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

Belle de Neige

Monday, 14 February 2011

Another fine product from the fuck-up factory

This morning I got an unexpected phone call from Mini SbH, who had just finished deep cleaning his entire kitchen.

‘I’ve had a catastrophe’ he said balefully, ‘I’m just standing in the middle of it now’

‘Oh god. What is it?’

‘A bottle of wine.’


‘It fell out of the cupboard when I was putting something away. It’s red.’


‘It’s all over my white shirt, all over the floor, the fridge, the cooker, the kettle – everything I’ve just cleaned’ he wailed.

‘Oh dear’ I said, ‘Well don’t worry, a bit of hot soapy water should do the trick’

‘Yeah.....I think I’m just going to open another bottle of wine now’ he said sadly, ‘And slowly drink it as I work.’

‘I think that sounds like a fine idea’ I said. ‘Never mind, darling’

It’s mid-season deep clean week. Or, in seasonaire lingo ‘Another excuse to get completely shitfaced’. Oh the horror. That familiar feeling after 1 hour’s sleep, when you know only a bottle of vodka is going to get you through breakfast service.

The Minions are being forced to do some real, actual work in the form of cleaning every last inch of their chalets, every speck of dust. They must defrost the freezer and disinfect the fridge, scrape burnt grime from the inside of the oven, de-scale the kettle, pull hunks of slimy human hair, skin and refuse from plug holes, scrub between bathroom tiles with a toothbrush and polish every surface to a mirror shine and (threat of terrifying threats) will have their ski passes confiscated if it ain’t done proper.

Of course, the law according to St Bastard ensured it was Bill’s (of Bill and Ted) birthday yesterday. Right smack in the middle of the toughest week of the season. The week where the HO-Bots will be visiting and poking their nose into every nook and cranny of every property.

I could really do without him being in a permanent state of banjax to be honest, but sometimes one just has to give in to the inevitable and manage things tactically.

By the time I spoke to him about his guests ski passes at 9am yesterday morning he had already been plied with a timely bottle of champagne (swiped from the store room by Ted, no doubt) and a round of breakfast shots and was barely able to complete sentences. Well not linear ones anyway:

‘Passes. Passes for zzze ski. Refund...’

‘Ummm, Bill? Are you ok? You sound a bit spangled’

‘I’ss....fine....REFUND! They want REFUND!’

‘Are you serving breakfast to your guests in this state?’

‘S’Fine... their Danish’

‘Bill I can’t do refunds. You’ll have to tell them no’


The next time I saw Bill it was 4 am and he was crowd surfing.

I couldn’t quite deal with the thought of this grinning, booze-soaked buffoon serving breakfast to a family of six in barely three hours’ time, so I did what any responsible manager would do ...I shut him down.

I bought him a seasonaire’s nightmare.

That is a very special birthday pint of anything the barman cares to combine, into a cocktail so putrid and heinous it is guaranteed to render the drinker unconscious, if not brain-damaged.

This one contained gin, sambucca, coke, wine, beer and some kind of toffee cordial. Bill gave new meaning to the words 'blind drunk.'

Call this damage limitation.

You see, after drinking that I know without a shadow of a doubt, without even checking, Bill didn’t make breakfast service this morning. And quite frankly, that is fine by me.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some Other Mountain Creatures

This season the main protagonists in this little story remain very much in situ. I am still in the company of crackpots. There is of course the strange mountain dwelling thing - E...sans dreadlocks (turns out he’s quite handsome under all that hair, though still unhinged), F-the-Chef, H and of course, the ubiquitous Skater Boy.

But what of the others? The support cast?...well, let me attempt to sketch a few characters and types for you:

The Managers

So we know that Chalet Bitches are in the most part clueless, drunken, louts who can’t cook chicken. But what about these slightly older, more responsible twenty-somethings they employ, to oversee the whole shebang? Are they any better?

To be frank, all you have to do is remember Scruffy-But-Handsome is one of them and your question is answered.

He is a complete maniac who skis around in a stripy red and white Willyfinder onesie looking like a criminal version of Where’s Wally? - and he is not alone.

When I met my colleagues for the first time, they all seemed like reserved, upstanding individuals. But after a week or two of being pushed to boiling point thanks to 15-hour days it all spilled over. I mean what do you expect?

There was Guinea-Fowl – a quietly spoken, affable chap, who had earned his nickname by pressing his naked genitals up against restaurant windows and yelling ‘GUINEA FOOOOOOWL’ at perturbed diners.

Goldilocks and Sasquatch – a blonde bombshell and her enormous, lovable Kiwi boyfriend, who spent most of their time ploughing through most of the store room’s supply of chalet wine and spirits on the sly.

The Geordie Ninja – aforementioned chain- smoking driver with an uncanny ability to disappear under the radar. Usually pops up somewhere the next day looking furtive and hungover....You ain’t seen him, right?

Then there was Rowy, who got so shit faced one night that he genuinely couldn’t remember who he was when he woke up. Although he did vaguely recall some fisty-cuffs with one of his female staff. He spent an entire training day with his eyelids at half mast and a look of apologetic triumph on his face - repeatedly claiming that the only explanation was date rape. Now, I’ve been to some Rohypnol parties but that takes the cake...

Head Office Bots

Tour Operators: there are few that one would topple over oneself to work for - each have their strengths and foibles. This isn’t a well-paid career choice. Until, that is, you sell your soul to the devil. Aka Head Office.

The thing that mystifies me about these HO-Bots is that in the most part they’ve all done seasons at some point. They must, surely, know the score. They must, surely, be feigning shock when they hear one of the Chalet Bitches has been throwing after-parties and ransacked one of their flag ship properties, or has chundered all over a guest.

But as soon as they make it to the towering heights of HO they seem to become nodding, accountancy lapdogs. I suppose it’s because they’ve all got mortgages and live in the real world. Hmm. Sensible people. But in that case why are they so unrealistic?

After almost three months of listening to the same verbal tick at five second intervals over the phone, from one particular HO-Bot it’s a miracle I’m not actually clinically insane. ‘Rightyho’ he says....

‘Rightyho. Glad to hear you’re doing things by the book. Rightyho’.

I can’t help musing as to whether he uses this phrase in the sack.

‘Rightyho. Now if you could just pop down there suck my left ball, that would be super. Rightyho....yes that’s the spot...Rightyho! Ooooh, RIGHTYHO!’

Bar Staff

Pick three:


The Man of Leisure

You may remember I mentioned him once before. I met The Man of Leisure last season when I gave his multisquillionaire Dad a lift to the airport.

He has a Lloyd Grossman accent – the confused and ambiguous upshot of an international education. He is 19 and has his own apartment in Regent’s Park. He works a maximum of 8 hours a week, mainly to give him something to do. The rest of the time he is either hammered or skiing.

Mostly we all just tell this obnoxious fellow to ‘shut up’ a lot. All of his tall tales (of which there are many, mainly involving bat-shit crazy bunny boilers who want to kill him, for whom I can’t decide whether he is a magnet or a catalyst) start with the phrase ‘I was HAMMERED’. By all accounts the Man of Leisure should be a total cunt.

But, as I was reminded when he came bouncing into the pub last night dressed as a frog, he’s awesome, and I love him.

French Ski Instructors

The old ones look like farmers. The young are minted, achingly steezey, perpetually drunk and potentially dangerous. There is one in particular I’m thinking of who prowls the resort in search of prey which he then dribbles all over until it runs off in terror. He’s quirkily handsome, in a goofy, French kind of way, with long floppy limbs and a slightly lopsided gait. He is absolutely adorable, until he gets some Mutzig in him.

Well, he’s currently sporting a restraining bolt, put it that way.

European Snow Bunny

They wear coats that are essentially frighteningly expensive, stuffed bin liners trimmed with feathers from big bird’s arse. And continuing on this ornithological theme, have sharp, terrifying talons to boot. Their faces often look like they’ve been pumped full of KY jelly while sitting on a roller coaster. They top this with a blonde bouffant and enormous sunglasses. They tail it with a pair of (fur lined) vertiginous heels that make pretty fucking useless alpine footwear but look like they’d be rather handy if you fancied braining somebody or poking out their eyes. They are all emaciated - none of them could stop a pig in a passage. And their make-up seems always to have been applied with a trowel.

Ok... they look hideous, but at least they are groomed and neat. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a glittering boutique window as I’m galumphing past in my grubby boots and ill fitting corporate jacket, bobble hat rammed down over my eyes and held in place with ubiquitous WESCs and my heart sinks. I feel a bit frumpy, in truth...

A demain...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Minions

In the spirit of SbH (and with some helpful contributions from his good self –these days he peers over my shoulder and tries to back seat write many of my posts) I have come up with a list of nicknames for some of the more idiosyncratic of our respective teams of minions:

Thick-but-Happy (TbH): A grinning fool. No word of advice or nurturing guidance seems to penetrate his skull or skin and the fact that he’s good-looking in the same way a Labrador puppy is only adds to his charm resulting in a frustrating lack of urgency.

Bangers: What can I say? She has lovely breasts. As our friend the nimble-fingered physiotherapist 'Magic Hands' (who is currently banging Bangers) repeatedly reminds us.

The Professional: Chef extraordinaire. He doesn’t need your help. He works alone. No women, no kids.

The Artiste: Virtuoso pianist fresh from Oxbridge. Rather charming, innocent looking and a great cook, but cleaning bogs is beneath artistes, you know.

The Furtive Ginger: Great craic but collars don’t match cuffs, as she freely admits.

Mini SbH: At the start of the season thought I was some kind of cooking consultancy hotline and terrified me with questions (in the middle of service) like ‘How to you cook chicken’ and ‘what do you put in basic bolognaise sauce’. Since then has turned out to be fairly competent and a right little charmer where both guests and women are concerned. Picked up snow-boarding quicker than a Lindsay Lohan picks up STDs and was doing back flips within a week. Has 200 Euro tips coming out of his ears and a number of chalet girls already under his belt. One could start to resent this little sod, if he didn’t keep his chalet so immaculate, hand his accounts in on time and have that disarmingly innocent twinkle in his eye.

Calamity: Had asthma and no muscles in her body when she first arrived. I asked her to pick up a packet of crisps and she practically fell over. I feared she might wither away or die of hypothermia. In classic newbie 18-year-old chalet girl style, didn’t seem to understand that a singlet and ballet flats don’t quite suffice on the arctic tundra either. But it turns out she’s an absolute little trooper and reminds me a bit of Shazzer circa 2002 actually.

Bill and Ted: Joined at the hip and having a(nother) most excellent adventure - complete with guitars. Rufus. Didn’t need to be taught any seasonaire lingo. Actually invented some of their own and have nicknamed me The Lashmonster. Not sure how I feel about this. Guaranteed to be back next season as long as they survive this one intact.

The Vagabond: Clumps around a lot in big jumpers and boots, tells awful jokes and muffs up the punchlines and quotes randomly from films. Floppy hair. Drainpipe jeans. Adorably geeky but really quite handsome if you get a glimpse under the emo fringe. If I was ten years younger...

The Tit-Gypsy: Appears to live in a complete fairy land where she is the Queen of Fucking Everything and everyone is in love with her. In reality is a bit of a Tit-Gypsy.