Tim Maitland discovered that a career in history perhaps wasn’t for him, having completed his degree at the University of York and heading off to the tough kitchens of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray. Formal culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school and a stint at Michelin starred Chez Bruce in London ensued and before he knew it, Tim and his mum Pam had established The Tasty Ski Company, a high-end, food-focused bunch of chalets in Morzine and Le Grand Massif.
Tim’s interest and passion for all things mountain means he’ll be blogging for us all winter long. Expect delicious recipes that you can prepare at home, local restaurant recommendations, and much more. In this instalment, Tim goes back to basics.
Why do a ski season in the first place?
Doing a ski season is always hard work and the pay is rubbish. You will live in a tiny apartment with people you don’t know and the place will always smell of damp socks. You will average about four hours sleep because you want to party all night but have to serve breakfast at 7.30am. You will also receive angry messages from your mum demanding that you call her even though you can’t afford it on your french SIM card. However, doing a season is a lot of fun and very rewarding for good reason. So what’s so great about it?
Improve your skiing and/or snowboarding
Doing a ski season is a great opportunity to perfect a skill that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. In most resort jobs you will be able to ski six days a week for five months. Once you learn to ski you will never forget the technique. Like most things in life the better you are at it the more you enjoy it. You will also be offered discounted seasonnaire rates for ski and snowboard lessons.
Improve language skills
It is possible to work in an alpine resort by only speaking English. If you work in a chalet, hotel, bar or club, most of your guests will probably be English. However, there are jobs out there where you will need to speak French on a day-to-day basis. You will be more employable if you can speak French even if it is not specifically part of your normal role – a resort manager will love the fact that you can speak French – you can help him/her deal with the French tradesmen when things break in your chalet.
Have a break
A ski season offers the perfect working holiday, whether you are about to start university or want a break from your career. The average seasonnaire is actually getting older as employers realise the benefits that experience can bring to their company. Your company back in the UK might even encourage you to have a break so you come back to work reinvigorated.
Learn ‘Life’ skills
If you don’t know how to clean, iron, make beds, manage a household, time-keep, deal with paying guests, change engine oil or shop to a budget then this is the perfect time to learn. Living conditions are tiny and you need to be able to stay neat and tidy and get on with your housemates even if you don’t like them. A season is a great opportunity to do some real independent living.
Make new friends for life
Cramp living conditions, hard work, and boozy nights are a recipe for forging close friendships (think university minus the hard work). Making friends from other countries is one of the best things you will ever do, not least because it makes your next holiday a lot cheaper!
Gain a business insight
Doing a season is a real opportunity to see how small businesses are run. There is a real entrepreneurial spirit in resort. Most British business owners in resort used to holiday there and loved it so much that they decided to stay. If you are taking a break from your career and have always fancied running your own business then now is your time to learn. Before you know it you will have decided to set up your very own alpine business!
Find out more about Tim and the Tasty Ski Company on their website.