Finally, the holiday season gets into full swing following a week which looked more like George Romero’s Day Of The Dead than Christmas in a ski resort. It was all I could do to stop myself parading round town yelling ‘Helllllooooooo!’ through a bullhorn. I did see a few zombies, mind, but as they showed more interest in toffee vodkas than eating anyone’s flesh I assumed they were probably tour op staff on a night out.
Despite our heavily publicised website, with its handy ‘buy online in the comfort of your living room and don’t stand in a queue for hours when you could be skiing’ system, the masses still insist on all turning up at once the morning after they’ve arrived and then complaining that there’s a queue at the ticket office. You’ve got the necessary readies to come skiing at peak season, and yes I clearly see that iPhone you’re ostentatiously toting there, so don’t try to tell me you haven’t got net access. Or have you just not sussed out how to use Google? They run evening classes for that sort of thing, you know – have a look in the large print section of your local evening paper. It’s in there along with Zimmer Frames For Beginners and Pimp Your Mobility Scooter.
If you really must come and stand about in the cold in front of a hut when you could be hooning it down the Signal pretending to be Alberto Tomba, bear in mind that it wasn’t my idea. If you look at me accusingly and tell me you’ve been standing in that queue for a hour, I will certainly apologise and look sympathetic, but I will be thinking ‘what a twat, doesn’t he know how to use Google or what?’.
So you are now stuck with standing about in the snow with cold feet, getting increasingly irritated by the Italian youngsters in front of you who are yabbering at the cashier in a language she doesn’t understand, trying to work out the cheapest way of skiing for two days and having a hangover for three and shouting at each other at the tops of their voices (this is normal behaviour if you’re Italian, and doesn’t actually mean anyone is about to be brutally murdered despite appearances to the contrary). Make your life slightly easier with this handy guide to lift pass purchasing technique.
1. Position your head somewhere in the vicinity of the microphone. If you talk to me whilst standing three feet away and turning round to see where your wife has got to with the credit card, I will not be able to hear you.
2. If you let your child bang on the microphone, squeal down it or sing into it, I will turn it off. You will then have to communicate your lift pass requirements to me by gesticulating through the ticket window, which will do nothing to get you out on the slopes any quicker. It’s not my ski time you’re wasting.
3. Do not sit your infant on the microphone. Apart from the obvious communication problem this poses, it really can’t be comfortable. Come on, how would you like to have a cold metal thing rammed up your bottom? No, on second thoughts don’t answer that, I don’t want to know.
4. Do bring a huge hound which dwarfs you when it puts its paws up on the counter to have a look at us all. This is cool.
5. Also consider bringing a ridiculous micro-dog which has to be carried around in its very own designer houndbag. This most certainly is not cool, but it is quite funny. If you’re gong to do this, you may as well go the whole hog and wear a luminous one-piece suit with fur round the hood and an elasticated waist which makes your arse look like Vanessa Feltz on steroids. And don’t forget the moon boots.
6. If you are (or believe you may be) entitled to any kind of discount or preferential tariff, bring some sort of proof with you. I am not just going to take your word for it that you are a student/very old/under five. Do you think I came in on the last boat?
7. If I say you aren’t entitled to whatever discount it is you think you should have, believe me you are not. I have an exhaustive list here of all the cards, tickets, qualifications and vouchers we accept, complete with pictorial examples. I’m sorry, but we don’t recognise your mickey mouse gap year student instructor discount card. And no, I’m not going to ring my supervisor on the busiest morning of the season in order to have her tell me to piss off and look in the file.
8. Pay attention. I will need to elicit information from you before I can give you your pass. You will also need to give me money. If you have wandered off to natter on your phone, the whole process will take much longer than is necessary. Once again, it’s not my ski time you’re wasting.
9. Pay attention II: British customers. Learn to recognise your own language. If I speak to you in rapid English with a British regional accent and a larger vocabulary than you have yourself, there is every chance that you are quite likely to get the gist of what I’m saying. If you stand there and stare at me like a rabbit in the headlights while muttering irrelevant French phrases in an execrable accent, I will charge you for insurance you don’t need just to teach you a lesson.
10. Listen to the information you are given. When I explain to you that the pass goes in an empty left pocket and you need to keep the receipt, I do not expect to see you stuff the thing in your right pocket with your mobile phone and bin the receipt in the lift pass recycling box. (Actually, I do expect to see exactly that, but it would be nice not to just for once.)
11. Don’t argue. If I tell you to keep the receipt on you in a pocket away from the lift pass, do not tell me you’d be better to keep it in your apartment. You can post it to your granny in Outer Mongolia for all I care, but if you lose the lift pass you will have to get it back again before I’ll give you a replacement. I don’t tell you these things just for a laugh, you know.
12. Don’t try to exchange inane banter with me in French on a busy Sunday morning when the queue is spilling off the roundabout and into the traffic. What with that and this rubbish bloody microphone system, I really can’t be arsed. Just take your pass and bog off skiing, thank you.