We really were exceptionally lucky with our team last year. It was the first year in which we had employed people and, thanks to the ‘B’ word which we won’t mention (a bit like Voldermort), it was no easy task. Still, we had some really great people helping us and we got there by the skin of our teeth.
Alfred looked after Amber, of course, with help from Mike and Michelle. Alfred is an army hound through and through and I guess moving from that environment to the seasonaire world is about a big a cultural change as it’s possible to imagine. Those of you that met Alfred, though, will know that he moved to La Tania and was instantly Top Dog (with Mike as his 2iC, call-sign “Wig”). Michelle was definitely OiC Chalet Amber and was the master of the eye-roll and, as we say in the Sharp household, the ‘Gromit’ look. Excellent TripAdvisor reviews for the Amber team (especially Alfred, of course): “Close to slopes, attentive hosts and lovely dog!”
In Ava we had ‘The Boys’, surf instructors (what else?) Sam and Our Ted. Both loved their cooking and were excellent cooks as their reviews showed: “We spent such a fun week at Chalet Ava. Ted and Sam were the perfect hosts … they gave us a warm welcome, were always cheerful and looked after us so well, producing the most delicious meals”. ‘The Boys’ always cheered us up and were unfailingly cheerful – they played hard and worked very hard. An added bonus was that Sam was so loud we could dispense with electronic communications gadgetry.
Evie joined us to run Isla in February and was a real breath of fresh. She really hit the ground running with less than 24 hours between her arrival and welcoming a chalet full of guests and was a star for the rest of the season – brilliant food, spotless chalet and great company – she became our ‘La Tania daughter’. ‘Really friendly host who was able to adapt to everyone’s needs and personalities in the chalet. She did everything with a smile on her face and we all felt at home straight away’.
Sadly (for us) Evie and Sam have decided to go travelling and surfing in the far east this winter, so they won’t be back, although we are hoping we might be able to entice them back to the team one day. We’re very pleased to say that Our Ted will be back and will be running Isla.
As you can imagine, we ended the season pretty despondent that we wouldn’t be working with the team again in 2023/24. A couple of months later, though, after a gruelling recruitment process in which MG and I were put through our paces by a multitude of interviewees, we have the makings of a very well-balanced team that will provide you, our guest, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with plenty of expertly prepared food (and wine) from which to launch your skiing days.
In Amber next season we have Lydia and Sam. Of all the people we interviewed, we were struck by their maturity and range of experience in the hospitality sector. Although they are both relatively young, that maturity has seen them rise to impressive levels of responsibility in quite prestigious hospitality rolls. Their references support our impression and demonstrate the high regard with which they are both held by their employers.
In her spare time, Lydia is a keen equestrian, competing in eventing and show-jumping. Sam is an accomplished skier and a bit of an adventurer, climbing to Everest base camp in March.
Your hosts in Ava will be Orla and Grace, both of whom we know. Orla has stayed with us in chalet Jacqueline with her parents a couple of times, so we were very pleased to receive her application! We are lucky to have her; she has an impressive CV demonstrating a wide diversity of experience and some impressive leadership roles. Orla is an enthusiastic sportsperson; as well as skiing she is a triathlete and takes part in a variety of water sports.
We got to know Grace very well last season. She worked as a host for a large, prestigious and well-known chalet company and, we know, was very highly regarded by the resort manager. MG and I spent a lot of time wondering if we could persuade her to come and work with us next season, but never quite worked up the courage to ask her to jump ship. In the end she approached us! Like the others, she demonstrates an impressive work ethic and level of maturity and is a fantastic vegetarian cook (we know; we’ve sampled her delicious meals!), although she is perfectly happy to prepare non-vegetarian fare.
Ted, or Our Ted as he is known at Sharp Towers, is returning to host Isla. He is an experienced host – this will be his third season working in the Alps. I can readily attest to his cooking skills – one of my favourite phrases of his is “would you like me to prepare a Katsu curry tonight?” (sadly not on this season’s menu!). He’s a bit of a perfectionist and nothing is too much trouble (as long as you’re not his parents 😏). Also an enthusiastic sportsperson, he is a surf-instructor, BASI Level 2 ski instructor, fantastic skier (voted ‘best skier of the season’ by the Ski Lodge poll last season) and bonkers cyclist – he cycled 1350 miles from Calais to Portugal in 16 days at the end of last season. (P.S. don’t argue with him about maths).
You can probably tell how excited I am by the team we have been lucky enough to assemble for next season. The only thing that’s worrying me is by how much MG and I will have to up our game!