A Juggling Act – Airborne Interviews, Fondues & Work Loads
30.01.2013 - 31.01.2013
Since my move to the mountain, I have finally landed a second job and a few more shifts to supplement my current job. It is strange how everything for me happens in an All or Nothing kind of way. Even back home it is either no TV jobs or a bunch thrown in your lap to choose from.
In this case, I had sent my resume to HR to see if any other departments might have other part time positions available, since I knew some lift operators had left their positions to go home. I got a response saying the restaurant and catering might need some “servers” (or waiters as we call them). So I sent my resume off to the mountain restaurant, who said they would only have positions open up mid Feb and would get back to me. Then, the next afternoon on my day off in the middle of a riding the chairlift up the mountain in a snow storm, my mobile phone rings. Half excited, I grab my phone to answer it, because I never get calls and never speak to anyone on the phone anymore, so it is kind of like a treat. Hence the excitement – Haha.
It is the food and beverage manager from another lodge just down the mountain and not far from where I am based. She says she received my resume from the top restaurant and has an opening if I am interested. So after a brief air-borne interview and me shouting down the phone, while swinging from a chairlift in the snow and wind, I accepted and said I would be in the next day before my phone signal cut out as I was approaching the summit and readying myself to get off the chair lift.
So I am now also working as waiter/barman/co-ordinator for the Fondue Evenings at Raven Lodge working alongside 2 others. I will work here on Friday and Saturday Evenings from around 4pm-11pm. The Lodge is based at the Nordic centre which is popular for Snoeshoing & Nordic Cross-Country skiing.
So the day after, I arrive back at my housekeeping job and the supervisor says one of our members has left for an oil plant job in Alberta and she would like me to pickup 1-2 shifts extra per week. Murphy’s Law Right!!! So of course, I said yes, that’s great and also told her about the restaurant job. So now I am having to co-ordinate my schedule around the 2.
I have done one shift this past weekend where I was totally thrown into the deep end. I had just worked my housekeeping shift from 8am-14h30, then quickly had to run down the one ski hill stomping through snow to the lower road which leads to the other lodge, do a quick change of clothes (out of the one lodge uniform, into smart black pants and shirt required for the restaurant of the other lodge) and start a new shift from 15h00-21h00. My manager gave me a very quick run-through of how the fondue events are run and before I knew it had 2 hours to get everything ready before the booked groups and 50 guests walked in. Not intimidating in the slightest. Given the fact that my last serving or bar experience was in Australia, I was having to dig deep to remember what the hell I was doing. I did have a very good colleague though – Tara who was showing me the ropes. She would be leaving soon to go surfing in Costa Rica for 6 weeks and I would be taking over from her.
The Raven Restaurant offers Fondue evenings to booked tour groups who come up to the mountain to do an afternoon of guided snowshoeing in the alpine valley and then end their night off with a fantastic fondue dinner.
So I have to arrive around 4pm for prep which involves pulling the guest list from reservations to determine the number of guests expected for the night. Work out how many different tour groups there are VS private parties. Work out a suitable restaurant layout to accommodate the numbers and table setup i.e. x number of guests per fondue setup, setup all tables with linen, crockery, glasses, spot check all the gas burners and fondue heaters are working and ready on our side table, inform the head chef on the number of fondue setups (usually 4 pax per fondue pot) so the kitchen can prep and workout the correct quantities & prep the sign in desk for guests before dinner starts around 18H30. I guess working on MasterChef had its perks – HAHA.
Then once everyone has arrived you have to do a demonstration at each table informing guests how the evening runs, how to operate the gas burners and take their drink orders throughout the night. The hardest part is when you have no clue what the drink is (because there are lots of local brands of beer, wine and spirits). Since I am no connoisseur, you are like… SURE, write it down and then run off to cross reference the drinks list to see what the heck a Kokanee (Local Beer), Piper’s Pale Ale or Pinot Grigios (Local Wine) is.
But it was so much fun and so nice to be doing something different, where you can interact more with people than hotel room furniture and hospitality and eventing is something I really enjoy and can do. We also had a fondue going in the back kitchen so I could sample and see what it is all about. Obviously I couldn’t resist digging into skewered prawns, salmon and pear covered in dark chocolate.
I actually did really well and got like $30 in tips just from my 3 tables. We pool the tips with the back kitchen staff too but at least you walk out with a few extra $$ on top of your hourly wage and if there are large groups the tips are really good. It was a fun night. They also want me to work 2 day shifts at the café but I might not be able to with my other shifts.
Snowshoe Tours & Fondoe Dinners
This popular option is available on Friday and Saturday evenings during winter operations. The tour starts at 5pm followed by a Fondue dinner which includes a swiss cheese fondue, followed by a meat and seafood fondue and for dessert, a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit. Includes - prawns and salmon added to the fondue menu. Pre-booking is required due to popularity.
Then across from this lodge is the Mountain Centre which has a gym, spa and rooms for group bookings. I got chatting to the manager there while waiting for the bus and he said if I have any open days to let him know as they often need some help, so now I have a 3rd potential part time gig where I can get a few hours too.
On top of all of this I had applied a few weeks ago for a Lodge job in Alberta. The lodge called me back to setup an interview which I did this week and I think went rather well. The lodge is 30 minutes North of Lake Louise and 1 hr North of Banff in the province of Alberta. This was going to be my next stop anyway to do some site-seeing. They were looking for Guest Relations Staff at a private remote lodge on the lake to start in May until around September. It would be perfect to spend the spring surrounded by the Canadian Rockies and the lakes the area is so well known for. Also if I can line up and lock down work for May, it means I can spend April traveling after I finish up here in March. I had to give them a reference, so passed on the details of the Ranch i was at. I just received a facebook message from the office manager there saying someone called wanting a reference for me and she said "I told her you were an excellent part of our team and we want you back", which was nice considering i did not land up going back. So fingers crossed.
So in 2 months, I will have completely rebuilt and added to my resume which will make finding seasonal part time work going forward much easier. My current resume I think is often seen as “to professional and qualified” when applying for basic entry-level work. I can now say I have done Volunteer Ranch work, Office Admin, Marketing & Sales, Guest Relations, Holiday/Adventure trip Bookings as well as Housekeeping & Bar/Server & Hospitality work.
So all in all everything seems to be falling into place.