare yourself. Say yes to everything. Jig around topless with a pint of Mutzig in each hand. Crowd surf. Then be on the mountain at 8.45 choking back the sick, but RIDING GOD DAMN IT. Girls that ride are awesome. I've met some of the most, interesting, capable women of my life on ski seasons. The type who, like Aimee, will go upside down just to get the crowd going.They have bigger balls than most guys you'll meet. They're the type of women you aspire to be friends with.

Both these ladies, I might add, started their ski careers scrubbing poo off u-bends in chalets, so none of you lot out there have any excuse.

What is more troubling though, about this fact, is it actually indicates that there is a modicum of believability behind the story line of 'Chalet Girl' the movie...

So in conclusion, if you want ski fashion tips don't take them from Vogue. Take them from this lady:


I hope you'll unite with me in saying "Vogue! Take your cashmere-cunt readership, piss off back to your air conditioned Notting Hill conversions and stop throwing  cigarettes all over the mountain and pushing up the prices."

Here's the reality. If you go to a ski resort and you don't ski, you are not chic. You're just  a dick, in the mountains.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Threesomes, foursomes and much much moresomes - NSFW!

Riffing on the theme of a recent article I wrote for Whitelines magazine on the subject of 'sex in the snow', I thought it would be appropriate to expand on a topic that's close to my heart:

The Private Chalet Shag

Particularly since, during some idle hours of 'research' this afternoon, I stumbled across this little gem:

NSFW...but extremely funny...

How, I have been wondering, has this classic moment in film history, the original 'Chalet Girl' slipped through my net? Its colossal naff-ness makes my little cup of joy just overflow. And gives SbH a semi.
Also, one of the girls, looks alarmingly like one of my ex-season-staff. Which is both amusing and terrifying.

Anyway, returning to topic, as I said before, if you are one of the fortunate few who happen to have a private chalet job this season, listen up! It is your responsibility...nay....your duty to have sex in that chalet as much as possible. With lots of people. Preferably at the same time. If you've rocked up in the Alps in a leather-interior four-by-four bought and paid for by a boss with more money than sense and are planning to spend your time (during your five weeks off) quaffing his wine cellar and playing video games in the cinema room, then fine. But if you fail to seduce one or two of your fellow seasonnaires into getting their jiggly bits out and frolicking in the hot tub, then you're doing it wrong.

Is that....?

Watching your boss drinking tea in his underpants with his feet up on the ottoman you got reamed over not four days ago, is an experience I heartily recommend.

If you are of the depraved, fire-starting persuasion, but your fellow seasonnaires are a little bit backwards in coming forwards, here are some possible suggestions for catalyzing naughty play time en chalet:

News travels fast
Engineer a rumour around the resort that you're into threesomes - you'll be surprised how many unexpected dark horses crawl out of the woodwork and ask for a cheeky invite round to dinner when they get a sniff of this.

Strip poker, truth or dare, spin the bottle 
Remember that people tend to do things in ski resorts that they would never do elsewhere. Carpe Diem. The time is ripe to entice your mates out of their undergarments and strip poker is the logical way forward.

Group bath time
Get everyone drunk and suggest a bubble bath. Worth a punt.


Jump right in
This is easier if you're a couple / regular shag pals already. Get everyone in the hot tub and, after a few suggestive comments, just start making out with each other in front of everyone. It'll go one of two ways. Either everyone will be scandalised, make their excuses and leave, in which case you can just have a nice shag in private. Or you'll make them all horny and they'll join in.

Aphrodisiacs
Unless you want to be sneezing gravy and Catherine-wheeling into the china goddess for a good 48 hours post coitus, I wouldn't advise the purchase of oysters in the mountains. However, you can buy chocolate, almonds, avocados, figs, garlic and honey in abundance, which are all, apparently, aphrodisiacs. So cook everyone dinner and slip a few of those into the mix and you never know...

Group stretching
After a hard day's skiing there's nothing sexier than watching someone get down into their sweaty thermals and stretch out those groin muscles.... or is it just me?

Well... I hope this all helps you in your mission to broaden those Alpine sexual horizons this winter.

Don't forget to clean in all the crevices, people.

x


Monday, 6 January 2014

Turning 30 in the Alps

Well gang, in the not too distant future, I shall be 30. Yes.


I can no longer perpetuate the myth of magically remaining somewhere in my mid-twenties, like a character from the Simpsons or Family Guy. It's been three years since I wrote this and I can confirm; in two days I am 30 and I no longer give a fuck. As stated, I have been calling a cunt, 'a cunt' for several years now, and I can confirm, it feels good. It's why I have no guilt about not skiing today and sitting around in my underwear.

Besides, I did a full three-rotating tomahawk yesterday, in some lovely fluffy powder resulting in severe whiplash. Which makes me and everything I do and say from now on in life totally legitimate.


We'll gloss over the fact my mate just sat there laughing and eating a sandwich while I had to climb up a hill in knee deep powder to retrieve my poles.

It also feels good to be a punter, for once. I know. It's blasphemy to say so. But I've been out here in the mountains for about ten days now with a small, but precious crew of fellow ex-seasonnaires and it's just so nice being able to do whatever the fuck we want. The temptation to 'pop in' and take a ganders at last years' chalet is almost too much to ignore. Suffice to say, whoever's running it, while you've been picking up the owner's wife's grundies off the floor and taking their screaming brats to the bowling alley, we've been having over-priced lunches in piste-side restaurants and regular showers and everything.


Posh pit-stop

This trip is also, obviously, a humanitarian mission to bring my words of wisdom in the form of Belle de Neige the book, to the unsuspecting, ignorant youth of the mountains. According to a friend, A, the Ski Resort is crawling with Irksome Blonde 19 Year Olds, this year, ripe for milking like the over-enthusiastic cash cows they are.

A case in point, the leggy blonde working in the chalet I stayed in last week could do with a few stern words. Love, if you're reading, you seriously have one of the cushiest jobs on the mountain I've ever heard of. All you have to do is some accounts and hoovering! Christ! With a job like that I'd have ripped France a new arsehole!

In fact...I have some questions for you:

Why aren't you skiing more? Did you come here for some other obscure reason?
Why don't you loosen up a bit? You're on a season. It's supposed to be fun.
Why are you wearing high heeled boots in a ski resort?
Why are you here if you're supposed to be happily engaged to the love of your life?
On that theme, why did you deny shagging that blonde, Skandi sex god we all nicknamed 'Thor' - he was fit. You should have fucking claimed that one.
Why don't you stop whinging and get involved? Life's too short. You're young. Your twenties are only a dress rehearsal, you really don't have to make any commitments / get it right.

Watching this poor mite dragging her heels around the chalet every morning looking miserable and failing to 'fit in' with the rest of her rambunctious and enthusiastic co-workers made me think. Not to get too philosophical, but, whatever her major malfunction, I just wished she could see what she'd gain if only, please, for the love of God, she'd stop taking herself so seriously.

I lost my Mum and my best friend during my twenties. It completely threw me. I made a lot of mistakes after that and I didn't take the usual twenties career path. But being in a place where I could make mistakes without hurting anyone I loved, or just simply vent my emotions by stretching out my arms and screaming down a hill, got me through a very difficult time- a time when a lot of other people in their twenties were struggling to get jobs and feeling dispossessed.

Who, or what, I have to wonder, would I have turned into if I hadn't had that ski season brain belch on the tube back in 2009? If Shazzer hadn't urged me to do it, in her inimitable way. What kind of a 30 year old would I have been? Would I have written a book?

I doubt it. Despite all the detractors when I made my decision to be a serial snow-bum, I firmly believe ski seasons were the making of me.

Here are just a few pearls of great wisdom I would never have learned, but for ski seasons:

30-minute roast lamb (shove in baking tray, set oven to 'self clean')
How to ski in the dark, pissed or stoned.
The key to success in life is not getting an easy ride.
People despise weaklings and quitters.
There's no sadness fresh air, blue skies and adrenaline cannot mend.
If you 'can't do it' because you're too lazy / feeble, there are ten other people queuing to take your place.
You can make a positive out of all negatives.
Never drink a glass of cold water after eating Raclette.
In all probability you are cleverer, more capable, more attractive and tougher than you think.
Genepi tastes like toilet duck
Every ending is a new beginning
Most people in positions of power are there because they excel at talking out of their arses.
Don't put up with any shit. From anyone.
If you've never conquered the back flip, don't start trying at 25
Some people are friends by proximity, others because they define you.
DIN settings are v important
Everyone has some major malfunction or other.
Never mistake the love of your life for a student-layabout-shag-pal


...Right, that's enough philosophizing for one idle afternoon. I've made myself feel slightly sick. Do feel free to take everything I say above with a generous pique of salt. I fully intend to spend the next two days partying, taking uppers and downers and skiing shitfaced, like any self-respecting seasonnaire current or otherwise.

If you fancy joining me, do. I'll see you at The Folie. We'll be the ones with eyes like saucepan lids and skis like canoes.



x

Monday, 16 December 2013

The blog is now a book!

Belle de Neige is now available on Kindle and in paperback!

"Belle writes an adult tale of the highs, lows and realities of a first year as a Chalet girl. I have followed her online blog for years, this book has among the chapters familiar tales to other readers of the blog, but expanded and with some additional details of life on the other side of the counter. There are new chapters expanding the world with Belle's trademark humour. (Well written, so she did something useful with that degree after all). Tinged with sadness over the loss of her friend, she dives headfirst (usually) into the world of the ski resort. I was in equal measure; fascinated, amused and horrified at the stories that unfold, but reminded of my first ever stay in a ski chalet...Well done Belle, now get writing the next installment, please." 

Paul JR, Blog fan.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Essential Seasonnaire Lingo: Part 2

Now that many of you (bastards) have arrived in your respective resorts and are prancing around, full of yourselves, taking revolting pictures of each other doing snow angels and wearing bobble hats, and posting snaps of the view from your 'office' and your 'commute'...I feel it my duty to say this.....



Fuck you!

May you be sucked down into the black hole, abyss of training week and spat out straight into a double-booking of Russian, vegetarian guests. May you drink too many Jager  Bombs and decide to toboggan home on your arse, resulting in severe freeze burn. May your guests shed enough pubic hair for you to weave a coat out of!

Right. I feel better now. Marginally.

...A few posts ago I promised you a continuation of my glossary of useful, nay, essential seasonnaire lingo. Not that you deserve it....but here it is....

Jager Hand Grenade – A Jager Mega Drive with an added shot of Sambuca. Prop the Sambuca and Jager shots up against each other on top of the glass. Pull the pin and down it. What to drink if Jager Mega Drives aren’t working.

Seasonnaire Nightmare – A concoction designed specifically to hospitalise the drinker, usually bought for you on your birthday. A pint glass filled with a measure of pretty much every drink in the bar, plus bodily fluids if your friends are real cunts. If you’re unlucky enough ever to be bought one, down it. There’s no point prolonging the agony. Your fate is already sealed.



Gnar – An abbreviation of the word ‘gnarly’, which is in turn a bastardisation of the word ‘gnarled.’ Meaning: Extreme balls-out danger. For more detailed explanation see the film, G.N.A.R. (A must-see for any self-respecting seasonnaire.)

Steezy РThe art of doing something remarkable, breathtaking and astonishing while looking nonchalant, casual, blas̩, laid back and cool. Stylish, yet easy. This concept has spawned a whole fashion trend.


Shred – To tear the whole mountain to pieces with your skis or board.

Core shot – When you ride over a rock and it scrapes to the core of your ski or board. Result: a write-off.

Huck – To hurl oneself off something without much thought for the consequences or landing protocol.


Hoon – To straight-line down the piste, without turning or swerving to avoid other skiers, children or animals, at a ridiculous, unreasonable and gut-emptying speed. Every run is a race.

Kicker – A large, terrifying man-made launch-pad designed to ‘kick’ you into the air. The landing is your problem.

Timmy –  You will find large numbers of these on the slopes. For a clear explanation, please refer to the TV phenomenon ‘South Park’.

Base grind, edge wax and tune – What your average ski rental shop will do to your skis or board if you’re not careful. Learn how to service your own.

Jib – Fart around doing tricks on the piste and getting in people’s way.

Jellyfish – A high-speed crash where the victim is knocked unconscious and therefore flops down the rest of the incline like a wet invertebrate tossed down a child’s slide. Not ideal.


Yard sale – A high-speed crash where the victim is forcibly relieved of all their accessories. Under usual circumstances, this will include skis, goggles, hat, gloves, poles, and dignity being scattered to the wind in the manner of a front yard auction. Most unfortunate if it happens in deep snow. A full yard sale for a snowboarder would probably result in missing limbs too since snowboard bindings have a pretty serious DIN setting.

Tomahawk – A high-speed crash where the victim is catapulted into a down-hill cartwheel. Can be exceedingly difficult to stop if you’re going fast enough. Extremely amusing to watch.



Attention! Further important instructional information below...

How to do Jager Bombs....proper like....



...and here's some other shit skiers say

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Belle de Neige: The Book

So... I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've written a book.... oh I have mentioned it. Well give me a fucking break. If you'd written a book you probably wouldn't stop wanking on about it either! It takes aaaaages and it's really hard work!

Anyway, the book is going to be out on Kindle and in paperback form very, very soon, so watch this space. Until then, here's a box fresh sneak peek in the way of a wee excerpt....


Belle de Neige?


P44: Spread Eagle in the Hidden Valley

“Where are you?”

“…I’m here…”

“…where’s here?”

“I don’t fucking know, where are you?”

I can hear him mutter something vehement and unintelligible.

“Can you see me?”

“No, but….I’m above you, I think.”

“Can you get up?”

“Yes”

Ooofff.

“No.”

“Ah….bollocks…”

“Um…. Hold on….it’s ok. Just…. give me a minute.”

            I am indeed trying to get up but the tree I’ve just had an altercation with has other ideas. It’s small, not even my height, and prickly with cones. It seems to have enveloped me into its branches in an embrace of Satan. My skis are either side of it, my arse is in the snow and my ski poles are underneath me. Cold fingers are creeping over the waistband of my ski pants most horribly. My goggles are steamed to blindness and the snow is so deep that every time I try to lever myself upright my arms simply sink in up to the elbow. I don’t know where I am, or where he is or the piste for that matter. I would very much like to get out of this. Now please. I’d like to just click my fingers and just be magically out of it and back on the piste. But that is not going to happen. Many people would fall into a panic in this situation. But not I. No... It’s true. I am that cartoon ski person who’s spread eagled a tree. But don’t panic.

I’m only thankful Skater Boy can’t actually see me.

“Gonna have to clip out,” I inform him. Best to keep him in the loop. I hear no reply to this, but the puff of smoke I can see snaking up from behind the drop to the south of me tells me that Skater Boy has hit upon this handy break in proceedings as an excellent opportunity for a blaze.
            In all absolute honesty, I am way out of my depth. At some point, during a perfectly straight forward afternoon’s skiing, he pulled up at the side of a narrow path taking us comfortably down to a bubble lift and peered over the edge of the area between the two pistes at the feathery dunes of fresh powder below. I too squinted down and took in, with mixed emotions, thick, fresh inviting snow decorated liberally with trees, the odd boulder, and the track marks of other idiots who’d thought this was a sensible short cut on a low visibility, high avalanche-risk day. Personally, I was surprised it wasn’t littered with frozen corpses but Skater Boy simply shrugged and said:
“Looks alright to me. Dropping in…” before launching himself over the edge into fresh tracks. This was half an hour ago. Since then each of my skis has deserted me at least once, the first time it took twenty minutes of digging to find because it had somehow got buried vertically. You try finding a white ski tip with the visible surface area of a pencil in a blind, white, three dimensional search area, somewhere inside a tree run, where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. It would have been a tall order for a professional search and rescue team, let alone someone suffering from disorientation, paranoia and a severe case of the munchies.
The tree run was a lot steeper after we got past the initial gentle entry point and required extremely fast thinking. It was a seemingly endless series of tight, winding turns through this admittedly breathtaking glade laden with snow, dodging branches and making split second directional decisions. Very technical and quite literally terrifying. It was only a matter of time until I made a serious misjudgment.
“You alright bird?” some moments later I hear his voice again. I’m panting a lot, and swearing, trying to get myself upright, get this fucking tree out of my face and my skis back on. He can probably hear all of this.
“Yes, uh, fine. Coming…”      
            Actually I’m knackered and not a little bit humiliated. It’s my own fault for trying to look like a big, clever girl in front of him. The man is a fine skier. In fact, I think he’s possibly sexier on skis than off. He spends most of his time looking for large precipices to fling himself from, usually stoned off his tits. All wrong for me. I am exceedingly earth bound. His inappropriateness for me has been increasingly apparent, thus I have been trying to wean off him, and failing, since the chewing-gum-in-arse-crack incident.
Waking up each morning in the tiny apartment of this absurd, stoned, grubby mountain-bum is like coming round and finding you’ve been handcuffed to a Tasmanian devil, particularly when there is blue sky and powder snow around, when he will dance round chattering and searching for his essential paraphernalia – ski socks, one-piece, t-shirt, 80s headband, goggles, Rizlas, baccie, weed and mobile phone. These are usually either in a crusty heap, underneath something Scruffy-but-Handsome owns, or wedged down the side of the bed, covered in the ash he flicked there the previous evening. He can veer from quiet contemplation to possessed gremlin in a flash. One moment nursing your sore shins with arnica and soothing words, the next prancing round the room holding his nuts in a 'brain' shape, or bursting into the bathroom, leaping on you and pretending to rut you before pulling his pants down, tucking his testicles between his legs and demonstrating what he proudly announces is called 'The No-hander Man-gina Fruit Bowl'. There is no escaping the party. It bounces in the door and comes to you.


....want to read more? Watch this space for more excerpts and the book launch coming very soon!

Belle

x

Friday, 22 November 2013

First season: The Truth behind the Lies!

So basically, Whitelines asked me to do an article for them, and being a lazy bitch I couldn't be arsed to write two seperate blog posts...

So this is all you're getting this week darlings...enjoy



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How Not to Run a Chalet

I have recently received somewhat of an ear bashing from various quarters (uptight, grumble fairies suffering from a chronic sense of humour failure, if you’re asking) about certain elements of the somewhat questionable advice that I frequently dispense herein. 

I have a hunch one or two of the above mentioned work for tour operators and therefore I’m probably not at the top of their lists of ‘favourite people’ anyway, but still. Sidestepping the many petty quibbles we could get into over the fact that some of these tit gypsies are willfully missing the point of most of what I say, I thought that in fact it was probably about time I used my popularity for a good cause.

By that I mean stop simply telling people to drink their own urine and sprinkle their pubes in people’s ski gloves and provide some useful information that a newbie seasonnaire may take with them on a season, to avoid getting fired / alcoholism / fatal injury / genital warts.



The other day, a very nice lady from Alps2Alps, with a sexy name, invited me to do a guest post on Ski Accommodation Finder to offer some helpful advice the common-or-garden innocent holiday-going punter this coming season of ski-ness. This was a request to which I gladly acquiesced in the most flippant way I could think of. Here, you can read it: How to Have the Worst Ski Holiday of Your Life.

In return, the lady with the sexy name sent me what follows; A narration of a rather irksome-sounding chalet holiday. Most of what the writer experienced is pretty standard stuff and this did much to back up my frequent claim that your average ski holiday is nothing more than a glitter-garnished-pile-of-faeces.

Anyway, I thought this was all rather apt and might act as a poetic counterpoint to most of the other ramblings on here, which generally vilify the hapless punter.

Suffice to say, whoever this Chalet Bitch was, they were taking the chronic piss…

[Alps2Alps, by the way, in case you didn't know is the 'affordable airport transfer provider for all your ski transfer needs.' In other words, call these guys if you don't fancy being driven up the mountain this winter by a half-cut 19-year-old in a clapped out minibus with no wing mirrors...] 

How Not to Run a Chalet



If, like me, you thought that resorts like Megeve were these days finally free from dodgy dwelling and awful apartment owners, allow me to educate you. 
Not even close!

I recently returned from a pre-season break to what’s become my favourite haunt and to be perfectly frank couldn't wait to share my experience…for all the wrongest of reasons. In the five days I resided in a chalet block I shall not name for fear of being strung up before the courts. I experienced what I’d consider a ‘Chalet Management 101’ guide as to how NOT to run an establishment. 
It even got to such a point that I couldn't even begin to remember each and every horror of the days and nights, so I took to taking notes. That’s the first time I’ve ever compiled a fact-file of how hideous a stay in the Alps has been and hope to God it turns out to be the last. 

There aren’t enough pages on this whole site to go into full detail, but just to illustrate the point, here’s a brief look at a few of my personal favourites:

AWOL on Arrival
Ah, there’s nothing like turning up after a delayed flight only to find your ‘helpful’ chalet managed has already buggered off for the day with your keys. Cue a three-hour ordeal of phone calls, taxi rides and plenty of swearing before finally getting the things…only to be made to feel it was your fault! 

Personality Transplant
The above was just the first instance in which it seemed our plucky host has undergone a personality-ectomy. A frown that could ruin any Christmas, body odor strong enough to melt the ice caps and a tendency to only ever grunt a response while clearly too busy on Facebook. 

AWOL on Breakfast
Why bother paying for breakfast if the bloke that’s supposed to put it out doesn’t bother showing up? His excuse was that he was told nobody had paid for breakfast…interesting seeing as he checked up on and confirmed breakfast times just the night before. The downward spiral went on. 



Brits Abroad
Who in God’s name puts a five-room stag party of blokes from Birmingham above a family with two young kids? That’s right – our heroically incompetent chalet owner…sleepless nights a-plenty and I think my youngest picked up a few swear words for free. Marvelous! 

Hygiene Horrors


I won’t get too graphic in case you’re eating, but it seems there was still a good 15% of the prior guests still present in the room in the form of body hair and stainage. Seriously, you could clone a whole family from the DNA left behind…yuck!

Local Knowledge? What’s That Then?
I only asked one question and that was enough to know he wasn’t going to give us any help at all. I needed to know where the nearest shop was, he said he hadn’t a clue and didn’t know if there was one…it was three doors down on the same side of the street. I gave up. Waste of time. 

Twice Your Pain, Twice the Price
And finally, just to add insult to injury and round it all off in style, we got home to find we’d been charged TWICE for our delightful stay. This then resulted in a four-day campaign of trying to convince the chalet owner we weren’t taking them for a ride and demanding a refund. 

We’ve been told we will get one…and it might even be with us before the New Year. 


...Now, I must say in closing that it is, in fact, more than likely that someone you work alongside this season will get a complaints letter that looks an awful lot like the above. You could take this post as something of a cautionary tale. On the other hand, if you take nothing else away from this than a list of ‘possible ways to make your job easier’ that’s fine. But chalet bitches, may I refer you to rule number 18 in the Seasonnaire’s Survival Guide. Take Heed:


Photo sources: feepourvous.com - flickr.com/photos/darkdwarf - flickr.com/photos/marcokalmann