A seasonnaire’s lockdown life
How have you spent your Covid-19 lockdown life? Some people have worked continually throughout, some have home-schooled their children, some have developed new cooking skills, some have redecorated their entire house and garden, some have improvised their exercise routine, and some have taken some much-needed relaxation time.
And the really intrepid have done them all! Our guest blogger Cookie talks about his seasonnaire’s lockdown life, and shares his changing Alps scenery with us all.
We all experience the same thing in so many different ways
The global situation over the past few months has flipped everyone’s lives upside down, but none of us will have experienced things in the same way.
Have you continued to work, or stayed home? Do you have a house with a garden and space to play, or are you in a small apartment and cannot get outside? Are you alone or do you have people you live with? Are you still into, or have you had enough of, quizzes?
We’ve all seen the same media news, listened to the numbers of Coronavirus cases from across the UK and compared it to other parts of the world, and clapped the NHS together but, as with many situations, we’ve all had our own things going on, and our own ways of dealing with things.
Everyone’s story will be different through this same united situation.
This is my story (the short version!)
Only feet allowed!
I am lucky enough to call Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps my home during the winter and, when the lockdown came, there was nowhere I would rather have been.
Rules and procedure were different in France to the UK, but the same message rang through – stay home, stay safe. So we did.
Our busy French village went from a classic packed-out ski resort in the middle of the winter season to a snow-filled ghost town, within only a few days. Our village was like the pictures you may have seen of capital cities and public areas around the world – deserted in lockdown life. What should have been the hype of winter emptied almost instantly. Shops, bar, restaurants and every public space closed straight away. Tourists and seasonal staff left quickly. Anyone like us that stayed, stayed home. The resort went quiet.
It didn’t take long for the lockdown rules to be made clear to us – we could not ski tour, ride bikes, climb, or do any of the usual mountain sports we would being doing. We had one hour a day when we could go out, and we must remain close to home – basically just use your feet!
We went on daily walks and runs to get out of the house and found whatever we could to pass the time – and keep active of course. Have a look at the video below for a short montage of three months worth of time fillers as the lockdown wentt from super strict to slowly opening back up!
We actually went ‘out out’!
I’m writing this at the end of a monumental day – we went to a restaurant for lunch for the first time since this has all begun! The restaurant was in the open air and quiet, with only two other tables occupied in a place that should have seated 80 people!
We sat well apart from our friends we were meeting, masks on until we ate, anti-bac gel used regularly, and contactless payments all round. An odd scenario but we were thankful to be able to order food and drinks with friends again!
Usually at the end of the winter we head south and begin summer sports – usually the day the lifts close. Because of this situation we’ve seen the snow melt and the ground underneath grow green again. We’ve seen the animals taking over the place once again – marmots and chamois are out in their masses and cows are being moved back across the once snow-covered fields.
I know how lucky we are to have been ‘stuck’ here through this whole experience, especially during such a warm sunny spring – my seasonnaire’s lockdown life hasn’t been too tricky. I hope you have all stayed safe and well in lockdown, and we all look forward to happier and easier times ahead.
Cookie has contributed lots of articles to Holiday Staff over the last few months, so fill your boots with more of his seasonnaire wisdom!
My life couldn’t be more active! As a full-time instructor, coach & trainer, I thrive seeing others enjoy sports as much as I do.
My passions are windsurfing, skiing and snowboarding, and I love trying to inspire people to get active through social channels (and some polite peer pressure of course!).
I’m into all kinds of sports – basically anything that gets me outside and moving!
A particular love is speed-riding – like low-level parachuting with skis on, high speed skimming across the snow.
Find me a sport I haven’t tried and I’d love to give it a go!
My seasonal journey began straight from college, and is now split into two seasons.
Through the winter I live in Alpe d’Huez, working as ski and snowboard instructor and off-piste guide for the local ESF school. I teach everything from beginners to advanced and off-piste on both skis and a board. I started winters with the simple love of being in the mountain and riding.
I have done a wide mix of jobs over the years that allowed me to ski and board a lot – bars, hotels, chalets, repping and operations management. It’s amazing the people you meet through the years and opportunities that arise.
My skills were improving over the seasons, particularly in back-country and off-piste. I then became friends with the director of a local ski school while in the ski resort Flaine, who encouraged me to work for him the following year, to train and become an instructor with his school. The rest, as they say, is history (thanks again Theo!).
Through my winter life I’ve also been lucky enough to hook up with a number of brands as a sponsored athlete and brand ambassador. Huge thanks to Whitedot Ski, Planks Clothing, Cassette Optics and OLFI action-cameras for all your help and support.
The summer sees me working as a Resort Manager for Neilson Holidays. I’ve worked summers with them since 2006, across Turkey, Egypt and Greece in a variety of roles, leading me to now head up the operations in one of our Beach Club resorts. Our centres include windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddling, biking, tennis, fitness, waterskiing & wakeboarding, and kids clubs. The last few summers I’ve been in the Cosmos Hotel, Vassiliki, a mecca for watersports with some epic biking and fitness facilities available too!
If anyone is looking for advice or to chat through options for work and overseas life, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or via my Instagram feed at @cookiesport