We received an email this week asking us for some advice on different chalet operators and the benefits of each. It got us into a conversation regarding the more premium and upmarket chalet operators against the (bog) standard chalet operators and the benefits of each.
So here we are sharing what was discussed and a bit of knowledge with all you guys!
Now be warned; this isn’t a simple case of splitting companies into the luxurious types and then the others, because as our ski company reviews touch on – a lot of companies offer both a standard and premium option for guests. If this is the case, it makes it a lot harder for you to actually decide which one you will be working in for that company (providing you have already applied and bagged a role!). What I can tell you though, is that if this blog sways you towards one or the other, the most sure fire way of proving (or ‘unproving?’ yourself) is via the training week(s).
If you want a standard chalet, regardless of how skilled you really are, flunk the week. Burn the beans, over poach the eggs, forget the sugar in the cake and be an absolute awful driver (just don’t go full fucktit and crash the thing!). Do the absolute minimum. A friend of ours has an expression and that’s ‘if you ever give more than 50%, they’ll start to expect it all the time’. We think that’s quite apt if you’re happy with the standard chalets. If you want the premium listings then I’m afraid it’ll be a bit harder during that training in order to shine, but as described below, it could be all worth it for you in the end.
To make it easier, We’ve broken the choice down into key differences; work level/ free time, clientele and tips/pay. There are many more but to be honest, my word count is already far too high.
Work level/free time
Both standard and premium level chalets have minimum standards you are expected to reach, of course. Even in a standard chalet, you still need to keep the place clean and not poison the guests (easier said than done, believe me).
What this means is that for both, you still do require a minimum level of working hours, effort and hard graft. However, after than minimum is where the differences begin. In standard, you are unlikely to have had much hospitality experience before so getting the knife and forks the wrong way around, forgetting the gravy for the Sunday roast or leaving the washing up until the morning can be forgivable.
BUT, if those other guests are paying top dollar each for a week of unrivalled luxury and relaxation, you’d better damn make sure every speck of dust is swept and hoovered, every window and mirror completely and utterly smear free and every course you send out is the greatest dish you have ever created…until tomorrow. That hot tub and sauna better be sterilised to within an inch of its life everyday too. Oh and generally speaking, the premium chalets come with a 4 course dinner (rather than 3), canapés, aperitifs and champagne so get your waiting skills up to scratch!
All in all, a fuck load more work, effort, planning and faff that begins to grate on you as the season goes on and impacts heavily on your time on the slopes! You’ll still have a lot of time to hook yourself up to your chosen plank(s) of wood, but it’ll be less time than others if you don’t nail that routine early.
We’ll probably get bollocked for stating this and be strung up for making the generalisation, BUT…if you can afford the type of luxury that some of these companies offer, then chances are you’re already a bit of a pompous dickhead. Bankers, Lawyers, Accountants, Oilarchs (well, not quite but they can be unbelievably rich in these places) walking around with their nose up, looking down on the poor peasants (that’s you) for doing your shitty manual labour jobs. They don’t actually know (nor really care) that you’ve got a good degree and gave up a decent paying job in the city for this…they just don’t and won’t get it.
As such, they’ll treat you like shit, treat the chalet like shit (because, well, they don’t need their deposit back anyway) and will criticise all you do, looking for faults. You can rest assured too that they’ll be the first to go running to your manager with their complaints and ruin the slim chance you had of receiving your end of season bonus.
Of course, there are unbelievably good rich guests too. The ones that join you in on the drinking sessions, help out in the kitchen and treat you like one of their own. These are absolute diamonds and generally give you more than a healthy tip at the end of the week too…but that’s the next point.
Standard chalets do get the bastards too mind, but more often than not they are like-minded down to earth people who share a passion for the slopes. They are there to get as much time on the white stuff as possible. They aren’t just there because it’s the ‘thing’ to do, the ‘place’ to be seen or because it gives them a chance to exude their wealth and status, unlike certain others…
Now clearly, with all that extra work and hospitality you need for the premium chalets, you do get an extra stipend for your pay. But don’t go thinking you can stash away all that extra pay and save money by the end of the season. It really is a stipend. For our company it’s an extra £20 each a month. Woo, go fucking crazy! That won’t even cover your phone contract…
But tips, that could sway it. Obviously if you’ve got more to give (and let’s face it if you’re paying premium prices you’ve got plenty to throw about) then you’re gunna tip more heavily. However, do remember that people only tip for a job well done. Sit on your arse all day, leave the chalet a state, walk around the chalet visibly hungover all week and cook shit food whilst not interacting with your guests then it does not matter which chalet you’re in, you aint gunna get diddly squat.
So, a ‘normal’ tip could be €10 per person with a good tip in the region of €20. In a premium chalet this can easily double so it can pay dividend to be good at your job. Remember, your wages aren’t going to cover many beers at mountain prices!
So, choose carefully. It effectively comes down to money Vs time. Is your time worth more than money? Riddle me that…