Once again I have been neglecting my writing duties. Hardly surprising given the approximately 5 minutes I have had off since November. Now, in the middle of January, life is ticking along nicely, we have plenty of snow and plenty of time off.
So what is going down in Verbier this season? Same old same old really, lots of vastly rich punters dressing in overpriced ski wear, asking dumb questions – check; mollycoddled children being ditched with ski instructors at the first opportunity, and being picked up at the last possible moment after a few cheeky ones at apres – drunk parents check; 17 year-old gap yahs, with Daddy’s credit card moaning about their jobs that they mostly fail to turn up for – check; women in fur coats with ludicrously tiny dogs – yup that too.
Business as usual, especially with the gradual creep of exclusivity that has taken over the place. The first time I rocked up here, 9 years ago to the week, this place was on the up, but there was still an eau de ski bum about the place, with bars catering to our meagre budgets, and scummy studio flats shared by multiple inhabitants with personal hygiene issues. All that has now ebbed away, the seasonaire flats have been knocked down or refurbished beyond recognition, and turned into 5 star hotels, for the rich and richer to inhabit while we get pushed further and further down the valley. Not that we mind, but it does make drinking logistics tricky, and the trip home rather more perilous.
The season so far, now it is actually in full swing, has been another mixed bag. On the one hand, it turns out that I am a quite spectacularly slow learner when it comes to my job, not something I am accustomed to, and I do not take well to discipline; on the other hand I know about 12 times as many people as I met on either of my previous seasons. Hardly any of these new acquaintances are as depraved or as sociopathic as some of my previous season buddies, but that may just be because I don’t have to live in a cramped and stinking bunk room with them any more.
On the other hand, I still wake up, in full ski kit, but also wearing flip flops, after a big night, much of which has vanished from memory. I still struggle to speak French, but it is definitely getting better, and so it bloody well should after two full seasons in French speaking Switzerland. The debauchery element never changes, it just hurts a bit more when you have a job where any degree of concentration or diligence is required. Oh, and I have to do sensible things like getting the last bus home now that I live down in the valley. Rocking up to work having slept in what you were wearing the night before is not a look that will keep me in gainful employment.