Chalet holidays are a British concept. Arguably started by Erna Low way back when, this uniquely British concept of ski holiday is now the preferred choice for many British skiers, if not the majority. Whilst many skiers will take sole use of a catered chalet for their group, many skiers are also prepared to share a chalet with other guests that they have never met before. This may seem daunting for some but the commonality of skiing ensures a mutual bonhomie and it is responsible for creating many long lasting friendships.
For those new to catered chalets, and indeed even some old hands, here is a list of dos and don’ts:
1. Never wear outdoor shoes inside the chalet and that includes a quick tip toe across the lounge to pick up your forgotten phone. Oh, and never ever ever wear ski boots inside your chalet.
2. The kitchen is solely the domain of the chalet chef. Do not step over the threshold to prepare lunches or snacks. As for snooping in the fridge after a late one due to the munchies this will only leave you with less food for the following morning’s breakfast.
3. Rugby lads/stag dos, sitting naked for the evening meal after a few ales might seem hilarious to you but to an 18 year old gap year student it is not funny in the least and is in fact a criminal offence.
4. Ski boots on the heated ski boot rack should be done up and with the tips of the boots facing upwards. Not only does it assist the longevity of your boots but it also helps everyone to access their boots and ensures that melted snow does not drip into them.
5. Never ever brag about your ski ability at the dining table. As in life, there is always someone out there better than you. In skiing it is impossible to guess who is a decent skier by looking at them. Always keep your powder dry and let your skiing do the talking; many of those that talk a good game do not deliver.
6. Buy beers and spirits and keep these on the balcony to chill for your aperitifs if you are 40 years and upwards or “pre-lash” if you are in your 30s and under.
7. If you are sick, then clear it up. Chalet staff will be none too pleased to deal with your inability to hold your alcohol. It’s common sense and respect for your hosts.
8. Always thank your chalet host after a meal; it goes a long way and ensures they stay motivated to do their best for you. Surly guests will always have a less favourable experience.
9. Never take anything from the chalet that isn’t yours. Amongst the list of missing items we have the usual bathrobes and towels plus the odd board game. Of the more obscure we have lightbulbs, tv remotes, video players and even a flat screen tv!
10. Tipping is part of the chalet culture. It is customary to leave a cash donation on your bedside table the morning of departure or even giving to your host in person. Obviously the amount depends on how much you spent on your trip but for a mid-market catered chalet around €10-20 pp is about right.