Spoff’s blog….

11th June 2009

Victoria Spofforth worked as Chalet Host in Chalet du Guide for the winter 08-09.  Here ‘Spoff’ tells of her winter experience in Meribel working hard, skiing hard and playing hard! A photographer by trade, Spoff can now be found in Suffolk continuing her freelance work for the summer working hard as she prepares to head off on her world travels in September

Having had a taster of a ski season for 6 weeks in 2006, I was counting down the days until the 1st of December when I would return to Meribel for 5 months. When the day finally arrived Meribel did not disappoint. It was an idyllic welcome, the snow was falling thick and fast and the mountain felt every bit as magical as I had remembered it.

The first week was pretty hectic. Cleaning, moving logs, team games with the lovely Matthew, as well as learning about the dangers of hot tubs! However the highlight of the training week for me was the test dinners. It was clear that we had some very talented chefs on board, the food was amazing. This was complimented by the efficient chalet hosts who ensured a full wine glass at all times. This training week was a great chance for us all to get to know each other before the guests arrived. After a few days I was told that I would be working in Chalet Du Guide with Alice, an experienced chef who has spent numer­ous winters in The Alps. It was obvious from the test dinner that Alice was a fantastic chef and that our mutual love for gin and tonic would take us a long way.

A week or so after we arrived the lifts opened and the deserted pistes and fresh snow was ours to enjoy. The conditions were incredible and it was so good to be back on the skis. Powder was in great supply, something I had never encountered before and now it was time to learn how to ski in it! I felt extremely fortunate to be spending the winter exploring the vast skiing area the three valleys had to offer.

The following months passed quickly, working, skiing and playing hard. The chalet was always busy and we had some lovely guests, all of whom will be remembered for different reasons. To name but a few, The stag do (say no more), The Donaldson family from South Africa, who joined us for a ski on New Year’s Day, followed by a vin chaud or two. The Breitmeyers for including us in their Christmas day celebrations and Rupert from The Guardian for his fantastic review.

I had some great times at Chalet Du guide and Alice and I have become great friends during the time we spent running the chalet for Fish and Pips. A typical evening in the chalet would end with Alice arranging her draw of cooking utensils in an ‘OCD’ like manner, meanwhile I would be causing chaos in the saucepan cupboard with my precarious stacking, I think between us we struck a balance! Many a quiet moment was spent playing our favourite game s**g, marry or throw off a cliff (introduced to me in our training week) and more often than not the evening ended with a drink at our local bar, Lodge Du Village with the rest of the Fish and Pips crew.

I find it hard to believe that winter has been and gone, it is definitely true that time flies when you’re hav­ing fun. I feel extremely proud to have been part of the Fish and Pips team and so grateful to have such lovely bosses as Holly and Philippa. I am sorry to say that I am not returning this coming winter but my camera and I will be pursuing other travelling adventures.

My ski season with Fish and Pips lived up to all my expectations. I have come away with some amazing memories and experiences, some beautiful photos but most importantly a whole new group of friends. It is thanks to all the lovely people I met that I enjoyed my time in the mountains so much. I look forward to more fun times with you all in the future snow or no snow.