Tag Archives: Verbier

We’re looking for a sales and marketing manager

Bramble Ski is looking for a sales and marketing manager to be based in Verbier. This is an office-based 10-month-a-year position. During the summer and shoulder seasons this position will be five days a week. During the winter season the position will be for six days a week.

Job Responsibilities

Bramble Ski’s team is small and agile. The sales and marketing manager will be expected to show a keen willingness to assist colleagues and in other areas of the business when needed. Specific sales and marketing responsibilities will include:

  • Handling sales phonecalls and emails;
  • Communicating with agents and clients prior to guest arrival to confirm specifics of requirements during their stay with Bramble Ski;
  • Liaising with in-resort partners including the lift company, ski schools, ski hire companies and transfer companies to book client requirements;
  • Communicating with clients post-departure, including settling outstanding security deposits and collecting feedback, to build repeat business;
  • Run weekly sales and operational reports;
  • Assisting with the copywriting of marketing material including for the blog;
  • Developing and implementing ideas for the marketing and sales plan;
  • Utilising social networks to increase brand awareness;
  • Maintaining and developing relationships with a worldwide network of agents;
  • Checking properties listed with agent sites;
  • Maintain the agent and customer database and;
  • General sales office management.

Skills and Experience

Essential

  • Excellent customer service skills;
  • Articulate and good telephone manner;
  • Excellent written skills;
  • Creative;
  • Organised individual with a high level of computer proficiency and good Microsoft Office skills and;
  • Passion for the ski and snowboard industry.

Advantageous

  • French (and other language) proficiency;
  • Prior experience with using social networks in line with a marketing plan and brand awareness (Twitter/Instagram/Youtube/Facebook);
  • Experience in travel industry public relations.
  • Experience with implementing a sustainable business philosophy and practice.

Please send an application letter along with your CV to info@brambleski.com telling us why you are the ideal candidate to become the newest team member of one of the most exciting companies in the Alps.

www.brambleski.com

Hello snow, goodbye cows

Guest blog by Maev.

Snowfall over the weekend blanketed the Alps in its first winter coat of the season.

The Alps in its winter coat.

Winter has come to our valley.  The flaming autumnal shades of the alpine forests have been quieted by a generous sprinkling of the white stuff, the comforting smell of burning wood fills the air at dusk as home-fires are lit, hands have disappeared into gloves or pockets, and the valley is suddenly extraordinary quiet. For most of the cows are gone. The melodious/incessant clanging of their gigantic brass bells (because you either love this sound or it drives you mad) has ceased as local farmers made the decision this past weekend to put their precious livestock away. I can’t help but feel sorry for these bovine beasts that get the very best of the Swiss spring, summer and autumn grazing their way down the lush mountainside, but are interned in barns for the full length of the winter.

As the snow fell purposefully on Sunday and farmers coerced their cattle off the land, I, and several thousand other runners, braved the elements and battled our way down the course of the Lausanne half-marathon from Vevey to Lausanne, following the footsteps of the marathon runners, who were on their return journey. With the temperature peaking at 1 degree Celsius, gusty winds whipping off Lac Leman, intermittent blocs of snowfall, and the resulting small crowd support, it was a tough and unseasonably cold race. Temperatures at this time of year are usually pegged at 11 degrees. I’m so grateful for merino wool.

As I trudged through small villages and past frosty vineyards, friends back in Valais wasted no time in dusting off their skis and touring boots and took to the pristine hills. While the lower slopes are obviously still pretty thinly spread, one can’t help but get excited that this appears to be the beginning of a base,  at least up high. And weather conditions are staying cold for the foreseeable future. TeleVerbier have announced that the ski lifts will be turning this weekend. There’s no doubting that the ski season is suddenly, excitingly, upon us. It’s time to swop out those running shoes for skis as our winter playground reveals itself. I have to say, I’m glad I’m not a cow.

Bramble Ski only has a handful of properties left for Christmas and New Year. If you’re thinking about a white festive season contact Bramble Ski urgently to secure your luxury holiday.

Photographs by Barry Cox.

If Winter = Patrouille des Glaciers, then Summer = Grand Raid

One of Bramble Ski`s directors, Duncan Robertson, completed the torture-fest Grand Raid mountain bike marathon that was run this weekend (as if the challenge needed to be heightened, this happened to be the hottest weekend of the year). Spanning a distance of 125km and encompassing a total climb in altitude of 5025 meters, this is the 23rd running of the event and makes it one of the oldest single-stage mountain bike races in the world.

Grand Raid mountain bike race

Duncan and Graham completed the Grand Raid in 10 hours and 28 minutes. Pic: Catie Friend.

Originally conceived to recreate the famous Patrouille des Glaciers the full length Race runs in opposite direction, departing Verbier and passing through Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Mandelon, Evolene, an intense climb up the Pad de Lona and finally finishing in Grimentz.

Duncan and Graham, representing Team Exiles on the day, executed their race-plan to perfection and are already looking ahead to next year`s assualt, only this time they intend to ease the pain on the derriere by breaking the 10 hour mark! Go boys.

Below are a selection of images of the Grand Raid shot on the first descent from Croix de Couer above Verbier down to Nendaz.

Photographs by Barry Cox.

The magic of mushrooming.

Mushroom-hunting Val de Bagnes

The distinctively beautiful gills of the underside of the chanterelle.

Wild mushrooms are a bit of an enigma. They’re strange looking things and it’s not hard to imagine how they came to be aligned with fairies and magical other-worlds – though I’m certain the psychedelic varieties out there have played due part in this association. But I find the pastime of hunting for them just as intriguing. It is largely a solo activity (prized spots are fiercely guarded secrets) and with the diversity of varieties and the associated danger of making a mistake in identification, it is an activity that I’ve always appreciated demands knowledge.

While winter in the Alps provides us with a playground for hedonistic pleasure, in the summer the forests and pastures around Verbier are ripe for foraging ideal for creating at least a sense of sustainable living. Berries, nuts and mushrooms grow in abundance. While I’ve looked for mushrooms before, as a side-event while out for a walk, I’ve never (until recently) gone for a walk with the intent purpose of mushrooming.

Chanterelles are in their peak season at the moment. I’m informed that they thrive on the humidity. As is typical in the southern Swiss Alps at this time of year, we have had some good weather, high humidity and plenty of late afternoon/evening thunderstorms that finally break the shackles of a hot day. These golden delights love the abundance of moisture and warm climate providing ideal growing conditions!

So when a good friend and avid mushroomer offered to take me, I jumped at the chance. Of course, he didn’t take me to his prized spots, apparently there isn’t anything there at the moment (not surprising given the volume of chanterelles I’ve seen him harvest recently, though I’m not discounting that he is simply protecting his turf – rightly so).

Instead we headed a little further up the Val de Bagnes, the exact location I cannot reveal as I have been ‘sworn to secrecy’, where we struck gold! Coming home with a good harvest is certainly satisfying but there are a couple of other things about the hunt that I thoroughly enjoyed.

1) Wandering through the forest looking for mushrooms is much like ski touring in the winter. You feel that much more atune with the landscape around you. Mountains are so vast that when you scan them from afar you don’t notice the intricacies of the features within them. But when you move through them, on foot or on skis, the pitch of the slope, gulleys and rock bands all become prevalent.

2) The slopes are steep, and the forest thick. It isn’t a bad way to get some exercise!

3) The hunt itself. Spotting that first chantarelle (as a novice the distinctive golden chanterelles are a great first target) makes your heart jump. Stumbling on a patch is truly joyous. And knowing that a good patch of chanterelles is a place that you can come back to time-and-again just accentuates the pleasure of the first discovery.

4) It must be the hippy in me, but I love eating what I’ve grown, and now I can add, foraged for. Inspired by the hunt, at home we pulled out the pasta machine and made our own pasta, and with the chanterelles and some fine bacon from the valley, whipped up an Alfredo to die for.

5) Finally, chanterelles are worth their weight in gold. About half a kilogram of chanterelles for a couple of hours of effort versus the cost of purchasing them from the grocery store. No comparison.

I’ll be out there again. The question is whether to go looking for new patches, or back to the spot where I know there are an abundance of chanterelle patches?

Photographs by Barry Cox.

NOTE: If you are new to wild mushrooms, make sure you seek the advice of someone who has experience, or at the least refer to literature (there are many guide books out there). Many species of mushroom can make you sick, and in the worst case, can kill.

Big mountain riding in full glory

 

Xavier de la Rue, freeride snowboarder

Le Châble local, Xavier de le Rue, leaving the shadows of The Bec behind him.

This weekend the world’s best freeride skiers and snowboarders hiked up, and then descended, the jaw-dropping 3223m Bec de Rosses in Verbier to decide who would be crowned champion of the Freeride World Tour.

The event drew about 8000 people to the slopes around Col de Gentianes to witness the best in the game throw down big, bold lines. In conditions that provided variable snow conditions, the commitment to some serious exposure was astounding. Although the World Tour title was open for grabs in each of the events (men’s skiing, men’s snowboarding, women’s skiing and women’s snowboarding), in every instance the person who won the Verbier Xtreme also walked away with the Tour title.

The women’s start zone was on the lookers right of the Bec de Rosses shoulder, with the athletes charging some beautifuly aesthetic lines on an aspect that showed a good balance of sun and shade. The women’s skiing was won by Swede Christine Hargin while the snowboarding title was taken by American Maria DeBari.

The men had a selection of start zones, but the bulk of their descent ultimately took place in the terribly rock-scarred, shadowed north face. It is hard enough to identify a route down the face, so watching riders tackle it at mach-1 was hugely entertaining, and, at moments, a little terrifying! The men’s skiing was won by another Swede, Reine Barkered, who executed a smooth and fast descent that took in multiple big cliff drops.  The men’s boarding title was claimed by Frenchman Jonathan Charlet.

The Verbier Xtreme is a fantastic spectator event and a highlight on Verbier’s annual calendar. Few other places can allow you a front-row seat to what big-mountain freeriding is all about.

Here are a selection of images from the day.

Photographs by Barry Cox.

Xtreme, the Freeride World Tour Finals in Verbier next week

Bec de Rosses, Verbier

The enigmatic shoulder of Bec de Rosses

Next weekend, in Verbier, the finals of the Freeride World Tour once again take place on the intimidating north face of the 3,223 metre Bec de Rosses.

Now in its 17th year, the Verbier ‘Xtreme’ is the freeride event on the calendar, last year drawing nearly 10,000 live spectators to watch the world’s best charge this big wild mountain!

The competition runs over three days.  Next Friday, March 23, the competition draw takes place alongside various bits of live entertainment. The main event takes place on Saturday March 24, with the elite women riders kicking off at 9.30am. At 11.15am the elite men begin their assualt. If you are going to be in Verbier and intend to watch the competition, head to Col de Gentianes via the Jumbo gondola from La Chaux.

On the final day of the event, Sunday March 25, the Juniors have their event along with various freestyle and demo events at the competition village.

Prepare to be amazed!

Below are a couple of shots from a day out after the snow fell  last week with Gene, one of Bramble Ski’s drivers. We’re devoted to providing the ultimate luxury ski holidays, but outside of that we love to freeride. We’re looking forward to watching the world’s best next weekend.

Photographs by Barry Cox.

Skiing-in the New Year

The busiest week of the year in most ski resorts around the world is New Year. In Verbier and St Anton, the New Year’s eve street bash in the village centres gather thousands of people ready to celebrate the year gone, and all the promise of a fresh year ahead.

Revellers in St Anton never need a reason for a party, but when there is one they don’t hold back. Arguably Europe’s most legendary apres locale, St Anton is party capital over new year. At 11pm the town descends on the traffic-free centre for fireworks and the countdown. Champagne flowing freely, DJs and fireworks ensure the crowd are pumped for the arrival of the new year. After the new year has been seen in people disperse to the numerous bars, clubs and private parties all over the town. All events are by ticket only, which sell out, so advance booking is highly recomended. As details of events surface we’ll share them here …

In Verbier, a similar format to the evening unfolds. In addition to all the tourists who saturate the resort’s available accomodation, locals from all around the valley descend on Verbier’s Place Central for the village’s largest and most exuberant party of the year. Private fireworks displays are set off all over the town throughout the evening, with the largest display funded by the commune at Place Central at midnight. It is the mixed crowd of teenage seasonaire party-goers rubbing shoulders with wealthy socialites that gives the evening in Verbier its character. There are parties all over town and once again as details of these come to light we’ll share them here. Book early!

With the combination of fresh air, exercise and the festivity of apres ski, it is no wonder New Year is a favourite time to go skiing. Probably one of the most common new year’s resolutions is a promise to exercise more. And can there be a better way to kick off that resolution than soothing your hangover blues on Januray 1st, 2012 than a day on the slopes. I think not.

Stunning new luxury property added to our portfolio

Luxury chalet Tigre in Verbier

Tigre's outdoor hot-tub high above Verbier

Chalet Tigre is Bramble Ski’s newest luxury property in Verbier, and is our third addition to our flagship range of properties, Alpine Luxe Spa. It is a fabulous chalet set over five floors, every room with a view that makes your knees buckle!

The outdoor hot-tub, dedicated spa with hamman, a corridor-long glass-fronted wine cellar (with wines old and new) and a cinema room with a 3m x 2m screen provide all the amenities you could want from a luxury ski chalet. Each of its five bedrooms have their own en-suite bathrooms.

The furnishings are a tasteful blend of contemporary and antique pieces, and throughout the property original wall art, objects d’art and photography add style and character.

Staffed with our highly trained staff (a dedicated driver included), a fully serviced and catered ski holiday in Tigre will surpass the highest of expectations. The property is available from the New Year.

For more information on Tigre and luxury catered ski holidays to Verbier and St Anton call our sales number on +44 (0) 207 060 0824, or email info@brambleski.com.

Follow the link for more images and full details of Tigre.

Photographs by Yves Garneau.

Jane Urquhart is back for staff training this year

Our staff training week in Verbier is now just under a month away – though you’d hardly believe so when you look out the window – and we’re really delighted to have Jane Urquhart back in town to whip our private household service skills into shape.

Jane is renowned in the world of private villas, yachts and jets for her exemplary standards of staff training. We were so pleased with Jane’s contribution last year that we have invited her back again to kickstart the season, spending time with Bramble Ski’s drivers, hosts and butlers guiding them in all the ways of private household discretion and excellence. Jane’s training covers the etiqeutte details of welcoming guests into chalets and where, and how to stand and serve, to the nitty-gritty of dealing with paparazzi, how to pack and un-pack suitcases and personal presentation.

Of course our staff are well-rounded individuals so we also allocate time during our training week to on-snow skills … we wouldn’t be Bramble Ski otherwise.

Eyes forward, shoulders back everyone. The 2011/12 ski season is almost upon us!

Gerwin Brand, Bramble Ski’s food debonair

executive chef
Executive chef Gerwin Brand

At Bramble Ski we continually strive to blow our guests away when they come on a catered ski holiday to the Alps. Every facet of the holiday from the smallest of details is given our full  attention and care, and, at the helm of all food that is prepared and served out of the chic chalet kitchens of Verbier and St Anton, is our executive chef Gerwin Brand.

Inspired like many passionate foodies by the influence of family get-togethers, he affectionately remembers Sunday lunch visits with his grandmother. This inspiration steered his drive and Gerwin left school knowing exactly what he wanted. He attended culinary school in his native Holland and simultaneously worked as an apprenticeship in various restaurant kitchens  forging the groundwork for his career as a chef.

After gaining experience in his first Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland, Gerwin moved across to Ireland working for a stint in the Allen family’s Ballymaloe House before crossing the channel to work in London at Clarke’s. He then went on to work for Michel Roux at The Waterside Inn in Berkshire, where as demi-chef de partie patissier he developed his reportoire and skill in pastry.

But it was under the tutelage of Raymond Blanc at the two Michelin-Star Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons that Gerwin obtained his largest chunk of experience. Here he further developed his style for clean fresh dishes and was heavily influenced by Le Blanc’s desire to use quality local produce and ingredients.

“Raymond Blanc’s vision, enthusiasm and drive is revolutionary. The passion that this man has is blowing most other top chefs out of the water. To have had him as my mentor is a fact that I will be forever proud of,” says Gerwin.

“What I took away most of all from working at Le Manoir is to always question things, and to keep checking for quality all the time. The dishes on the menu are scrutinized daily and as soon as there is an element that is not at its peak anymore it will be replaced with something that is in top condition. That drive for perfection is inspiring. And despite the huge success he has,  he has stayed a very down to earth man. Brilliant.”

Over the four years at the renowned Oxfordshire establishment, Gerwin was promoted from demi-chef de partie to sous-chef. When he left, Gerwin made a complete change and moved to the Alps to take up the first executive chef position at Richard Branson’s then brand new mountain retreat The Lodge. We were fortunate enough to have Gerwin join us at Bramble Ski last year to further raise the bar of our sumptuous catered offering.

Gerwin’s meticulously hard-working ethic is exemplified in yesterday’s performance at the New York City marathon, his first marathon attempt.  He completed the race in an incredibly fast time of 3.05 hours. We wanted to know a little more about the man behind the machine …

BC: What is your favourite herb?

GB: This is a really difficult question for me. I love herbs, there are so many of them and they all have their very own specific flavour. I would find it hard to have to choose a specific one, but there are a few that stand out.

Tarragon is one of them. With its beautiful anisy flavour it goes well with a lot of ingredients: cucumber, fish, lamb, chicken and even strawberries and rhubarb. Another is oregano. I just can’t get enough of this one. Its flavour is just so unique and for me it’s the one and only herb that makes a great pizza. A nice thin dough, just a plain tomato sauce, freshly chopped oregano and proper buffalo Mozzarella, like life should be, beautifully simple.

And the last one for me is woodruff. Sadly, this herb is not very well known at all. It is also known as bedstraw, as in the early days it would be used to stuff pillows and mattresses so that they would smell nice. Woodruff is very high in an essential oil called coumarin, which has a sweet smell, but actually tastes a bit bitter. The flavour is vanilla-like and therefore woodruff is mainly used in desserts and drinks.

BC: What piece of equipment can you not do without in your kitchen?

GB: Without a doubt my chef’s knife. I see it as an extension of my hand and I guess that’s saying enough about its importance.

BC: If you were on death row (we won’t ask any questions about how you ended up there), what would your final meal be?

GB: Boeuf Bourguignon with buttery mashed potatoes, pan fried cêpes, bacon lardons, caramelised baby onions and Romanesco broccoli. And for dessert warm sticky toffee pudding with a royal dollop of Champsec cream.

BC: What is your favourite comfort food?

GB: You can’t beat a proper fish ‘n chips with fresh crushed peas.

BC: What is your favourite hangover recipe?

GB: Yeasted blueberry pancakes with bacon and maple syrup and a big glass of fresh orange juice.

BC: What is your favourite local food product?

GB: The race d’Herens beef. It’s just so flavourful. It makes a great steak, or stew or tartare.

BC: What is important to you in your kitchen?

GB: Space to do the job. In one of my jobs I worked in what must have been the smallest kitchen ever. The floor space was two square metres, and the biggest part of that was a hatch down to the cellar where we had additional fridges and a freezer. A nightmare if you had to go down there mid-service . . . Still we managed to turn out some pretty decent food, but it was far from ideal and it limits you
in what you can do.

BC: Finally, and most importantly, where do you head to in Verbier on a powder day?

GB:  I moved to the mountains for a complete change a couple of years ago and now find it hard to see a life without them. I’m still a developing skier but one of my favourite places to head to after some decent snowfall is Stairway to Heaven. The terrain there is really fun and varied.

For more information on luxury catered ski holidays to Verbier and St Anton call our sales number on +44 (0) 207 060 0824, or email info@brambleski.com.