Honestly, I have never worked so hard in my life. We’re averaging about 10 hours work per day for 4 days a week and then 13-15 hour days 2 days a week. That’s upwards of 70 hours a week with one day off.
What about the working time directive you ask?
Well, read your contract. Somehow, you and the company waive that right and you agree to work as many hours as required to fulfil your duties. Great isn’t it!? Oh, you can opt back into it but you need to give 4 months notice; most the season then. And no doubt they’d find a reason to sack you if you did ask too.
Anyway, back to the hard work. So obviously the job isn’t mentally draining but god damb it is physical. Coupled with skiing/boarding in every single free moment of time you have, then our bodies are taking a battering. We are physically, mentally and emotionally drained on a permanent basis and clearly with that, comes frail bodies that are ready to break. If its not a split second wrong decisions on the slopes resulting in broken backs (true story) then its repetitive strain injuries with hands/wrists/backs/necks/knees…the list goes on.
However, having spoken to many a seasonaire and trawling social media there’s one common injury that constantly comes up; carpel tunnel syndrome.
Now, we’d heard of it before but only briefly. I’ve had friends who are tradesmen and farmers who have got it but not until this season had we realised how much it limits you.
Literally every ‘duty’ you have to perform will aggravate it. Cleaning, scrubbing, shovelling, baking, stirring, chopping, lifting, driving. Everything. We’ll have bigger forearms then biceps when we come back as they seem to take all the strain here!
First comes the numbness and tingling, then the pain. It truly is debilitating. You get prescribed a splint that stops any movement of the affected wrist (although this soon becomes wrists when the other hand takes all the strain) and have you ever tried cutting onions, shovelling snow, driving or even skiing without any upwards or downwards movement of your wrists!? You can’t. You become full blown paralysed. Therefore, the splint becomes redundant and you soldier on through.
So the only thing to do is power on, drugged up to your eyeballs (totally the legal kind) and keep smiling and serving those guests. But you’re seriously fucked. It just get worse and then it wakes you in the night. Every. Single. Night. Which of course wakes your partner up too! So that’s already a battered and tired body, being made even more tired through sleep deprivation and having to work long ass hours.
And the bigger kick in the teeth? Occupational health doesn’t exist for seasonaires. So you have to pay the doctor, you have to pay for medication, you can’t take time of work and you have to live with it. No sympathy, no contingency, nothing. It’s an occupational injury but there’s certainly no occupational assistance!
Of course, you could have a steroid injection which would massively help but do you think your employers would cover your work for a couple/few weeks while it recovered? Ha, would they fuck!
And worst of all, your resort manager will still come along and tell you to shovel that snow down to the ground. Yeah, We’ll do it one handed, backwards with our eyes closed too shall we!? Knob.
And then back injuries are all too regular an occurrence too. Tingles, numbness, sharp, shooting pains, groans, creeks and snaps. It all happens on your poor old back throughout the season so strengthen it up before you come out guys and look after it at all times!
Heres to hoping that nothing damaged is permanent eh!?