I would like to say we surfed the storm, but…
Well 2020 will be one for the history books that’s for sure. What follows is my personal story of that time as it relates to Mountain Mavericks.
To set the scene, February 2020, we are having the best season we have ever had. We had trimmed the business down to a nice size and have developed a great team. One issue we were trying to resolve was the kids schooling. As much as for the most part the teachers are lovely in Morzine, but the system is pretty old school and there seems little room for individual growth within school. This was becoming especially apparent with Luc who had now made the shift to college.
With things going well otherwise we decided it was a good time to act on our belief that the kids would be better off at school in the UK. In essence we as a family would move to the UK and I would remain in France for the winter season and be back and forth as required for the other times, with the family coming out for the holidays. Best of both worlds. Might not have been so great for my carbon footprint, though if my bother in law, Ian, can manage to work as a fireman in London whilst living in St Jean D’Aulp then it’s got to be possible.
Well as we all know, by the end of the next month the season was finished and we weren’t allowed to leave the house with out good reason. This was a very contradictory time for me personally. On one hand the forced closure of the business was beyond stressful. We had guests to repay, insurance companies were being more than useless, suppliers and landlords still wanted paying yet the income we would have normally expected had evaporated. Days were spent thinking and rethinking what we can do and how we were going to look coming out the other end, but at the time we only expected it to last a few months.
On the other hand there was not much work to do, we were at home with the kids all day and at the time we were living in the Kinkerne. This meant that without guests we could essentially move in to the bar, which was full stocked and sitting above a full fridge and freezer. We were in one of the best places we could be, great outdoor space, quiet and being at the bottom of the piste I could legitimately still go splitboarding and stay within the distance limit.
If it wasn’t for the worry and the home schooling would have been like a forced holiday.
Well that’s how it all began and as we are all very much aware it didn’t end there. We were allowed to open for the summer, under restrictions, which for the Aubergade was not too bad as we have a great outdoor space. Though travel was still discouraged and everyone was having their own difficulties with the pandemic. All in our own boats, but weathering the same storm. As result is was a quiet summer, but we were open, so couldn’t apply for any aid from the government. Subsequently our inability to pay deposits on the rent for the coming winter and a lack of consideration for the situation meant we lost the Kinkerne. At the time we were gutted, having worked hard for three years to turn it round, but in hindsight think it might have been a hidden blessing.
The biggest effect of the summer holidays though seemed to be the spike in Covid numbers and the resulting realization, that not only is this thing here for the long haul, the only way to deal with it is lock everyone down and close anything nonessential, again.
Now we had decided that although the world was a bit of a mess at the moment, life had to go on and although there might need to be adjustments, there is no point putting our own plans on hold. As a result Emma and the kids were back in the UK, whilst I was in Morzine preparing for a winter that as it turned out was not to be.