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Ski Season Lifestyle

If I think back to my time in the bubble that is the French Alps, I get that warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling in my belly. I loved being surrounded by the frozen mountains. They’re the biggest thing you’ll ever see (people used to laugh at me for saying that) and I found it very humbling to feel so extraordinarily small beside them.

When you live in a ski resort, you have to fully embrace the ‘work hard, play harder’ motto. Having a job in a ski resort gives you access to massive discounts on ski passes and equipment (my season lift pass in Val Disere/Tignes was around 500 euros and at the time Snowberry Ski Hire gave free ski hire to all resort workers), meaning you can shred your heart out all day before you go to work in the afternoon. If you make it to the first lifts too, you feel like the world’s most accomplished person. Some jobs allow you to ski/board 7 days a week if you wanted to, but being a seasonaire gives you the luxury to pick and choose your days. Why force yourself into the misery of a whiteout when you have the whole season of bluebirds to ride?

The physiotherapy work includes lots of post ski massage, having come from the NHS where MSK treatment is quite hands off this really gave me the chance to develop my soft tissue skills and confidence in this area which is something I have taken forward with me throughout my career. My appointments were in chalets and hotels, some positions also have clinics in resort. The ever changing environment was not only really exciting (see the picture below for an example of my work view in one of the chalets I visited) but you learn how to adapt to new situations. You also have to work independently and as you don't have set hours (you usually have to be available within an hour in the afternoon and 2/3 hours in the mornings) you become a million times better at managing your time.

Feels a bit like I’ve just filled out that ‘skills’ section in a job application, but it’s true.

If the endless skiing and beauty of the mountains wasn’t enough, what about all the incredible people you meet while you’re there and the fun you have with them too? Work friends, ski friends, après friends. The mountain life attracts a wide variety of like-minded people from all over the world. It’s a place where the Peter Pan effect means you are blown away to find out your new bestie is actually ten years older than you. You also find you are connecting on a deeper level after five minutes of talking to someone new than you have with friends you’ve known your whole life.

It isn’t all flowers and roses though. There definitely are some downers about season life. Your legs are always sore and filled with jelly from the shredding. Feelings of resentment towards the punters (tourists) grows by the day. The accomodation is very small - I paid 3000 euros for the season but having the ski slopes next to you certainly makes up for it. It can also be a very full on lifestyle, finding the balance between skiing/boarding, socialising, working and sleeping. You can only have three of them at a time and latter two are compulsory, so it becomes a fine juggling act between skiing/boarding and partying. It’s easy to get caught up in both when you’re doing it with all the incredible mates you’ve made! But if you skip out on sleep, you will eventually fall apart and, after a few dusty work shifts, you eventually learn to save yourself for the better nights.

During my relatively short stint in the Alps I gained more than I’ll probably ever realise. I made friends who will last me a lifetime, as well as discovering to my surprise that I am, in fact, an outdoors-y, active girl and that’s how I want to be forever. The whole experience was certainly an eye opening one, shaping me into the person I am today. It was the best decision of my life so far, it started my love for working as a physio abroad and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

PS. Shout out to Dougie who took some of these amazing pictures on my season!

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