Seasonaires are an odd bunch. Bright, young things, following their dreams to the mountains and spending six months of winter working in menial jobs so they can be there, every day, skiing or snowboarding. How amazing it must be, back home, to announce to your friends and family 'I'm off to do a season, eh?'
How great it looks to us as we arrive in our chalet and they tell us tales of 'last weeks powderdays, eh?' and how they are 'going out to hit some sweet spots this arvo, eh?'. (BTW, Nearly every seasonaires voice has the ozzie/kiwi habit of rising at the end of a sentence, known technically as a Terminal Incline and has the effect of making even the most boring statements into the most enthusiastic question... Dinners at eight-thirty, eh!! You want some more coffee, eh?! The toilet's down there on the left, yeah!!!?)
But the dreams of powderdays, beautiful tree runs and avalanche horror stories are told while doling out boxes of cheap breakfast cereal, cleaning rooms and cooking meals on a tight budget - the job of a seasonarie is 6 days a week, to provide breakfast, bake an afternoon cake and whip up a 3-course evening meal on a tight budget while helping the guests with all their little holiday problems, from lift passes to broken legs.
Blind Enthusiasm must be the key quality that employers look for when employing seasonaries, because the punishing job doesn't leave a lot of time, cash or energy for expensive winter snowsports. Luckily, having the Terminal Incline actually creates the Blind Enthusiasm needed to work through a season - surely the reason why there are more pseudo-Kiwi accents up in the Alps then native French accents! Seasonnaires are everywhere up here, serving behind bars, working in ski shops, cleaning chalets... everywhere but the pistes; but we had come out to Les Arcs to visit a friend, Ben, who 6 months ago had announced that he was going to do a season. He wasn't your typical seasonaire, he was over thirty and had a great business in website programming. And he wasn't going to slum it on the slopes. Instead he had hoped to become one of the new breed of 'Remote Workers' living in the Alps, yet working for clients in London by the power of the Internet, Skype and the odd cheap flight.
Bens' broad, northern accent didn't allow for a Terminal Incline yet we couldn't keep him off the slopes. A morning work session on the laptop followed by an afternoon up the mountain, checking his email on his iPhone on the lift was his daily grind. Who needs Blind Enthusiasm with a job like that?
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