STAFF: 6 Weeks In – Sarah (Aus)

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The snow is coming down!…..Finally! 

winter vollies   What a start to a season we have had with warm weather and sunshine to match. Our six weeks at Our Chalet so far have been filled with Christmas and New Years celebrations that kept us both excited and on our toes with many guests from all over the world coming to join in on the Christmas cheer!

Despite the lack of snow and lush green mountains surrounding us I decided to ski Christmas Eve and had a ball on the thin layer of snow that did somehow coat the runs of the Adeboden ski area.

Christmas Eve was a magical night starting with a huge Christmas dinner followed by a talent show of various cultural performances and Christmas carols. The dining hall was filled with enthusiasm as the Australian ‘Von Trapp’ family visiting us performed the 12 days of Christmas Aussie style…5 KANGAROOS!

We lit the nikki byron brassChristmas tree in the fireplace and sung more carols before heading off to Church or enjoying a reading of The Christmas Carol in the T-bar downstairs.

Santa Claus must of had difficulty getting to us this year due to the lack of snow however he managed to find all the children staying at Our Chalet evidenced by their showcase of new toys at brunch on Christmas day. Brunch was huge as we had 46 guests over the Christmas period, I cooked 100 eggs and we still managed to run out!

We had only a brief period DSC07514of time to recover after our Christmas celebrations before our next lot of guests arrived to stay with us over the New Year, we were both exhausted and excited!

At the Chalet we try and incorporate as many traditions as we can from our diverse range cultures brought by our guests, Christmas and New Years Eve proved to be perfect example of this in action. One new tradition that I experienced this year was the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes on the chime of midnight for good luck in the coming year. Megan, our Kitchen Coordinator proved to us she could fit 12 grapes in her mouth at once!

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The very bright full moon lit our path through the snow to the magic tree on New Years Eve when we snow-shoed with guests as part of our evening program. It was a beautifully still night and the guests were so friendly and enthusiastic about joining in on the fun. We also had a campfire to close the night and take us through to the New Year. Sharing reflections and our best moments of 2014 was included in our campfire to fit with our theme of the New Year. At midnight we all gathered by the flagpole to watch the stunning display of Adelboden fireworks in town. Our Chalet’s perfect hillside location gave us the best spot in town.

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The Christmas period is in my opinion a fantastic time to visit Our Chalet, you will feel right at home with our traditional family style dinner and friendly atmosphere and enjoy all the joy and activities that come with the snow of the winter season!

We are all currently recovering from the busy festive season and praying for more snow! I am hoping that in the next few weeks I can get in some awesome skiing days with the other vollies and enjoy many more random act of fun….

Tonight we are going to have a party and sleep in a tent in the snow!!

Sarah Schooley (Aus)
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2014-2015

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STAFF: Ballad of a Vollie – Rachael (UK)

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Hi blog readers. I’m Rachael, I’m from the UK and I’m here for the winter season as a volunteer. Life as a vollie is varied and challenging, with different things happening every day. I’ve written this poem to give people interested an idea of what we do on a day to day basis.

Sarah Mel Rachael SWC

Sarah, Mel and Rachael at the Ski World Cup

A Day as a Vollie

My alarm goes off at 7 o’clock
I wake up my roomies with a quick knock knock
I shower and put on my uniform necker and hoodie
And say farewell for the day to our staff house Stockli

As vollies our days are rarely the same
If we’re on programme there can be a hike, onsite day or game
Off to the woodcarvers, sledging or even bbq in the snow
Our guests can also give skiing or snowboarding a go

For those on guest services breakfast helps our visitors to start their day
To get it ready in time we put coffee on straight away
A full stomach and caffeine boost is good for our guests
To allow them to enjoy their day of activities to the best

As our guests leave for activities we put things back on the shelves
Next up is morning meeting where we discover today’s plan for ourselves
Sometimes we play games or have a laugh
But mostly it’s a chance to discuss things with all staff

The vollie on duty shares out all jobs and tasks
Whether it’s shovelling snow or finding ski masks
We spend a fair amount of time in the laundry room
Or sweeping the floor with our trusty broom

Cleaning is a well planned task we all do our share of
It can be hard work but it’s a labour of love
There’s red cloths and cleaner for those cleaning the loo
But for everything else the gloves are yellow and the cleaner is blue

It’s very important to clean rooms and make beds
Because it gives our guests and good impression and somewhere to rest their heads
There’s sheets, duvet covers, towels and pillows
We also dust and clean mirrors and windows

It’s our job to prepare lunch for everyone else who working
Usually it’s left-overs or treats that are lurking
We all sit together and discuss our day so far
Or talk about things that to others seem quite bizarre

After lunch we usually have two hours of break time
Where we complete staff challenges like writing poems that barely rhyme
There’s always a chance to play with our cat Skippy
Or if it’s snowed enough we can sledge – yippee!

We prepare dinner which is often an authentic swiss meal
There’s salad to make, meat to cook and veg to peel
We put all the plates, glasses and food in their place
And our guests start the meal by singing a grace

After dinner we may run a campfire with songs or chants
Or an international evening with a variety of stories and dance
Everyone loves a chance to swap badges and pins
Or a games night of challenges where only one team wins

Every day at the Chalet is different and it’s a very special place to be
For 3 months it’s home for the rest of the vollies and me
It can be a challenge but it’s always a laugh
So why haven’t you applied to join our team of staff?

Rachael (UK)
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2014-2015

STAFF: The Ski World Cup – Mel (AUS)

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The World Ski Cup for Slalom and Giant Slalom, is held in Adelboden each year.  The town of Boden, which is right next to Adelboden, during this time, turns into a sea of white marquees, people, and a mix of mud and snow.  Our morning of the 10th of January, the first day of the World Cup was spent doing our mid-term evaluations and general discussions about how our time here was and what we think could be improved and what was already perfect.  We completed all our jobs of cleaning and cooking in record time, and hence we were able to have the afternoon off.  Jen gave us a lift down to the Ski World Cup in the Van, and we spent the afternoon there.  It’s needless to say that we were highly excited by the free hats/beanies… and free sunglasses… and more free beanies… and free flags… you get the idea.  We were able to watch some of the races, and the best places to stand were actually on the hill in the free areas.

IMG_0521v2 We headed back to the Chalet about 3.45, Jen picked us up in the van again.  It was lovely no to have to walk back up the hill, although the hill from Boden is definitely easier than the hill from Adelboden!  We were supposed to be going out for a staff social night, for night sledging, but unfortunately the run was closed due to little snow and bad winds.  So, instead of having an early dinner, we had it at the normal time of 6 pm.  It was leftovers, so it was an easy set up and clear up.  After dinner some of us headed into town to celebrate the one weekend of the year where Adelboden actually has a night life!IMG_0540

The second day of the World Cup it snowed all morning.  It wasn’t until after lunch at about 12.30, Charlotte, Danielle (and Olivia – the Rainbows Mascot), Bryon and I convinced Katrina to drive us down to the World Cup.  We were sent with a list of freebies to acquire… and we did not disappoint!  We wandered around and gathered our freebies, though some were not expected and other we couldn’t aquire.  We had some photos taken at the Co-op tent, and got some free soup, got some free cheese and lip balm from the cheese man, a beanie from some company and a jersey from Oester Sport.  The latter we had signed by some skiers… not entirely sure who they were though!!  Although I do have their names to look them up!

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We only stayed for about an hour, before messaging Katrina very nicely and asking her to come and get us again.  On the way back we passed Sarah and Victoria who were geocaching, although they were wearing their free beanies from the previous day!  When we got home we sorted out our ‘stash’, we had ended up with a lot, I mean a lot of Caffe Latte’s (they are like iced coffee).  It was kind of free Caffe Latte’s for all!

We had also made it back just in time for Chloe’s Sunday Sugar! It was her personal creation… and even though she didn’t trust herself we all trusted her! The closest thing I can liken it to is sticky date pudding without the dates.  She had also whipped cream and made a caramel sauce for topping.  It was extremely yummy and the caramel sauce has been used as toast topping for the couple of days after!

Mel O’Brien (AUS)
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2014-2015

For a link to Mel’s personal blog click here