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

Belle de Neige

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?”





“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!



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

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Newbie Seasonnaires: Stuff you might not know you'll need

In my travels around the webosphere this week, I see and hear a lot from the newbie seasonnaire who is unsure what to pack / take with them on their first foray into the alpine underbelly.

Bridget Jones' Cunt

Ahhh, my dear newbie seasonnaires, allow me to assist. The fact that you are asking these questions is good. You have foresight. You will do well. I have foreseen it!

The next 6 months is your big chance. If you do this right, you're in for a treat...

Stuff you might not know you'll need:

  • A 4 plug strip socket with at least 2 metres of cable - believe me, you will thank me.
  • A multitool - in case you drunkenly destroy anything in your accommodation and need to fix it.
  • Some extra cash for the avalanche training and beeps you will inevitably want once you get a sniff of going off piste with your insane room mate.
  • Some really loud speakers for accommodation rave ups

  • A shit load of condoms
  • Bondage tape (my personal preference, but you never know who'll you'll want to tie up and spank)
  • Yorkshire teabags (if you value tea as much as I do. The French / Austrians / Swiss do not understand these things)

  • Branston pickle (same reason)
  • Download a shit load of films in case (in the highly likely event) you can't get wifi in your accommodation
  • Hide my Ass VPN - so you can watch BBC stuff on your laptop while hibernating under your duvet on a hangover / whiteout day.
  • Spirits - If you're in France this is particularly important as the only decent shot they have is that revolting shite Genepi which tastes like your Granny's perfume.. Seriously it's the most foul tasting thing you'll ever experience. Also, booze is expensive in ski resorts so it's good to have a stash.
  • A hip flask. Always a good bonding strategy with new chums on a chairlift.
  • Head torch - for lights-out-cunnilingus

So hot right now

  • Fancy dress - I'd suggest a Gorilla costume or something similar. Otherwise you'll end up having to go to every themed seasonnaire evening as some kind of tin-foil-cardboard fuck up. Don't buy a Kigu they are so 5 seasons ago.
  • A full course of antibiotics
  • Swimming stuff ( in case you start shagging someone who works in a private chalet...although come to think of it you probably won't need the swimmers in that case)
  • Flip flops - a must for end of season sun
  • A jacket and a pair of gloves that you don't mind getting covered in shite (stacking wood / partying)
  • Waxing and edging tools - will save you money / buy you street cred (might even earn you some cash if you do your friends' skis)

Stuff you might not know you won't need (are you confused? I am.)

  • Half the clothes you've packed
  • Anything fancy
  • Ugg boots, trainers, ballet flats or doc martins - firstly because you don't want to look like a cunt, secondly because they are totally useless.

Get a pair of these:

Oh yes. Also ....leave behind any ski equipment you bought prior to being a seasonnaire. Remember that Spyder ski jacket and blades you bought? Yeah. They're not cool, I'm afraid. Steeze yourself out.

Also, watch this film

Pay heed to this

...and some words of advice....

Say yes to everything, see everyone as a potential buddy, don't stay in, go out... shag wherever possible... don't whinge....do your job properly...and for Christ's sake...SKI (or snowboard)! Even if you've had 1/2 an hour's sleep and worked a six hour shift and you can only fit an hour in...SKI! Don't be a pussy.

There, consider yourself initiated.