Here it is! Part 2 of my bookish wanderings to Courchevel. If you missed part 1, check it out here first, and then come back and read this post. 😉
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a bit of trouble finding books set precisely in Courchevel, so I selected a few books which were based loosely in that area, or in the realm of chalet girls and seasonnaires.
Clamped, by David Blackwell
This was the book I was most excited about when I was picking books for this adventure. It seemed like the most real and not so much an easy chick-lit read as some of the others.
I was very disappointed! Although it started off well at the beginning, it just got really weird and in the end, I didn’t even finish reading it, which is really rare for me!
The depictions of the vast difference between the living conditions of the poor chalet staff, who share a dismally small room, have very poor working conditions and long hours, for very little pay; and the immensely rich foreigners (mostly Russians and Brits) who have decadent chalets in the resort, really hit the mark. I could absolutely relate to the chalet staff, desperate to get their chores done so they could enjoy a few hours on the slopes. But then it all took a very strange turn! Suddenly there was lots of very bizarre sex scenes, gang crime and whatever else I missed by not finishing the book!
Too strange for me!
My rating: 1/5
Maggie Does Meribel, by Nicola Doherty
Although the resort of Meribel was just 15 minutes from where we were living and working, this book was probably the most distant from our experience as seasonnaire staff in Courchevel. This book follows Maggie as she goes to Meribel for her first-ever ski holiday, with her boyfriend and some of his friends. She is very excited at the prospect, but everything does not go according to plan.
This was a nice easy read, ideal as a holiday book for your next ski trip. Very much chick-lit, which is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed it. The après-ski and nightlife in Meribel were perfectly described and the image of the ski instructors swaggering around like gods was spot on!
All in all, not the most amazing book you will ever read, but if you are looking for something nice and easy for your next holiday, this is ideal.
My rating: 2/5
Confessions of a Chalet Girl, by Lorraine Wilson
This was probably the most relatable book in terms of my experience in Courchevel, (even though it is set in the Swiss resort of Verbier) from the awful seasonnaire parties and nightlife to dealing with difficult guests and navigating roommate dynamics.
Holly embarks on her ski season on a bit of a whim, without knowing anyone out there and soon discovers that it is not all about fun on the slopes and doing a bit of work in the chalet afterwards. One of her main struggles is feeling like she fits in with the boisterous seasonnaire crowd, whose sole purpose seems to be getting blind drunk at every possible opportunity.
“Fun. If she heard that word once more she swore she’d walk out into the snow.”
As someone who doesn’t drink, and whose university partying days are quite far away now, I definitely struggled with that aspect of working as chalet staff. It seems to be a given that the main purpose of a ski season is to drink and party as much as possible. Maybe I’m not very “fun”, but that really isn’t my scene.
This is another nice easy read, and there are sequels so you can continue to follow Holly’s adventures!
My rating: 2/5
Follow Me! Tales of a Human Piste Map, by Louise Warman
More chick-lit. It seems to be the only kind of book for this destination, but oh well!
Another easy read, showing a different perspective of seasonnaire work, which I hadn’t really heard of before, ski guiding. It sounds great! You spend your days skiing with guests and helping them not to get lost on the mountain. Of course, there is also the obligatory chalet work as well, entertaining the guests and helping in the kitchen.
It was good fun, light and funny.
My rating: 2/5