And what’s that I hear in the distance there? Singing? The legendary fat lady, perhaps? OK maybe not quite yet, though if the current temperatures continue we might have to bring her forward a bit. With the zero isotherm at nearly 4000m this season’s days are surely numbered.
In theory resort is open for business until the end of April, but in practice most of the tour ops will boot the last of their guests around mid-month, make their staff do completely pointless cleaning tasks like scrub the backs of fridges with toothbrushes and then switch their attention (and their charter flights) to the much more lucrative business of ferrying fat chav families to all-inclusive beach holiday destinations in third world countries where they spend a fortnight getting third degree burns and complaining about the food.
The majority of our British seasonnaires will be sardined into coaches for the 24 hour trek back to Blighty in a mere two weeks or thereabouts, so most of them have more or less lost what little interest they had in work by this point and are spending their time drinking, going to end of season parties and sitting around the snowpark wearing this year’s resort hoody and working on their goggle tans.
The resort hoody is a vital seasonnaire accoutrement, designed specifically to show all your less adventurous friends what a cool party animal you are and make sure you’re instantly identifiable as a ‘gappie’ come freshers’ week next autumn. Come on, it’s at least marginally better than parading around in £80 worth of Jack Wills gear with ‘seasonnaire’ plastered across it when you’ve never had so much as a paper round and wouldn’t recognise a ski if you saw one.
The genuine resort hoody is adorned with your very own name (along with that of everyone else, so people can see how many amazing new friends you’ve made) in very small print, usually just next to a seam so it’s nearly illegible. If you worked in Verbier or Val d’Isere you’ll need a microscope to read any of the print at all, something which probably comes as a relief to certain people who were otherwise going to have a very hard time explaining their humourous nicknames to their mothers.
The resort hoody business used to be all sewn up by a company called Jekyll and Hyde, based in Meribel and run by a bloke reassuringly known as Dodgy Phil. I’m not entirely sure what happened to them, though there were dark rumours of some people making off with cash while other people went home hoodyless. Suffice to say that they are no longer a driving force in the alpine souvenir clothing sector, which has now fragmented into many tiny pieces.
Hoody provision in 2Alpes has long been the prerogative of staff at Smokey Joe’s, which has the advantage of being a proper business with actual premises in resort, so if you have a problem you can go and pester the person responsible. This year that would be Helen – serial seasonnaire and board bum, newly sponsored this season by Imperium Snowboards and proud owner of the world’s only s-shaped collarbone.
Seasonnaire website www.natives.com wasn’t backward about getting in on the act and supplies hoodies across the Alps, though their rep in 2Alpes appears to be failing miserably to compete with Smokey’s. Meanwhile endofseasonhoodies.com offer a whole raft of colours and designs to the confused purchaser and Switchfive Seasonnaire, brainchild of a former First Choice rep, seem to have disappeared without a trace after two seasons.
But possibly the best resort souvenir-wear comes from the man behind the Courchevel Enquirer, long-running samizdat stylee seasonnaire scandal sheet, who does a nice line in culturejamming trademark spoofs rather than just the usual ‘insert name of resort here’ routine. (Note to Alex – you may feel that a free one is appropriate thanks for the blatant plug. Though probably not.)
Wherever they come from, it’s a poor seasonnaire who doesn’t go home with this year’s resort shirt. Overdraft limits may be exceeded and medical bills ignored, long-suffering parents tapped up for funds and new skis sent home wrapped in cardboard and gaffer tape, but everyone on that coach from hell will be sporting a brand new hoody and ridiculous goggle marks.