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The real St Anton
chalet girl

The real chalet girl

One of Supertravel’s own stars, Fay Hollingbery, tells her story - and it’s a lot more exciting than the one in the film

The real chalet girl The real chalet girl Fay Hollingbery One of Supertravel’s own stars, Fay Hollingbery A chalet girl in a glamorous ski resort

ATTRACTIVE tomboy Kim Matthews, 19, used to be a champion skateboarder – but she gets stuck in a dead-end job trying to support her Dad.

     Opportunity comes knocking in the form of a job as a chalet girl in a glamorous ski resort. Working at one of the Alps’ most exclusive chalets, Kim finds herself in a world of partying, champagne, skiing and romance.

     But then she discovers snowboarding, and the chance to win some much-needed prize money at the big end-of-season competition. But it all gets complicated when she gets involved with Johnny, her handsome boss.

     A typical season in the life of a Supertravel chalet girl? Well, no, that’s the plot of the new film Chalet Girl, starring Felicity Jones and Bill Nighy. So we went to the resort where it was filmed, St Anton am Arlberg in the Austrian Tyrol, to find out from real Supertravel chalet girl Fay Hollingbery just how close the fiction matched the fact.

     So Fay, were you in a dead-end job and doing a spot of skateboarding before you turned up in St Anton? ‘No, I was at the University of Warwick where I gained a Law and Sociology degree,’ said 22-year-old Fay, from Wimborne in Dorset. ‘But I have been visiting the ski slopes since I was three and decided after leaving university that I wanted the opportunity to work in the mountains for a while. ‘I was extremely keen for a new and exciting work experience – as well as having the chance to get really good at skiing!’ In fact, many of Fay’s working experiences since leaving school with three excellent A-levels and 10 GCSEs have been exciting, stimulating and wide-ranging – putting those of the

 

fictional Kim in the shade. She has worked at a firm of solicitors, served as a volunteer at a hospital working with mentally ill patients – as well as doing more voluntary work with a probation team in Poole coping with the problems of young offenders. ‘Working at the hospital was a very interesting experience. And working with young offenders gave me a chance to see a different aspect of the legal system at close quarters.

     ‘As part of that, we went to police stations and to schools, and in one case I acted as a form of guardian to an under-16.’ Fay has also travelled and worked as a waitress last summer, immediately after leaving university, with the well-known Earl’s restaurant chain in Canada. ‘Chalet duties involve a lot of hard work and you’re on your feet a lot. We are working by 7.30am. ‘We make early morning tea for the guests and deliver it to their rooms. Then we take breakfast orders and serve it in the dining room.

     Breakfast can go on for quite a while – often depending how late a night some guests have had! After clearing up after breakfast we get on to cleaning the rooms and making the beds, which is a real team effort especially in a larger chalet such as Seeberger in St Anton.

TIME FOR SKIING

     ‘After that we lay out the afternoon tea, including home made cakes, ready for the guests when they get in from skiing. ‘And then – hooray, we get a chance to go out skiing or boarding! And yes, to be honest, we do keep our fingers crossed that guests will be up and out in good time because the sooner they are the quicker we can get on to the cleaning.‘We have to be back in good time to serve dinner of course, which includes

 

pre-dinner drinks with canapés – and sometimes we’ll get back extra early so we have time for a nap!’

     Two aspects of her season in St Anton have particularly impressed Fay. ‘I was expecting it to be fun as well as hard work, but the way the whole Supertravel team get on with each other, as one dedicated group, has been fabulous – and also getting to know some really lovely and interesting guests has been a bonus. This season has been so important to so many of us out here and will stand us in good stead for the future, no matter what that holds – it has really opened up our minds.

THE BEST SERVICE

     ‘As soon as I applied for the job with Supertravel I knew it was the company to work for. We had fantastic pre-season training and they treat their staff so well – which ends up with the guests getting the best possible service. The firm’s concept is really to look after the guests in the best possible way and make sure they have a wonderful holiday.’

     Being highly-qualified with an enterprising background is no exception among Supertravel resort staff – Fay’s chalet colleague Jane Kitching, also 22, has a degree in geography from Newcastle University and applied to work for Supertravel after enjoying herself so much as a guest at Chalet Seeberger the previous season – ‘so I knew what the role entailed’. ‘It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve enjoyed it more and more as the season has gone on – both getting to know the guests and giving them a great holiday.’ said Jane. ‘We’re like a little family, and have so much love for each other. It’s remarkable. We all hate the thought of the season ending.’

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Who needs snow? youtu.be/FMqADdsVmwQ
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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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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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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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