As part of the Ski Famille chalet team, my partner and I were running one of their Select chalets in Les Gets, France. Ski Famille offers catered chalet holidays in France, all with inclusive in house childcare, in both Les Gets and Reberty Village (3 Valleys).
My partner was the chalet chef and was responsible for preparing and cooking breakfast, afternoon tea, a separate children’s tea and finally a 4 course dinner with wine.
I was recruited as the chalet host, and was responsible for all the housekeeping duties and the front of house aspects of this prestigious chalet. Both roles were client facing, so no hiding away in the kitchen for us!
Between us we also did the shopping, cleaned and made the 13 beds every morning.
Our alarms would ring at 0650, and after a quick shower, I was ready for the three families we had staying in our chalet for the week. Generally the children were up and waiting for our arrival, so we needed to quickly prepare their favourite chocolate crossiants!
It was a military operation in the morning; kettle on, empty dishwasher, oven on, finish laying the table if we hadn’t managed to do it the night before. We usually had some little helpers who were more than happy to carry the boxes of cereals to the table and tell us about the next ski school badge they were aiming for.
There was often a mad rush in the morning, as most of the children would be booked into morning ski school. It was critical for us to have everything on the table and ready by 0745. The team of childcarers would arrive at the chalet by 0830, and they would take the children to ski school or start their activities in the playroom. This would leave us free to start the daily clean of the chalet, and start the preparing for dinner. We would bake a cake every day for afternoon tea, the guests favourite appeared to be the lemon drizzle cake.
At the start of the season, we were eager and keen; it took us a long time to get through our chores, when we were still finding our feet. But by late January we had it down to a fine art; on the slopes no later than 11am.
Generally we would be able to ski or board from late morning until 3.30pm. On our return to the chalet, we would be making final preparations to children’s tea. We tended to keep these meals simple but nutrious, parents wanted to see a good proportion of fresh vegetables and fruit.
Once we had cleaned up the aftermath of kid’s tea, there was usually a quiet period in the chalet, as the children were taken to their rooms to get ready for bed.
Occasionally one of the Mums would appear, asking to borrow the microwave to heat up some milk for the youngsters or a Dad would ask for a cold beer to sip in front of the fire.
We used this quiet time in the chalet to crack on with dinner preparations. Between us we would choose a suitable wine to accompany dinner from the extensive wine list. Our favourite was the Malbec to accompany the Confit of Duck.
We would offer pre-dinner drinks, and this was a great chance for us to catch up with our guests and find out about their day on the mountain and their plans for the next day.
With the kids tucked up in bed, the parents were now relaxed and ready to enjoy their 4 course meal. Often we would join the clients for dinner, but generally we would sit down for only one or two courses.
Once the clients had their cheese board, and the offer of tea and coffee, we would clean down the kitchen and restock the fridge with milk and orange juice ready for the morning. We would say our goodnights, and leave the chalet for the evening. Generally this would be around 10pm.
We skied every day except changeover day (Saturday). Changeover was the longest day of the week by far. We would wave off one lot of guests first thing in the morning and then do a thorough spring clean of the chalet, ready for the next arrivals. We always had to make sure there was no trace of the previous occupants
We were new to skiing at the start of the season but with careful planning, maximised our time on the slopes and have now fallen in love with the sport and the mountains. We worked hard but were really pleased how much time we got on the slopes.
Working as a chalet couple has real benefits as you can share the experience and have someone on hand to support you. You will have good days and bad days, and it is great to be able to let off steam with someone you are close to.