Before the 4 month season of skiing, snowshoeing, sunshine and excitement (perhaps the odd cheeky grappa) kicks off, the enthusiastic winter team come together for a 12 day training period. It is a privilege to spend this time at Haus Valentin, the one chalet Collett’s offer in Badia, which I’m sure our guests will agree, is a wonderful introduction to such a fantastic Dolomiti superski experience.
What instantly brings the team together is the shared love for people, winter activities and the enjoyment of hard, yet rewarding work. To see so many returned faces amongst the group is a sure sign that taking part in one season, whether it be summer or winter, is just not enough for most. After a lovely evening spent at Tom Collett’s house, the convoy sets off in the early hours for a two day drive towards the mountains, giving everybody a chance to chat and exchange stories as to what ultimately brought them together for the experience ahead.
Arriving just before dark, the group enjoy the famous Enrosadira on the Fanes Massif – the returners smile at the thought of being back and the new faces feel a sense of honour to call this place their home for the next 4 months.
A traditional Italian meal to settle us in, we prepare for the training ahead. With little time before early bird week begins, the training is split between indoor and outdoor days. These indoor days, full of group interaction and presentations, bring to light the importance of chalet upkeep, office hour and the general home from home experience we, as a team, aim to create for our guests. When the crisp evenings hit, our hosts alternate to practise their high quality cooking skills whilst the staff help prepare, serve and keep on top of the dishes! Outdoor days, although minimal, give the group a chance to get their bearings of the area and familiarise themselves with some of the snowshoe routes and ski itineraries. For some people, including myself, skiing is a relatively new experience and so heading out to find their ‘ski legs’ is an important part of training – something that I’m sure everybody can relate to as a beginner once themselves.
As the days pass, the lifts across Badia and Corvara open as one or two tiny black dots turn into five or six as they zigzag their way down the piste. The weather so far has been kind, with stunning blue skies and not a breath of wind, but the upcoming forecast suggests a big snowfall which will no doubt create a winter wonderland, just in time for Christmas and the long-awaited arrival of our first guests of the season. Our teams will be split into their chalets in the next few days to set up and get the place ready – we hope to see you all next week to get the season started off with a snow-falling, mince pie eating bang!
Buon viaggio tutti! Have a safe journey.
Collett's blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle.