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

Belle de Neige

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.



  1. Hope it was a great birthday, Belle! And that the launch of the book went well, I'll have to check it out.


  2. Well shit...

    I've read your entire back catalog of posts in less than 3 days, seriously considering jacking in college, the potential for uni and the feeling of despair as I serve fry-ups to arrogant cock-ends in a grubby cafe on the weekend.

    I've got the itch for a season Belle, and its almost entirely your fault.


  3. Well fuck, I'm close to 30 too, but I'm about to throw away underpaid, recurrent boredom back home for a season in NZ. Where and what did you start as?

    1. A chalet bitch my dear. I did have a brief interlude as a resort manager ... but once a chalet bitch always a chalet bitch!


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