Mickey Mouse on ice

Mountain ambience. Note absence of neon Asterixes.

Bad news today for those snowsport addicts amongst you who got into the whole thing for the mountain ambience, taste-of-the-wilderness, man-against-the-elements sort of thing. Le Dauphiné reveals that corporate bigwigs at the Compagnie des Alpes, owners of practically everywhere you might want to go skiing, think resorts should be more like theme parks.

I can see it now – flashing neon cartoon characters at every junction, ‘themed’ pistes where all the lifties have to dress up as Romans and stage mock battles every half hour, ski-through fast food outlets and souvenir shops selling pieces of meaningless plastic tat at every lift station. Great idea.

Not that I’m about to claim that the modern ski resort is anything other than a man-made playground – you can’t very well expect to be carried in comfort to an altitude of 3200m by a bloody great diesel engine and then get all snotty about the unspoilt mountain paradise. Anyone who wants the moral high ground is going to have to hike for it.

I’m liking the sound of improved queue management, particularly in February when nitwit punters insist on letting half the chairs go up empty despite the mile-long queue behind them just because they couldn’t possibly be separated from their boyfriend/mates/mother in law for all of the ten minutes it takes to get to the top. For God’s sake people, some of us only have a couple of hours after work to ski today and we’d rather not spend it freezing our tits off in this queue only to get to the glacier just in time to hit the end-of-afternoon M25. Now get on the bloody chair and stop pissing about.

Disney. No mountains and no bloody ambience either.

But talk of aménagement des pistes, animations and marketing sounds to me suspiciously like flat boring runs with no bumps, cringeworthy entertainment aimed somewhere half way down the left hand side of the bell curve, and a load of corporate branding wank. We’re being forced to put up with far too much of this kind of depressing global-economy substandardisation as it is and I really can’t see the need for polluting the mountain with it.

But with the multi-tentacled CdA and its Paris-based accountants already running practically every French alpine resort you’ve ever heard of – and no doubt twirling its caddish moustaches and eyeing up the rest of them as well – we could well be left with no choice but to put up with the Disneyfied ‘ski experience’ where we used to get the real thing. Of course there’s nothing to say that their evil plan is actually to cover the pistes in neon lights, fake Gaulish villages and people so desperate for a job that they’ll dress up as Obelix for a living – it could all just come down to a load of new signage and more efficient lift queues. You never know. (Though they already own a pile of tacky theme parks, so I’m not holding out much hope.)

One thing’s for certain – the day they tell me I have to dress up as a cartoon character and start calling me a ‘cast member’ is the day I tell them exactly where they can stick their job, well-paid though it may be. I can prostitute my time and effort for a mess of pottage without a qualm, but I’ll starve in a gutter before you get your corporate claws on my soul.

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About misplacedperson

Camping and snowboarding for a living. It may not be a career, but it's certainly a life.
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11 Responses to Mickey Mouse on ice

  1. BelledeNeige says:

    Ok if we’re going down this road, can we have a weekly staged reinaction of Hannibal’s attack of the Romans by storming over the Alps on war elephants? I would pay good money to see an elephant ski off the roof of a chalet.

  2. Helen says:

    They already made a start on Serre Chevalier with the Neiges de Culture, which has a Roman theme in Monetier, and a Vauban one in briancon.
    http://www.serre-chevalier.com/Neiges-de-culture-c

  3. EvanS says:

    If we doing fake Gaulish villages, bags I the role of chief druid. There are several people I can think of whose intestines would look really good wound around a Poma.

  4. Easiski says:

    Great rant Christa, With you 100%

  5. Ski-Finder says:

    Personally I don’t have an issue with this kind of talk… i’m sure it will serve a purpose for some punters… and keep those types of punters well clear of me 🙂

    Based upon Disneyland Paris, I suspect they will choose somewhere with a poor snow record to build their winter wonderland…

  6. TheSkiBug says:

    “I’m liking the sound of improved queue management, particularly in February when nitwit punters insist on letting half the chairs go up empty despite the mile-long queue behind them just because they couldn’t possibly be separated from their boyfriend/mates/mother in law for all of the ten minutes it takes to get to the top”

    Couldn’t agree more! Love the system in many of the American resorts where they make sure every chair is filled and have a single queue for those wanting to get up quicker.

    TheSkiBug Airport Transfers

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