Snow falls like icing sugar, delicately coating the Alps, trees, ground, houses and every surface it touches. The cool air brushes against my cheeks, filling my soul with warmth as I make my way on a new adventure. The sheer beauty of the Alps enthralls your being in its presence, nestled at the base is where one gets to call home, and my oh my home it has been. Greeted with open arms; generosity and kindness overflowed from within the Chalet. After a bittersweet goodbye to India, a quick adventure in ‘the land of fire and ice’ – Iceland -, I found myself here in Switzerland.
They warned me of the weather, and amidst my prior concerns of drowning in the snow, one cannot fathom a winter without it now. From ice chipping the paths around the Chalet, to sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, making snow angels and merely sitting in the depths of snow to one of my personal favourites eating snow, I have been provided with so many incredible opportunities and to live through my first white winter has been a sheer dream.
The first few weeks of the season began with training and what fun this was. We did many different things including hiking, learning about how to maintain the Chalet and the WAGGGS programmes such as Stop the Violence. As the weeks progressed, Christmas rolled round before us and our first event was kick started with Christmas in the Alps. The group, although small, made it a pleasure for us to cater for them. With the taste of our first event, our New Year’s guests came to start their programme, which saw us cater for our biggest group yet! I really enjoy interacting with guests as there is so much to learn from them. Since most of them are from different corners of the earth and all walks of life it’s interesting to converse with each other, hearing their guiding stories and the adventures life has taken them on.
Overall, my experience so far has been life changing, I have grown in ways I didn’t know were possible and my confidence has increased. Living here in a winter wonderland at Our Chalet is an incredible opportunity and working with such a diverse team is a dream… I am already dreading my goodbye.
Sally Groffman, Winter Volunteer – Our Chalet 2017/2018