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A World Traveller
From Alaska to Zermatt

From showman to snowman, the ski resort manager who has sailed the seven seas

Supertravel's supertraveller David Penney David Penney is perhaps the most travelled member of the Supertravel staff From showman to snowman, the ski resort manager David Penney who has sailed the seven seas The ski resort manager David Penney who has sailed the seven seas

By our reckoning David Penney is perhaps the most travelled member of the Supertravel staff – and that’s saying something for an organisation that is obsessed with exploring every nook and cranny the globe has to offer. From the Arctic wilderness to the stormy waters south of Cape Horn – David has sailed to just about every port as a cruise director with one of the leading ocean liner companies.

     And it says even more that someone with such a wanderlust is beguiled by Zermatt and rates it as one of the most beautiful and exciting destinations in the world. But David is as mad keen on skiing as he is on sail-boarding and he’s more than happy to swap sand for snow.

     David, a mechanical engineer by profession, thought he would be taking a short break from working on the design of wind turbines when he headed off to the Alps 14 years ago to spend a few seasons as a chalet boss. The skiing bug really took a hold then and he was quick to hone his skills ‘to avoid being last down and having to buy the beers in the bar’.

     ‘I still thought then that I’d be returning to the wacky world of engineering,’ said David. ‘But I was enjoying the mountains too much for that and one season followed another – until a chance conversation with a man in a pub had me packing my kitbag for a life on the ocean wave.’

     His chalet experience landed him a job as food and beverages

 

manager on a Princess Lines ship, ‘It was just to be for the summer, but working on a cruise ship seemed a natural extension of my catering and hospitality career so far,’ said David. Within a few months, his natural inclination towards stand-up comedy, hilarious impressions and stunning ability to mimic accents (last season’s guests in Zermatt will be familiar with his New York persona) saw him transferred to the entertainment division of the ship.

     ‘Basically, you’re a Butlins-style redcoat on a ship,’ he said. ‘I became entertainments director – it was really hard work. A strong work ethic was essential, putting on shows twice a night, and a full-blown musical three times a week in a theatre seating 1,000 people.

     ‘We’d put on West End style shows, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and Cats are just a few to name. But it was fabulously exciting and very rewarding. I loved the theatrical part of it, and would be on stage myself doing the continuity bit.

AROUND THE WORLD

     ‘I visited just about every commercial port in the world – as well as seeing amazing sights. It’s hard to beat the spectacular scenery of Alaska, where you would wake up to see hump back whales calving just 30 metres from the ship. I also flew in a seaplane

     over the Mendenhall Glacier and hiked up into the Alaskan

 

mountains bear-spotting – we saw brown and grizzly bears. You are given a bell to attach to your backpack so that bears hear you approaching. Bears will avoid human contact at all costs, so it’s far safer to let them know you are about!

     Two years ago, following apowerful earthquake that triggered a tsunami and devastated parts of Chile, David’s liner was designated as a hospital and evacuation ship. ‘We were ferrying people to safety and had people sleeping in the theatre – but we still put the shows on throughout the entire rescue operation,’ said David.

     ‘My other favourite places include Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, Vietnam, Hong kong and Beijing. I can’t say I have a girl in every port – but a few of them!’

     David has a private pilot’s licence, which means jaunts over to France for lunch are sometimes on the agenda when back home.

     ‘I’ve always wanted to spend some time in Zermatt and last year the opportunity arose to work in the ski industry again. With this lifestyle you have a fabulous freedom of choice – and I can think of nothing better than, after a summer on a ship again, coming back to this fabulous Supertravel property in Zermatt, with this wonderful team, to work in and enjoy one of the most amazing ski resorts in the world.’

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Who needs snow? youtu.be/FMqADdsVmwQ
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Retweeted by SupertravelSki

 
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If you want to see what GM Paul thinks about skiing in Europe and across the pond have a look at this. twitter.com/welove2ski/sta…

 
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It was a serious powder day in the alps today!

 
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It's snowing again - anyone fancy a weekend break leaving this Thursday from £399pp?

 
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Our team in Courchevel look like they will be getting some snow over the weekend! twitter.com/planetski/stat…

 
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Last chalet for half term - fabulous chalet Ariane in #Stanton save £1000pp departure date 14 Feb. 02079629933 pic.twitter.com/NHDacv4eu8

 
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We only have a couple of rooms left for this weekend starting at £599pp in St Anton - great snow, great food! bit.ly/1PBjIbC

 
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Here in St Anton and it's the second bluebird day in a row... Still spaces for next week! pic.twitter.com/HUcnU2ku6s

 
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We need a sales/admin person in the office until the end of April - anyone want to come and work in the ski industry in London?

 
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Off to St Anton now to have a look at how good the snow is over there. The skiing is amazing at the moment. Prices from £599 for next week!

 
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"It was very cool to do, it was a different road for me". F1 driver Verstappen goes "skiing" ow.ly/X6BCO pic.twitter.com/xY8KuOivp1