by Fiona Bell | 4th February 2024
The Alpine Generation: The Rewind Edition
by Fiona Bell | 12th June 2023
We asked Co-founder Graham Taylor to rewind and recall how The Alpine Generation all began!
I do my best thinking in the car listening to music that Kelly says “makes her ears bleed”. So to those world famous, beautiful lyrics “Jennifer, Alison, Phillipa, Sue, Deborah, Annabel too, I forget your name…” I started to think. How did The Alpine Generation start?
It’s about people; it has always been about people, and I think that’s why we chose the name. Because of that, let’s focus on the wonderful people we have been lucky enough to meet, work with and often become friends with since we kicked off this crazy journey in 2014.
We actually need to go back a little further, to around 2009. On a regular, annual catered chalet holiday to La Rosiere (shout out to Ski Olympic!) we met a guy called Ian Neville (aka Nev), who was running his infamous Bar Fusion. As an ex-city trader who moved to the Alps to set up his business, his story was inspirational (you’ve heard of the Wolf of Wall Street… this is the Lemur of La Rosiere!). So off we headed to think about doing something similar.
As someone who panics if they are not asleep by 9pm, a bar was seemingly not a good option. Kelly and I had many years of experience as guests in catered chalets, so this appeared to be a viable starting point. Two winters and two sabbaticals later, we had two seasons under our belt as chalet hosts and felt ready to get cracking. (Side note: we weren’t).
In 2014, two wonderful sets of properties owners fortunately felt able to trust a couple of newcomers to the industry with their expensive properties. Maybe you remember Chalet Chocolat and Chalet La Lune in Morzine? After gaining a couple of extra helping hands to host for the season (thanks Caz and Fiona!), we were off. Season 1: Done.
Sebastien came next. Seb and his family run the two Skiset shops in central Morzine and having worked with them for ski hire, they were willing to partner with us to operate their chalets Caribou and Chez Nous. We cannot thank these guys enough for their trust and assistance as we fumbled our way through the language, locality and French system. If you book ski hire through us for your next trip, you are likely to experience the fantastic service that they still provide!
From this point were we were fortunate to be able to expand into other resorts. La Tania came next, then La Rosière (for a while), Courchevel and Le Praz and now La Plagne. Our logic is that if we can provide a service that makes guests feel that they want to return to us year after year, it is important to be able to offer a variety of exciting new ski areas for them to experience. We don’t always get it right and to any guests who have stayed with us and didn’t fully enjoy their experience we are truly sorry and would love for you to give us another chance. So, where next? That’s up for discussion! Drop us a line if you have any preferences or, indeed, are a property owner interested in working with us.
Back to the people. Of course, the quality of our chalets and our catered service are important (you can read more about our service here), but we like to think that it’s the people who make or break your holiday. Chalet hosts, resort management, our sales team, our guest services team who assist you with all of the extras to accompany your stay, and partners that we choose to work with in resort. We understand that this is where we need to get it right. We want to every interaction that we have with our guests to show we care.
Both Kelly and I have a background in training. We are therefore very aware that there is a less obvious side to our business. Our chalet and resort staff come out to the Alps to work a winter season, many of whom are taking a year out following graduation prior to getting a “proper job”. Some are taking a break from their studies between college and university, whilst others are on a career break. (I think the most common guest question to hosts in our chalets is “What is your real job?!”). If you are thinking about taking a break from your “proper job” then be sure to read this (click here!) which has been written by a good friend of ours, and then get in touch!
All of the staff that we work with gain a huge amount of personal and professional development through working a winter season; something we raise awareness of during the pre-season training. Time management, communication skills, problem solving (there is a lot of this!), managing difficult situations, negotiation skills… the list is endless. Please do take time to give ongoing feedback to our team; if we need to change things to enhance your experience then let us know and we will do our best.
A big thanks to all of the wonderful people we have worked with and helped us develop since The Alpine Generation started. There have been some massive bumps in the road (Brexit, Covid, leaking shower trays… ok so not all massive bumps) but we still love the interactions we have with everyone. A special thank you to Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot (The Beautiful South) for the inspiration and for those intrepid travellers amongst us, be sure to check out their more recent song “When I get back to blighty”! Sorry Kelly. Cover your ears…
The Alpine Generation Co-founder
As an original co-founder of The Alpine Generation alongside Kelly, Graham’s focus is always on the bigger picture, in particular product and partnership development. 9 years into the challenge, his enthusiasm and desire to make The Alpine Generation the best at what we do remains one of his key attributes.