WARNING: Mountains are dangerous places. Always ski within your abilities, assess slopes and conditions yourself.

How to socialise in a ski resort working remotely

ski

Having spent 4 ski seasons living and working in the Alps, I’ve been through the rigmarole of trying to slot into a buzzing social group of lost souls while still maintaining my remote web job. Here are my learnings.

  • You gotta accept every offer to ride, on the spot, with as many people as possible to find the perfect group to fit your riding style. A couple hours’ riding is so easy to stumble into and bonds like nothing you could believe, follow it up with a pint or two at the pub and you’re solid for riding again with them. After a few weeks you should be able to just head out on your own and bump into people you know, if you’ve not already got a bunch of missed calls from friends itching to head up the mountain.
  • Something I did this last season which worked out awesome: I got a job potwashing a few hours a week to cope with peak demand. The pay was wank of course, but staff prices at the pub and an instant friend group who I skied with most days, plus whenever you’re having drunk conversations with people throughout the season and they ask where you work (one of the default questions, as you can imagine), you can say the pub rather than trying to explain your nerdy remote job ;)
  • Another way to make friends if you have a car is offer a space or two on your next fortnightly supermarket run to seasonnaires you get chatting to at the pub. Most will be stuck with resort shop prices so it’s a big deal getting down to a big supermarket to stock up, you’ll be popular. Plus chatting/ride organising time on route.
  • Another good idea is to find a total beginner or novice who’s just decided to go out to work and figure it out, there are more than you’d expect. If you can give them the time to take them out on some gentle stuff for a while and build their confidence and skills up, again that’s a friend and drinking/riding buddy in exchange for a little bit of your time at the start, and they’ll forever remember and appreciate you as the one who brought them up to scratch. Plus it’s nice being the better skier :) It’s not that you need to bitch yourself out to have anyone want to hang out with you, but when you’re starting from absolutely zero, connections like you and I, you’ve gotta bring some benefits to the table.
  • Get yourself in good physical shape by the time you go out – you don’t want to be the slow guy or be out of breath walking up through the village.
  • Careful on the Mutzig on school nights ;)
  • If you’re able to choose your working hours, remember a lot of people work breakfast, so the seasonnaires will usually be heading out 10ish onwards, so if you’re an early bird you can always get up at 8, an hour or so answering urgent stuff then get booted up for 10. Most will start heading back from 3 onwards (and pistes are the most churned up those last 2 hours anyway so it’s less fun) so you can then get cracked into some evening work with your postski snack, then 10pm the bars will start filling with them so you can head out for that. Any earlier and it’s mostly guests, and while they’re fun to brag about your awesome life to, it’s never gonna be a lasting friendship. Also you’ll get sick of guests asking you to get them weed.
  • Saturdays were always my solo full day ski missions. Pretty much everyone is working all day Saturday for changeover, and there are very few guests skiing as they’re leaving or arriving. This is the one day of the week you win by being a remote nomad. Put your phones in and head out with no goals and see where you end up. This is YOUR day.
  • Shopping – this is a fine art that you will need to perfect with experience. Supermarket runs can be expensive fuel-wise but so worth it compared to resort prices. But you’ve gotta plan for weather – 2 seasons ago I couldn’t get my car out for 4 solid weeks. So I always have an emergency bunch of food supplies in case that happens again – boxes of UHT milk, weetabix, trays of eggs, sugar and flour for baking cookies etc.; stuff that doesn’t take up fridge space. Could save you a fortune during the endless January dumps.
  • Sick, shred and gnarl are now far too old to use unless ironically. Send is on its way out too. If you’re not already aware of the term ‘gaper’, look it up and ensure you aren’t one. And don’t yard sale on death cookies. Seasonnaires can be very fickle and shallow…
  • …But most of all they are some of the most wonderful souls you will meet in your life, and those five months will feel like you knew them a decade. Enjoy, you’ve made a good choice and you will destroy this season!

Posted
Author

Latest Articles
St Gervais les Bains - Easy off-piste
Skirwith Cave, Yorkshire Dales
Les Deux Alpes - Summer glacier skiing in France
Creating maps of your ski tracks
The Eiger Trail, Grindelwald, Switzerland