Blue Dog in Val d’Isère

This was no ordinary Christmas party. This was a Blue Dog Christmas Party.

Before you start thinking that we’re descending into the (fully decent) M&S ad stylee, don’t worry, we’re not. But a Blue Dog Christmas Party is usually pretty special, and this year was no different…

After much discussion (this is likely to become a theme in these blog posts – we like to do lots of head-scratching and beard-stroking before makingany decisions) we decided to go skiing in Val d’Isere. The idea behind these trips has always been to find somewhere to stay where we can really relax, while not getting too bored and this year we hit the jackpot. We managed to find what looked like the perfect private chalet just for us – lots to do what with the skiing and a pool, but also a sauna, steam room, hot tub and games room for the relaxing moments, and enough staff that we wouldn’t have to think too much about even thinking. At least, that’s what the brochure suggested.

The trip didn’t get off to the best of starts with us losing 2 of our number before we’d even got to the airport in London. Sadly there was a delay on a job, and like the eternal professionals they are, Nigel H and Matt stayed behind to get the work done (we might take our Christmas parties seriously, but we take the work even more seriouslyer). The rest of the team didn’t let that get in the way of a good time though and when we arrived in Geneva faced with the almost three hour journey to the chalet at 11pm, the host who came to meet us made us feel even better by giving us a mini-bus picnic that elicited from Chris the words: “If I only ate these baguettes for the rest of my life, I would be a very happy man” while he polished off what would have been Nigel and Matt’s food. He sounded serious too, but it might have been the several bottles of minibus-Champagne talking…

When we arrived, the chalet was nothing short of spectacular, with sweeping views over the town from up on high, and while we wanted to enjoy it, things were somewhat marred by the fact we still didn’t have Nigel and Matt with us… Fortunately our hosts managed to get them re-booked for a flight the next day and, as a treat (and to get them to us as quickly as possible) arranged for them to fly over by helicopter as soon as they landed in Switzerland! Pretty special.

Once we had all assembled, we had three indescribably awesome days of whooshing down the mountain. Granted, we are not all of the same level of ability, and some of us decided to eschew the conventional skiing/snowboarding methods entirely, favouring a more modern, bottom-based or airborne approach, but we were able to find something that worked for everyone. It’s beside the point if the thing we were all best at was the après-ski, right?

When we weren’t flinging ourselves down mountains, we were holed up at our chalet with home-cooked 73-course meals and more wines than you could shake a stick at. One of the guys working there seemed to have only one job: to ask us whether we wanted another drink. He soon stopped asking. I think there are only so many times you can say “yes” before someone recognises a pattern:
Would you like another drink in the sauna? “Yes”
Would you like another drink in the hot tub? “Yes”
Would you like another drink while you watch the football? “Yes”
Would you like another drink with the drink you’re already drinking? “Yes”

Alas, it wasn’t long before the drinking, skiing, eating and merry-making had to come to an end, and after a lovely Christmas dinner on Saturday night, we were rudely awakened on Sunday to be taken back to reality. There were nearly tears. There were hugs with the chalet staff and promises that we were now and would always be their favourite guests. It’s possible that Andy shed a tear when saying goodbye to Max, our drinks-bearer. Possibly.

And now we are back to reality. There’s no pool, no slope to swoosh down, and most sadly perhaps, no Max. But we do have amazing memories to keep us ticking over very nicely until next Christmas.

The only question now is, how the hell do you improve on perfection?

P.s. If you don’t believe us, check out the video.