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'Mature' couple looking to do first season 18/19

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey!

We are looking for advice, tips, pointers, things to avoid, etc in our quest to do our first season 2018/19. Our mission is simple - pick up a 'chalet host couple' role for the winter to ease our way into VanLife and travelling thru the summer - and repeat!
I'd like to think we had a good skill set, but keep seeing prompts for qualified chefs and cooking courses. I've been in hospitality as a manager and area manager all my career (but no chef experience per se) and my husband is a GasSafe engineer, former mechanic, and super practical. We are 43 and 54 respectively.
Any hints and tips folks please? Where to apply, who to avoid (!), do I need a course, when do we start looking? Or pointers to relevant boards/websites, all gratefully received.

cheers Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not sure about chalet host, but I was taught by a Brit in Andorra who had gone out for a season and was still there 17 years later. In summer he's a plumber. Am quite sure your skills are required in any ski resort, just perhaps not as chalet hosts.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We stayed in an Esprit chalet about 6/7/8 years ago in La Rosiere. They had a middle aged couple working for them. The woman was host in a very small chalet and her husband was a general maintenance man. She had no customers that week so helped our host out. I don’t think she had any qualifications but her cakes were much better than our host’s. They were really enjoying themselves, so Esprit could be worth a try. It’s a while since we’ve stayed in a chalet but I thought they ran training courses just before the season starts and they do cooking from set recipes.
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Have a look around this site

http://www.natives.co.uk/
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Depends on who you want to work for as a chalet host, a lot of the smaller independent ones if they're not looking for a proepr chef like their host cooks to have been through one of the chalet specific cookery course such as Orchards.

I'd recommend you do too as they really do teach you how to efficiently manage your time menu planning, preparing, cooking and budgetary control for the chalet.

If you want to go for one of the more main stream operators then you have little say in these things you will be given the recipes to follow and ingredients to use.

A lot of chalet host positions come with the "usual package" (accommodation, lift pass, ski hire).

If you want a little more freedom and possibly more time skiing/boarding then you might want to consider other options for work (bars, transfer driving, maintenance) and a lot of these roles come without a package and I'd echo what others are saying sort your accommodation early!
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I worked for Silverski when I was 40 (in 05/06) and they liked the maturer types to run their chalets. Apply to them direct. They certainly didn't need formal qualifications - they just accepted what you said about yourself. I did a 10 week Cordon Bleu diploma before i went out-I was thinking I needed to brush up my skills, but then ended up as a ski host (not that this is permitted these days) rather than the main cook. The Aussie lads I worked with who did most of the cooking did not have formal qualifications. If you are a confident, enthusiastic dinner party cook, it is perfectly possible to be a chalet host. Bear in mind the cookery budgets are tiny and you have to manage them. Its hard work for rubbish money, but if you are organised it is a fab thing to do. If you actually do think you want to apply to work for Silverski, message me and I'll fill you in on some matters that may help.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Ricoshay, most chalet companies will jump at the chance to employ you guys as you have great skills.
If you have a specific resort in mind then google independent chalet companies in that resort and target them.
Most Chalet cooking is about being organised, it's the same 6 x meals every week so true chef skills not required just keen cooking skills and a bit of life experience. (unless you go really high end then they want 'proper chefs').
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I worked for Ski Beat in Meribel 6 years ago now, and two of the chalets were run by couples in their late 30s / 40s. One of the couples were in their seventh season. Also that season, during managers’ training pre season a chalet couple were there to cook for us and they were in their 50s. They all absolutely loved the job.

As said there are chalet cookery courses you can go on if that’s the route you want to go for. The chalets I ran all had a set menu so it was something the hosts got quickly used to throughout the season. There was also a six person chalet which had one host and a backup who served as the van driver for the guests to get to the slopes plus general maintenance duties.

I’d say your biggest “problem” may not be in finding roles but finding accommodation that suits you out there. Sharing accom with teens / early twenties doing a season isn’t likely to be a great combo, and the amount of chalets with live in accommodation was pretty low. But worth a look.

Recruitment in generally in the summer so there’s plenty of time to do a cookery course after getting a job offer. Beforehand would be more helpful for the job offer though, obviously.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Cheers folks, some great advice!Have had a mooch around Natives and will keep close to it and Esprit, who I think recruit jointly with a couple of other companies.
Perty - SilverSki is new to me, will check them out, thanks
Dav - Heard a few good things about SkiBeat now, deffo one to send a speculative CV to I think.
247 Snowman - I hope you're right lol!

I think I might try to do a few shifts in the kitchen at a local hostelry to build my skills..

Also, if we need to, we have a small Moho we can live in Happy
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Couple running a chalet for Skiword herel, older than you guys. i have met them and they did tell me some of their background, slipped my mind though (I'm even older Shocked ). Don't think it was a relevant as yours. Worth trying Skiworld too,
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
+1 for SkiWorld.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We stayed with rushadventures in Les Gets a coupe of weeks ago, its just a small operation (3 chalets) but it was run perfectly, so was talking to the owners and as to how they pick their hosts each season, and they used to do it just based on CV's but they soon found out that some people were over estimating their cooking skills, so now they fly the couples out pre-season to stay in one of the chalets then get them each to cook for the others, and this has really worked for them.

The Chalets have a set menu and recipes and ingredients are clearly laid out for them, but the hosts still have to prepare and cook three courses for their guests each evening.

Cooking is probably the biggest part of a chalet hosts job, but having an approachable personality helps too Very Happy

I guess there are quite a few small independents who are looking for reliable hosts, but definitely improve your kitchen skills between now and then!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
My wife and I worked for ski best 13 yes ago. We had a great time. We were 30 and 32 at the time. No formal cooking qualifications and plenty of other more mature couples running the chalets.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
2 of my friends did a 'mature' ski season and they got around the chef issue by both attending an alpine cooking course. I'm not sure where/how/£ etc but basically it taught them how to cook the kinds of dishes that the chalet guests would expect. They practiced hard at home and when they presented their meals to the chalet operators, the operators were most impressed and employed them despite neither having any formal cheffing experience.

That said they went out to resort full of enthusiasm and came back never wanting to set foot in a chalet ever again. Just saying.
I think some young people working chalets benefit from a bit of blissful ignorance. I would wonder whether being a more mature chalet host might make it harder for you to accept some of the BS conditions that come with it.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Join Facebook groups based around the resorts you want to go to - I'm on a Morzine page and there are loads of job opps informally advertised on almost a daily basis.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
hello!
Just on the cooking thing - I'm a confident cook, host parties, can step in and help the chefs in the businesses I work in - I just don't have any qualifications or 'proper' experience. The fixed menu makes life pretty straightforward, and I've chatted with a lot of the chalet teams the we've been over about how they operate, but it does seem like a lot of adverts specify 'chef', with some saying don't apply if you haven't been one!
I'm on the Morzine page - that's one busy FB page lol!! And yes, there does seem to be quite a bit of casual work. OH would be nervous about taking a flyer on it, I think having something set up before we pack in our respective jobs would be sensible (this time around!!)
Will check out Ski World too, thank you Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Ricoshay, when we went even though Mrs M was a "very good dinner party" cook she decided to do a course and was amazed at the tricks they taught to make life easier at altitude, you're cooking 6 dinner parties a week for the best part of 16 weeks plus breakfast and tea.

A quick example is afternoon cakes, make them with yoghurt using the pot to then measure the other ingredients (olive Oil, flour, sugar)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Exact same ages ourselves and doing a season.
I need a new liver!
my advice would be to start looking from March and talking to potential employers, earlier you get accepted the earlier you can get half decent accommodation.
from what I've seen we have made the right decision to get paid hourly.
It gives us so much more freedom and ski time.
the chalet hosts work fecking hard, personally I couldn't do it, in general be prepared to work hard but at least we can walk away after a hard day.
with most chalet roles you could be living with a load of other people.
also depending on resort be prepared to spend stupid money on accommodation which even a London property salesman wouldn't dare call cosy!

After a couple of months we have had a lot of ups and downs but things have settled and we have made so many friends and had some great days skiing and apres.
only thing we would change is better accommodation!
feel free to ask any questions, happy to help.
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@Ricoshay,
we are in morzine, I have a great job and it's exactly how it was explained to me beforehand so I'm not looking extra jobs.
my partner though uses the facebook page and is snowed under with work!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@hawkwind
thank u - I have PM'd you x
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@hawkwind
thank u - I have PM'd you x
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