My first season in Méribel
April 28, 2023
Here we are, the winter season is over, my bags are ready, I will leave Méribel with a heavy heart and a head full of memories.
I have just spent 5 intense months in the heart of the 3 Valleys as a tourist advisor at Méribel Tourisme.
Because a season in Méribel cannot be easily described, it has to be lived, I would like to share with you my thoughts about this crazy season.
Who am I?
- First name : Océanne
- Nickname : Océ
- Age: 25 years old
- Origin: Champagne-Ardenne
- Job : Tourist advisor
- Where : Méribel Tourisme
- Resort: Méribel, in the heart of the 3 Valleys
I always wanted to do a winter season, but I couldn’t because of my studies. As soon as I finished my master’s degree in tourism and events, I took the plunge!
After two summer seasons in sunny Corsica, in the tourism sector, I wanted to try a winter season. I only know the mountains in summer. So I wanted to try the experience.
An interview, a contract signature and 580 kilometres later, here I am in Méribel!
Why did I choose to do my season in Méribel?
1It’s simple, I wanted to be close to the “must” in terms of resorts, namely the 3 Valleys, the largest ski area in the world. Méribel’s offer was very attractive.
For its international aspectMéribel is the flagship resort of the Alps, one of the most international too, the most English one for sure! To work on your English during a season, you can’t refuse.
For the Savoie regionI did my master in Chambéry. I loved this area and its gastronomy, of course! I discovered a lot of resorts but I never discovered Méribel.
For the ChampionshipsThe resort was hosting the Alpine World Ski Championships in February. For me, it was a golden opportunity to be present during this internationally renowned event and to have a front row seat.
My arrival in Méribel
November 26, 2022, the day I arrived at Méribel-Mottaret at an altitude of 1,750 metres. It was night, the resort was deserted and it was time to see my accommodation for the season.
Once my belongings were deposited in my humble palace, it was time to meet other seasonal staff who had already arrived. What a relief to see them! We spent the evening getting to know each other before starting our first day at Méribel Tourisme.
Vincent, alias Bibi, southerner and newcomer to Méribel, shares with you his first feeling when he arrived in the resort: “I was very very, very cold!
My first steps in the resort
November 28th 2022, time for serious things! This is our first day. The week which follows is devoted to the discovery of the resort and induction into Méribel Tourisme. The team of the reception service for the winter season is composed of a manager, two advisers and eight seasonal staff, four of whom are returning and four new.
To allow all the teams to get to know each other, the management decided to organise a staff day before the opening of the resort. A day dedicated to interdepartmental communication with a morning training session and 100% fun activities in the afternoon: escape game, Formula 1 simulator and bowling. A great way to start the season in the best conditions. Let’s go!
The opening of the resort
Let's go for my first winter season
Saturday 10th December 2022 is the long awaited opening of the resort! We have been looking forward to seeing the resort alive, with tourists, restaurants and bars open. The season can finally begin! To celebrate this, the band Synapson was present on the snow front of Mottaret to give us a very nice opening night. A great season ahead!
That’s it, two months have just passed, we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and time is flying by, it’s awesome!
Generally speaking, our job as holiday advisors consists in welcoming, helping and informing the clients who pass through the door of the Méribel and Mottaret tourist office. We guide them in the best way possible so that they can have a pleasant stay in the resort.
Our role is to make them want to come, to promote the resort and to answer their desires and expectations. We have to be the showcase of Méribel Tourism and to answer a very specific demand.
We also have more specific missions to complete. We monitor the number of visitors, we work on communication tools, we deal with clients’ complaints and we update information about the resort (open slopes, lifts, weather, activities and events).
How can I sum up my job?
To be a good holiday advisor, you have to be patient and a good listener. Dynamism and curiosity are welcome. Bibi adds that you have to like people, be empathetic, have physical and mental stamina, have a good sense of humour and be able to put your ego aside when necessary.
If you are interested in the job, you must be friendly and smiley (that goes without saying), adapt quickly to all situations and be responsive to the unexpected (there are often some!).
Once we have our feet on the ground, we must act as a showcase and know how to be the image of the resort.
A season is to be lived with 100% commitment
In the reception department, the atmosphere is relaxed and we don’t hesitate to help each other according to our skills: languages spoken, assignments, knowledge of the terrain or affinities. I think we have created a nice harmony within the team during the season. And we really needed it in the more difficult moments!
Fabienne, seasonal employee at the reception of Méribel Tourisme for five summers and three winters, has seen a lot of people pass by behind this counter. We talked together about her feelings about the arrival of new seasonal workers each year and here is what she told me: “They are new personalities who join the team. That’s exactly when you need to have a good dose of flexibility. Our role, as former members, is to pass on what we have learned in a succinct and efficient way because we don’t have much time, once we are caught up in the season. It gives the team a new lease of life! And it teaches us to open up and keep us young and alive.”
The Alpine World Ski Championships
Moments I will never forget
As Fabienne says so well, the season was punctuated by a multitude of happy moments. Whether it was on the slopes, in the restaurant or in the bar after the day’s work, the moments shared gave me a lot of good.
For some seasonal workers, their best moment of the season is more personal, as for Bibi who greatly appreciated the visit of his parents and brother, during a family weekend.
For me, being passionate about the events sector, one of my best moments of the season was the World Ski Championships in February. It was a great event that brought together people from all over the world.
While February was a very tough time at work due to the school holidays, it was also a totally challenging phase that I really enjoyed.
Being on the ground and in action is what I love!
JUST DO IT!
JUST DO IT: this is my message to young (and not so young) people who would like to try a season in Méribel. It is so rewarding. It is a superb professional and human experience, in a more than nice environment. Don’t hesitate for a second!
The winter season in Méribel is for people who like contact and meetings. A season cannot be lived alone.
My three tips for a successful season:
- Tip n°1 : there is no bad weather, there is only bad equipment, so dress well !
- Tip 2: Sunscreen, you’ll need it!
- Tip 3: Get ready to play sports and get moving whether it’s on the slopes, on the trails or in the bars.
They too had their first season in Méribel this winter
What do you like about the seasonal lifestyle?
Coralie (aka Coco) : “Very good question ! I like the ephemeral and intense side of the season.”
Lorenzo (aka Lolo): “To experience the rhythm of the seasons and to be in an incredible setting. The clients come here on holiday, while we work here for several months.”
What do you like here in Méribel?
Coco : “Living in the surrounded by mountains, it’s a setting that calms me down.”
Lolo: “I have a balcony view of Saulire and the Dent de Burgin. I eat facing the mountains, it’s a magnificent setting. To be in one of the 3 Valleys resorts is a chance, as I do a lot of skiing, I’m delighted.”
What do you like about your current job?
Coco: “Sharing what I like in Méribel with people who are passing through and the atmosphere of the team obviously.”
Lolo: “I like the client contact even if it’s not easy every day. We can be confronted with a complicated clientele but we take it in our stride. I also enjoy enriching my knowledge of the region and the destination.”
Bibi: “I’m someone who likes to interact with people and so I like to joke around a lot. The fact of creating a game of communication and humour with the person, I like that.”
What do you like about your daily routine in this first winter season?
Coco: “It’s really fun when you can walk to work on the tracks or ski. Another really nice thing is to be able to ski at lunchtime when the weather allows it. The environment is great, you work in a place where the atmosphere is more like a holiday.
So what's the verdict on your first season in Méribel?
It was a great season at the tourist office, both professionally and personally. I have learnt a lot of skills and I have evolved with some great people, with whom I will stay in touch for sure.
As they say, the mountains win you over.
I’m leaving for new adventures across the Atlantic, heading for Canada for the summer season.
But who knows… if the opportunity arises, I’ll surely be back for the next winter season in Méribel.
Océanne, your holiday advisor.
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