A is for … arse. Yours, if you make the noob mistake of getting lashed every night then eating fry-up and going back to bed in the morning because you’re too hungover to ski.
B is for … bus drivers. Usually either fat, pissed and objectionable (UK variety) or less fat, pissed and convinced that it’s possible to drive a coach using only your feet (French variety). First rep to persuade one to make a toilet stop wins a prize.
C is for … cake. Strictly for the punters, unless you want to end up as large as they are. Which you don’t, because you can’t afford the necessary new trousers.
D is for … Daddy. And his trust fund/Amex/credit card, if you’re working in Val d’Isere. Remember to spend as much of it as possible, preferably in ways which keep everyone else in beers/work. It’s probably the only sort of redistrubution of wealth we’re likely to get for the forseeable future.
E is for … expense. Lots of it, mostly uncalled for. 1200€ for that pyjama suit, they certainly saw you coming. Pass the gaffer tape, someone.
F is for … first lifts. Not that you’re going to see much of those, since you’ll have your head down a toilet. This includes your day off, though your motives for it might not be the same as they are the rest of the week.
G is for … gaffer tape. That new jacket, board bag and gloves will set you back about 500€. A roll of gaff tape, on the other hand, comes in at under a tenner. That’s a saving of 490€, coincidentally about the price of a workers’ season pass.
H is for … hotel staff. Underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, and gernerally treated like cattle. Never mind, people, you can apply for ski tech next year and drift about annoying the kitchen all season.
I is for … ice. Which works a lot better in drinks than it does underfoot.
J is for … Jagermeister. Foul Germanic herbal concoction generally added to beer with the aim of making it taste even worse than it usually does. No, I have no idea either.
K is for … kicker. Which is what you’re going to be restricted to during the first week or so while your slavemasters deliberate as to whether or not you deserve the lift pass they told you was part of your ‘competitive remuneration package’. Build it right outside their hotel just to piss them off (but bear in mind that they won’t be the ones dismantling it later on).
L is for … linen. Expect to spend Saturday afternoons counting sheets and running round all the other chalets in resort trying to find out a) whose delivery you’ve got and b) who’s got yours.
M is for … managers. Lots of whom saw a ski resort for the first time last December when they turned up as chalet assistant, and have as much clue about management as you do about how to save the Eurozone.
N is for … nannies. Who arrive in December unable to ski then leave again in April three sizes bigger, heavily in debt and still unable to ski. Why they do it s a complete mystery.
O is for … one-piece. As sported by seasonnaires trying to be ironic, your Dad circa 1985 and elderly French people who generally ski a lot better than you do. Allegedly making a comeback (onesies, not elderly French skiers), though we hope not.
P is for … punter. It is your job to be nice to these people regardless of how rude, objectionable or totally ridiculous they see fit to be. Get into the swing of it by buying the Daily Mail. When you can read all of it without screaming obscenities and setting fire to either it or yourself you are probably ready for the challenge.
Q is for … queue. And if you’re in one, you’re doing something wrong. Come on, you’ve been here since December, are you telling us you haven’t worked out how to queue-jump by February half term?
R is for … resort hoody. If you buy only one item of new gear this season (as if), it has to be this one. How else will all the other freshers know how cool you are?
S is for … sex. Have it if you must, but remember that there were about five other couples ahead of you for the jacuzzi.
T is for … tips. To make the most of these you need to be a chalet host, preferably working on your own. Also helps if you’re blonde and have big tits, don’t ask me why.
U is for … Ugg boots. In which case never mind the tips, T is for trench foot.
V is for … vitamins. You can forget about these altogether, as your diet is likely to consist of hotel staff food, leftovers or Bien Vu pasta, depending on your job. You can deal with the effects of scurvy after the season.
W is for … wine. Generously supplied by your employer, technically for your guests rather than you, but we’ll gloss over that inconvenient detail. Can become almost drinkable after the fourth glass.
X is for … x-ray. Remember, when posting them on Facebook, that your mother is likely to be less impressed than the stick-in-the-mud mates you left doing jobs which pay actual money in a bid to fund overpriced degree courses. Possibly tell her first.
Y is for … yoghurt cake. Possibly the nastiest cake in the world, and completely unknown outside the world of UK-run ski chalets. Paradoxically the best sort to make because a) it’s incredibly quick and easy and b) you won’t be tempted to eat it.
Z is for … zookeeping. Welcome to the world of resort hotel management.