A Seasonnaires Perspective
I write this post in warmth of the blinking lights of the Christmas tree, with the smell of Cinnamon in the air from a candle burning nearby and Mince Pies fresh out of the oven on plate by the fireplace. As lovely as this all sounds- and I really am enjoying it- it's bizarre for me to be at my family's home in England, instead of in a shared Seasonnaires accommodation in the Alps with a lonely bit of tinsel draped over the TV.
This year took a turn that no one could have predicted and one of the many things that has impacted is the Ski Industry. Many Seasonnaires and Holidaymakers have been sat scrolling through their Camera Rolls and reminiscing about Winters spent in more scenic places, 'living the dream'. Those with a passion for winter sports have been waiting in hope for the announcement that resorts will be opening but instead we have been hearing about increasing infection rates and borders closing. Those who are lucky enough to be in Ski Resorts already have been able to Tour, Hike and enjoy other snowy activities. With all this time to reflect, I've been visited by the ghosts of Winter Seasons Past, Present and Yet to Come (if you hadn't guessed yet, I'm referencing Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol').
The Ghost of Seasons Past questions me about the opportunities missed on the mountain in previous seasons. In the 7 seasons that I've done I've rarely missed a day with my snowboard strapped to my feet, but have there been times where I could have stayed out longer, gone further or adventured harder? Maybe. I think that at some point we fall into the trap of taking the same routes over and over again and don't necessarily push ourselves to try new lifts, go right instead of left at a fork, or even check out other Resorts that are a stone's throw away. In addition, living in a Ski Resort inevitably results in taking the outstanding scenery and activities for granted. I think back to how an average Tuesday would look last year:
• Wake up and have coffee while answering some work emails & send in some design briefs
• Go snowboarding until mid afternoon, stopping at La Folie Douce for a quick coffee (or glass of champagne) before heading to the office for a few hours
• Go to the gym or out for dinner
• Got to Dicks Tea Bar to DJ for Techno Tuesdays
... what a life.
Of course on reflection you forget the sacrifices and challenges (sleep deprivation being a major one) but it's definitely worth it. The people you meet along the way are a huge part of the experience too. I've learned from the Ghost of Seasons Past that I will always seize opportunities, have far more gratitude for being in the mountains and get in touch with some friends that I haven't spoken to in a long time.
Here's a look at a 'Day in the Life' for me in Val d'Isère last winter:
The Ghost of the Present Winter Season seems to have been fiddling with my Instagram feed and showing me content of people riding through epic powder fields, cruisy Bluebird days and people partying at Apres Ski- from back when the only Masks in sight are Ski ones and nobody knew what Social Distancing meant. It's easy to feel hard done by that you're missing out on the life that you normally would have but we all need to have a bit of perspective. There are people going through incredibly hard times right now- including the business owners in Ski Resorts. Yes, it's shit that we can't go riding right now and don't have our jobs... but it could be much worse. I know that you should never compare these sorts of things but we will get to go back to doing what we love at some point (patience is a virtue) and we need to support the communities that are there providing that experience. Something that you can do for free in all of this spare time that we have while waiting for the lifts to open is write reviews for the businesses in Ski Resorts. It makes such a huge difference to business owners being able to attract clients and, as they will mostly be local but new tourists, a great Google or Trip Advisor rating is the best that you can do from afar.
The Ghost of Winter Seasons Yet to Come warns that they might be a bit different from what we are used to. The combination of Brexit and C-19 means that many businesses will have had to close doors for good. Unemployment rates will also mean that people cut back on spending and holidays for a while so it will be tough riding out the storm for those that survive. Buying locally will be so important, such as getting equipment from the independent shops in Ski Resorts (instead of online). Until the Brexit deal is arranged, we don't yet know what the Visa situation will be which will affect Seasonal Workers from the UK. I, for one, am trying to remain optimistic that the door won't be closed on that front. We've just got to wait and see. There's so much unknown and it's so easy for doubt to turn into negative thoughts but we have to manifest good times ahead!
One thing is for sure and that's that 'distance makes the heart grow fonder'. I can't bloody wait until I get to go back to the mountains and am waiting with optimism and patience for it. There's no point feeling down or wishing for what we can't have. We can only learn from the past, accept the present and hope for the future. That first ride down the mountain again is going to be oh so sweet.