At last, we see light at the end of the February tunnel. On Saturday morning they’ll all pile out of resort (generally between the hours of 09:00 and 19:00 when they’ve been advised not to, resulting in stationary traffic from here to Brittany) and the slopes will be free of bladers, ski school snakes 20 kids long (yes ESF, I’m looking at you) and utterly ridiculous behaviour. Well possibly not the ridiculous behaviour, but we’ll see a lot less of it, if only because there are fewer people around and most of them will manage to do whatever it is without being spotted.
Our new corporate owners put a lot of effort this season into telling us how we should be grovellingly polite to our visitors on the grounds that most of them are educated professional people with wads of dosh and therefore much better than the likes of us waster seasonal types. Casual observation would suggest that they need to sack their marketing department, is all I can say.
Walking in the middle of the road. Don’t they have cars in Paris any more? Or maybe peak season skiers are all members of some freaky cult which bans wheeled vehicles and they all live in gated communities where they never see any mode of transport more advanced than a mule. Either way, resort has been full of people who quite evidently don’t realise that a) roads have cars on them and b) in a collision involving a motor vehicle and a human body it isn’t the vehicle which is likely to end up on life support. It might help if the commune painted the zebra crossings back in so that they were visible all across the road rather than just at the edges, but I doubt it.
Trying to make a complaint when you are dressed as a banana. Having a whinge that your skipass has demagnetised and refusing to trek the length of resort for the receipt (the one we tell you to keep on your person rather than in your apartment at the other end of resort, in anticipation of this very eventuality, but never mind) is arguably legitimate, but it really isn’t very easy to take someone seriously when they’re pretending to be a piece of fruit.
Smuggling your dog up the chairlift in a rucksack. There are lots of reasons why we don’t allow dogs on the lifts in winter, most of them aimed at protecting the dogs from their alleged owners and relating to the carnage potential involved in animals running out in front of speeding snowbladers. And quite apart from that, if you zipped me into a rucksack and hauled me up a mountain, I’d be quite inclined to bite you as hard as possible when I got out.
Leading your child around the hill on a string. I first spotted this nutjob when he fell over his own offspring at the top of the Lac Noir and wiped them both out. It became evident on further inspection that he had tied a rope round the poor child’s waist and was skiing about hanging onto it. This despite the fact that a) the kid was at least eight and b) he was probably the worse skier of the two. I know Dads are supposed to be embarrassing, but really that takes the biscuit.
Trying to ski closed runs. We don’t close half the resort in peak season just for a laugh, strange though that may seem. That heavy-duty orange netting across the entry to the Demoiselles is there because after the first 100 metres the run consists of stones, mud and early riser marmots taking the sun. If you want to take your kids on a two kilometre hike that’s fair enough, but they might enjoy it more if they weren’t wearing ski boots and carrying a load of redundant ski gear.
Stealing the piste marker poles for use as walking sticks. And then cheerfully admitting as much to the lifty who asked what they thought they were doing with a jalon. I know it’s hard to conceal a piste pole about your person, but you’d think people would at least have the decency to look shifty.
Expecting the ticket office staff to be telepathic. Apparently when someone asks for a five-day pass we are supposed somehow to divine that what they want is a pass for five consecutive afternoons, a product which doesn’t actually exist. You should ask the question, he told me snottily. So … I should check with every customer that they do actually want what they’re asking for and not something that they’ve just made up on the spot instead. You have to assume that when he goes for his morning paper he expects the newsagent to check that he doesn’t want Lunar News Digest, just in case. Likewise it seems that we’re supposed to know, when they rock up at 10am and ask for a week’s pass, that they want one which starts the following day.
Presumably these are the sort of well educated professionals with wads of dosh who just dismantled the world’s banking system by failing to realise that lending large sums of money they didn’t have to people who couldn’t demonstrate any means of paying it back might end in tears. Fingers crossed that the ones you have to deal with on a daily basis for things like dental care and legal advice have a modicum of expertise in their chosen field even if they were behind the door when the common sense was handed out.