After a prompt morning routine, my colleagues and I bundle out into mountain air so fresh it would put any Lenor product to shame. Heads are cleared and thoughts can be turned to the coming day: there may be snot and there may be tears. But above all, there will be good times for the children of Esprit.
For this particular Snow Ranger, the shift of choice is the classic Take-To, where children ascend from the depths of the locker room to the glistening piste that lies a short walk and an elevator ride away. When boots are securely fastened, jackets done up and Buffs firmly in place, I am ready to take my gang of eight excited Sprites to their ski instructor.
Armed with an abundance of hastily learnt repeat-after-me songs, I direct my raucous rabble to their skis and play group games with them and any other arrivals until the instructors arrive. After seeing them ski off, I can’t help but feel a twang of upset that I myself cannot be a part of the lessons that ESF provide.
Fortunately, the very effective methods of suppressing these feelings include napping or skiing until I get to return to the piste in two hours time. Depending on the rota, you may be skiing with the children themselves. A rock hard set of core muscles and bulging biceps can be expected as children are picked up and set straight. The skills of skiing backwards and skate-stepping can also be honed as stragglers may need extra encouragement or helping along.
Up next is the Take-Back where an army of pink-bib-clad children rides the magic carpet and then is directed back to the chalet for their supervised lunch. Amongst a flurrying of removing bibs, jackets, boots and salopettes, groups are assembled. These are then taken to the designated lunch chalets where Chalet Hosts have prepared a feast, most of which will end up in hungry tummies after perhaps a brief detour to the tabletop and around smiling faces.
An afternoon can include leading Snow Club, in which children are provided with afternoon activities such as arts and crafts, sledging and games in the colourful and densely toy-populated childcare rooms. Before heading outside, the rainbow explosion that will have occurred must be tidied away. Pie points are offered as a tempting incentive to tidy and these can be put on a childcare staff member of choice, who at the end of the week will suffer a soapy/creamy/snowy/whatever-is-lying-around pie to the face in front of all the guests.
For nourishment, we rely on High Tea where we supervise the evening meal for the children and eat with them. This is an excellent chance to befriend them and ensure they put their Pie Points on someone who is not you, as well as baffling them with riddles.
Evening entertainment for a Snow Ranger can be the running of Cocoa Club where children are entertained with a range of planned activities like bowling, bum-boarding, and other group fun and games.
Overall, the life of a Snow Ranger involves hard work with a rewarding outcome and a well earned sleep at the end of the day.
By George Wells.
George is an aspiring turtle farmer who wishes to study Chemical Engineering at Manchester. Currently on a gap year, he is working as a snow ranger in Les Arcs during winter 2015/16. Also enjoys surfing, skiing, and music festivals.