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Living the Season Life

In my last blog I talked about what a season is and how to find season work. With this post I want to give you information on how to prepare for a season and what living on a season is actually like.

So now that you have got your season work lined up it’s time to get prepared before heading off. For most people that means going shopping and packing your bag. When it comes to packing there isn’t a set list of things you should take with you, and it varies from season to season. Hopefully, by the time most of you have read this, I will have uploaded two new kit lists to the ‘Kit List’ section of my website. One is going to be for Winter season and one is going to be for Summer season however these are the basics and certainly won’t include everything you might want to take. One key thing to remember is to not overpack on the way out. Most people think that they will come home with less things as they might leave some clothes out there and they won’t have the toiletries they went out with but in my experience people come back with a lot more things. Personally I come back with more because I have collected souvenirs, gained clothes and bring home every delicacy the supermarket has to offer. Mysteriously my talent for seriously impressive packing also disappears on return journeys which means even more room in my suitcase has been taken. A good example of this would be returning from working in Lapland, I had been given a large set of reindeer antlers which luckily did fit in my luggage bag. Due to the size of the antlers however it meant that I did not have much room for clothes and especially couldn’t pack neatly round the antlers.

The point I’m trying to make with this is the fact that you never know what you are going to find or come home with. I certainly did not expect to be coming home with a set of antlers…

For the purpose of this blog post let’s pretend that you have successfully packed your bags and made it to the resort you are going to be working at. So now what can you expect? And what is season life like?

Accommodation: Where you stay on season will vary from job role to job role and company to company. Anyone who is new to season life will most likely worry about where they will be staying. Let me try put your mind at rest a bit. The standards of season living as gone up drastically in the last couple of years. At the end of the day if companies don’t have people who want to work for them then they won’t be a company for much longer. My seasons have has me staying in luxury cabins with a sauna, ski chalets in a room with 5 other guys, a ‘scout’ style tent and my own private apartment with kitchen and bathroom.

Roommates – The majority of people on seasons are like minded people and are all there for similar reasons so chances are that you will soon be best friends with your roommates and friends for years to come. Don’t worry though, if you really aren’t happy then your line manager will be able to switch you around so you are happy in your accommodation.

Privacy – You will always find privacy on a season. Even though you are all living and working together there will always be time and places when you can get some time to yourself. When I had my own room that was obviously very easy to do however sharing a room with 5 other guys meant it was a lot harder to do that. In that case we all agreed that the storage room next door with a bed in would be a place to call people and have some alone time. If the door was shut that meant someone was in there and no one would enter. The other thing you can do is simply go for a walk or go away somewhere on your own. But privacy is not anything to worry about as it is yours if you want it.

Safety – One thing I was worried about on my first season was the safety of my personal belongings. I have expensive outdoor gear and electronics so the last thing I want is for those to go missing. What you have to realise is that everyone else is worried about the exact same thing but like I say you are surrounded by like minded people. Now there will be the one off little scum you may meet one season who might steal something of yours (I’ve had it done to me) but like I say everyone is in the same boat so it isn’t something you should worry about.

Antisocial Behaviour – If you are trying to sleep then one thing you probably don’t want is your room mate blasting music out or coming back as a rowdy drunk late at night. Most seasons have a noise curfew to stop this from happening and won’t tolerate antisocial behaviour especially late at night. I have always found that there is a mutual agreement that if someone is trying to sleep then the other roommates are respectful of that. I want to shout out Saul Hope Robinson who is the first person I have known to have 10 alarms to go off in the space of 5 minutes and still not get out of bed. The man is like a human sloth.

Food: Probably the most important of any season is the food. Again the standards of staff food has gone up massively in the last couple of years. All seasons will cater for any dietary requirements whether that is gluten free, vegan or allergies. It’s your job to make the chef aware of your dietary requirements. When it comes to food I am very particular as I eat healthy and limit the amount of processed foods that go into my body. The seasons I have been on have always made fresh meals and made sure that I have got enough fresh fruit and veg. Working in Lapland – Finland I struggled because I couldn’t get enough fruit and veg due to being so far away from transport routes. I had to overcome that by making sure I was taking vitamin tablets and eating canned fruit and fish. One thing lots of seasonaires do is get people back home to send out care packages with all there favourite snacks and foods in so that is a good thing to prearrange before heading out.

Work: I’m only going to touch on this loosely as it is a big topic to go into. If you have applied for a season then you have probably applied for a job that you are interested in. Most of the time it will exceed expectations Working abroad in an amazing place makes the job so much better and a lot more enjoyable. If you get out there and just aren’t enjoying the job role then it is likely that you can swap to another job role that is more suitable for you. My best advice is speak to your line manager before you get too unhappy as they may be able to sort something out to make that job role more suitable for you.

Socialising: A big part of season life is socialising with all the other seasonaires. If you are not the most social person then don’t panic, it’s not as full on as it sounds and there isn’t any pressure. The great thing about seasons is there is a wide mix of people all with different hobbies so you will likely find someone who is passionate about things you are. One of the things I love most is the fact that I get to try loads of different hobbies that I have never done before simply through meeting these people on season. Sports is a common social activity; skiing, volleyball, football, badminton, swimming are just some to list. Then there is leisurely ones such as going out for lunch, yoga, playing guitar and singing. These are just some I have come across on my seasons so far but don’t be shy to share your passion as people will be keen to get involved.

This is just a short introduction to what season life is like. I have tried to cover the main important bits that most people have questions about. Hopefully this as cleared any doubts people may have about season life. If you have any questions or worries then please get in touch and I would be more than happy to talk you through it in more detail but from beautiful Costa Brava it’s time to go have a siesta in my hammock.

Happy Adventuring

The Wolf

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Season Work

When working seasons you are titled with two names, first is the official trade name which is ‘Seasonal Worker’ and second is the less official ‘Seasonaire’. Now, the latter certainly sounds a lot cooler to tell people (and I’m obviously cool), so any young trendy season worker will call themselves seasonaires. The way of life for us seasonaires is probably quite different to the standard mundane household. I hope I can enlighten you into our world and the way we live.

What is a seasonaire?

So as I have just touched on, a seasonaire is someone who works seasons. This doesn’t just mean that they work summer (for example) then not work the rest of the year, although this can be the case, but rather that they have a different job each season or couple of seasons. Those that work all year round will generally do a Summer season ( April – October) followed by a Winter season (October – April). The seasons do not always flow into each other so sometimes you can find yourself out of work for a month or so between seasons. For those that do it all year round- they have to carefully line up each job in order to not be out of work.

The most popular season to work is ski season due to the large number of jobs it produces and the promise of being able to Ski or Snowboard for 5 months. Some of the jobs include Instructors, Childcare, Chalet Hosts, Chefs, Drivers, Representatives and lots more of which are all classed as seasonaires. As I type this and as you will know from my previous blog post, I am on a winter season in Obergurgl, Austria.

How to find seasonaire work?

We all know how hard it is to find and apply for jobs now a days let alone actually be offered them, so the thought of having to do that every 6 months can come across quite daunting. Obviously the jobs are not guaranteed for anyone but if you structure your CV around the job role and have some form of experience then you will be in with a chance.

Going into winter season I had no experience of ski seasons or done anything similar that employers could relate to but luckily for me I had a lot of experience working with children. As I was applying for a childcare role this was very useful and I structured my CV around all the work with children that I have done. If I was applying for a kitchen staff job then I would structure my CV around the work I have done in restaurants, bars and so on.

If you don’t have anything at all on your CV which employers can relate to then it is time to start helping yourself, volunteer in a local school or club, get a waitressing job in a hotel or restaurant etc etc. Make yourself more employable by doing little things to add to your CV.

So where can you find season work? It’s a good question as it’s not going to be advertised in your local newspaper or in your local jobs centre. Luckily for us we have the World Wide Web. All and any season work will be advertised online either through their own website, social media or through a hiring company. Social media is the big one, every company will have a Facebook page and most an Instagram and Twitter account. Facebook is your biggest friend, there are so many groups, companies and organisations on there that are specifically designed on recruiting seasonaires. I will create another blog post further down the line with Facebook links and company names for you to have a look at.

Hopefully now you know what a seasonaire is and have a little idea on how to find season work. My next blog posts will be about how to prepare for a season, what living on a season is actually like and what to expect. For me it is time to put down the blog and pick up snowboard. So until next time…

Happy Adventuring

The Wolf

Blog Posts

Welcome to Obergurgl

After spending my Christmas in Lapland, it was soon time to move on to the next adventure. Ski seasons have always been on my to do list and so hence I decided to try my luck on getting sent out to join the current season. My work in Finland was for a company called Hotelplan which is the parent company of three ski holiday tour operators (Inghams, Ski Total and Esprit). Whilst working in Finland I was informed that there was the possibility to go onto do a ski season, so as soon as I got home I was on the phone in order to try sort something out.

It took a couple of weeks to sort out but I was soon informed that I would be going to a resort in Austria. Originally I wanted to go to one of the resorts in Switzerland or Italy as I am yet to visit these countries however from past adventures I knew how beautiful Austria was and so was super excited. Packing my bags within 12 hours of leaving I boarded the plane and was soon on my way to the next adventure…

Coming into Innsbruck

Touching down in Innsbruck I was so thrilled to be back somewhere with great mountains looming. Unfortunately I did not have any time to look round Innsbruck (being the only city close to resort) which was a shame, however I will certainly make time to head back there on a day off.

Journey time to resort was an hour and a half on board one of the tour coaches which to my surprise was only carrying adults. The reason this was a surprise to me was due to the fact that Inghams, Esprit and SkiTotal are family holiday tour operators, and yet this coach was lacking in the younger generations.

It wasn’t long before I arrived in my resort for the next three months, Obergurgl, although us cool kids / seasonaires call it OBG. Remember that as I will probably naturally just put OBG rather than Obergurgl in future blog posts. To my surprise OBG is a small village however it has so much packed in. The main high street boasts several ski/snowboard shops, a bakery, hairdressers, bars, restaurants, fast food takeaways and cafes are just some of the services available. As I arrived the first thing I noticed was the fact that everyone was walking around carrying either skis or a snowboard, I knew then that it was going to be an awesome place to live. The chalets are your typical Austrian style buildings, each with a unique name and picture painted on the side. First impressions were certainly satisfactory, there wasn’t a negative in sight.

Balcony View

After a short wait in the main office, I was taken to my accommodation. I am staying in one the guest chalets (Verwall – pronounced ‘ver-val’) which is a smart and relaxed chalet. My room has everything I could need; a bed, a Television (with uk channels, a sofa, breakfast table, a wardrobe, a kitchen with microwave, fridge, sink, hobs and storage. The bathroom is modern and clean, again with everything that a bathroom needs. Leading off from the main room is the balcony with an amazing view of the slopes and the mountains. I found out later that evening that I would be joined by one of the guys I was working with in Lapland (Saul), who would be arriving the next day.

Due to arriving late I was very lucky with my accommodation. The other staff (12 in total) are all sharing, that’s two bedrooms and one bathroom between 12 of them – no thank you.

It was only after arriving at my accommodation that I found out that I would be working for Esprit. Up until then I thought I was going to be working for Inghams.

Front Garden

So that is my first experiences of Obergurgl. What a great first impression and I am looking forward to living here for the remainder of my winter season. I am really excited to explore the village further and most importantly head on up the mountains.

First day of work tomorrow so wish me luck…

Happy Adventuring

The Wolf

Blog Posts, Reviews

Review – Altura Mayhem 2 Waterproof Jacket

Before departing for Scotland in October I decided it was time I brought myself a new mountain biking jacket as my old jacket (coincidentally also Altura) had seen better days and getting on the small side now. So hence I went shopping in search of a new bit of kit. Spending nearly the whole day trying jackets on with brands such as Endura, Fox, Troy Lee Designs, Gore and Raceface, I finally found the Altura Mayhem 2.

Altura Mayhem 2
Altura Mayhem 2 Waterproof Jacket

First Glance:

It is certainly a good looking jacket. Appreciatively not everyone likes colourful gear (or the colour red for that fact), but it stood out. The red and black with neon yellow highlights really works well together and tells people “this guy knows what he is doing”. Saying that it is not so bold that you would look better suited sitting on top of a Christmas tree rather than a bicycle. Picking it up, I was reassuringly surprised on how light the jacket was, as some feel more like motorbike jackets. The seems looked neat and tidy, the zips were waterproof, it was a good first impression.


What do Altura say about their Jacket?

The ultimate all day trail jacket, providing protection from the elements, constructed from highly durable waterproof fabric.

Tech Spec:

Price – £119.99 rrp

• Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water whilst still offering high levels of breathability
• Altura Draft Venting ™ strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability and thermoregulation whilst in the riding position
• Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
• Zippered hand pockets and chest pocket
• Internal media port
• Waterproof/ Breathability rating: 20k/20k
• Relaxed Fit


First Outing:

Fort Williams UCI World Cup track seemed like the perfect place to test out the Altura Mayhem 2. The ground was saturated so hence there was plenty of overland flow as the water tried to wiggle its way down the mountain side. For me that meant lots of spray coming off my tyres. Luckily I was equipped with a shiny new jacket. The Mayhem 2 was extremely comfortable to wear, both on and off the bike, thanks to the Altura ErgoFit 3D design. I only had a jersey underneath the jacket despite the weather being brisk, however I did not feel the cold whilst riding. When I stopped for lunch I did get slightly on the cool side but that was to be expected.  The jacket kept me dry from all the spray coming off my tyres and I should add when cleaning, mud came off easily with a wet cloth. Equipped under each arm (if the weather gets warmer) is a ventilation zip, although that was not needed in my case. I was really pleased with my first outing in the Altura Mayhem 2 jacket and I made it home warm and dry.

IMG_3307
UCI World Cup Start Gate

Water-resistant not Waterproof

As I was so pleased with my first outing in the Altura Mayhem 2 jacket, I decided I would wear it for a day of hiking to see how it would fare. The challenge you ask? I’m in Fort William, so Ben Nevis of course. For those that don’t know Ben Nevis (part of the Nevis Range) is the tallest mountain in the UK, sitting at 1345 metres above sea level according to Wikipedia (1397 metres according to my Suunto Traverse). Setting off it was soon clear I had picked the wrong day to climb Ben Nevis. Very poor visibility, -1 degrees C, heavy rainfall and wind speeds of 45 mph with gusts of up to 62 was what Benny had to offer me.

Climbing the first 900, I didn’t really notice the rain however as I started to climb higher it was like having a bucket of water chucked over me. With in a short amount of time my jacket had wetted out and I was soon soaked through. Once I broke into the cloud bank, the temperature plummeted and I could really feel how soaked through I was. I put my hood up in attempt to hold what little heat was left in the jacket. Unfortunately the hood is what lets this jacket down. Being the same material as the rest of the jacket with no reinforcements, it has no structure or strength and it flaps around in the wind. Several times it would blow off my head, exposing me once again to the bitter weather. Saying that however, the hood does have draw-cords attached which meant I could elasticate my hood to my head and summit the mountain.

IMG_3522


Conclusion 

All in all the Altura Mayhem 2 is a great lightweight waterproof jacket.  It has everything you would expect a premium brand like Altura to offer. It is comfortable, affordable, and can tackle those wet days riding.

So okay, perhaps it couldn’t handle Ben Nevis but I am not sure I would be riding in those conditions. Concluding, it is the perfect jacket for the damp days out riding. It is packable so can be chucked in your rucksack yet comfortable to wear all day long. MBUK ‘Best Value’ Jacket Award Winner. I would certainly buy this jacket again and would certainly recommend it to the mountain biking community.

Happy Adventuring

The Wolf

Blog Posts

Welcome

Good Morning Everyone.

As this is my first blog post I want to use it to tell you what my blog will be about, what I’m about and lastly what to expect to see from me in the future.


So first of all, who am I?  –  My name is Joe and I’m an outdoor adventurer. Ever since I was a child I would enjoy nothing more than playing in the woods and exploring the national parks on our family holidays. Going through high school I was a keen kayaker and mountain biker and would compete in both. With the mountain biking I still compete occasionally. That falls down to if I’m near a race at the time and happen to have my bike with me.  After that I studied outdoor pursuits for two years, which was based at an activity centre. This gained me several NGB (National Governing Bodies) qualifications and more importantly experience in leading adventure sports and skills and tricks in the outdoors.  Since that I have worked on outdoor centres, a short stint at Go Outdoors, seasonal work (summer and winter) and then a bit of private outdoor work. During this time I was constantly gaining new qualifications or learning more advanced techniques to constantly better myself.

That brings us on to now. I am passionate about travelling; seeing new places, meeting new people, experiencing cultures and having an adventure. Unfortunately traveling and blogging is not easy to make into a full-time job so what I do is a big mix of seasonal work, private expeditions and sports coaching with my own travels chucked into one big pot. This allows me to travel and still live the adventurous outdoors life that I want to lead.


What is my blog about and what can you expect?  –  We have established that I am a traveller and adventurer, so believe it or not my blog and site is exactly that. As I travel the world and lead expeditions I will be blogging along the way with my thoughts, recommendations, gear reviews, hints and tips and of course lots of photos.

On my site I have a page dedicated to Kit Lists (see menu). This is where I will post all my kit lists for each expedition and adventure so that you can see what I take, what I used and what I would take/leave behind if I was to do it again. My kit lists will be everything from one day adventures to months of traveling and cover nearly every sport going from walking and cycling to snowboarding and kayaking. Hopefully this page will give you the help and guidance that you need when it comes to packing for your own adventures and expeditions. If you have any questions or would like help building a kit list for your adventure then please get in touch and I will personally help build a kit list for you and your adventure.


Hopefully my first post has given you a little insight to who I am and what to expect from my page. Thank you for the taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy my travels and blog which is to come.

Happy Adventuring

The Wolf

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