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This hosting life
25 July 2016

Simon and Cassie West are originally from Portsmouth (UK) and – three years ago – they sold everything to fulfil their ambition of living and working full-time in the French Alps. From December to April, the Wests provide a ski concierge service in their very beautiful 5-bed Chalet Bernadine at the foot of the alps. During the summer months, their business, Alpine Action Adventures, organises canyoning, rafting, climbing, MTB, road-biking, hiking, zip-lining, and training ‘boot camps’. It’s busy, tiring and they’re always on.

We met these lovely people in early May, and quickly struck up a friendship through our shared love of hiking and road cycling. During the summer, Cassie told us that they were desperate to take a break in August and attend a friend's wedding in Ireland. As housesitters, we urged them to allow us to take care of their home and their two cats, Lynx and Sox. They seemed relieved to be able to do so.

Chalet Bernadine is located in St Jean d’Aulps (above), a beautiful village 7km from Morzine.
Around 50% of the village population are originally from the UK

Before they left, Cassie showed us the ropes, including what dishes they preferred to offer half-board guests, and how to oversee guests' adventure activities. During our month of hosting Chalet Bernadine, in addition to looking after Lynx and Sox, we took care of two French B&B guests who were participating in the St Jean Medieval Festival at the local Abbaye. Another two guests came to stay for the full alpine adventure, which included a half-board service. We cooked three-course evening meals, offered a different hot breakfast choice every day, and organised adventurous activities ensuring they got to and from the summer mountain action promptly and safely.

We did get some free time to do our own thing, and put our road bikes to good use. We climbed some of the routes and cols ridden by past Tour de France riders and increased our cardiac fitness no-end.

This first 'business babysitting' experience for Alpine Action Adventures was a real eye-opener for us: Drew and I realised we made a strong team and it gave us the confidence to broaden our thinking and offer interim management services as well as purely house and pet-sitting.