Our resort managers are the ones who oversee the day to day operation of the resorts; incredibly knowledgeable, flexible (and busy!) individuals with an unrivalled eye for details and a knack for multitasking! We sat down with Monika, our Verbier Resort Manager, to hear why she fell in love with this resort and career, and to glean every last drop of her fantastic insider knowledge.
Out of our portfolio of almost 130 luxury homes across the Alps, 60 of them are in Verbier, making it the largest of our operations. It is also where the concept of Bramble Ski was born, after the founders arrived for a ski season and – like so many do – fell under the spell of the place. So how did Monika end up here? “I was offered a job at Le Farinet when I was living in London. So I moved to Verbier, fell in love with it and 7 years later I am still here”, Monika explains. She spent her first year at Bramble Ski as Assistant Resort Manager, before quickly progressing to take on the role of Resort Manager for the last four years.
Throughout her time in the role, we wanted to know which aspect of it she loves the most. “The people I work with, the beautiful properties we have and just the company in general, which feels like a second family to me”, she says. In terms of her all time favourite property in the resort – it’s certainly not an easy choice to make with so many stunning offerings. However, she settled on Chalet Mowgli. “The décor, the space, the location. It’s beautiful, colourful and you can ski in/ski out”. An amazing chalet all-round.
In preparation for the winter season, new members of the team complete their training with Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, which is widely regarded as the global industry-leading hospitality school. Monika oversees this training year on year, so we asked her what makes it so special. “We are very lucky to be able to get all the knowledge from the best hospitality school in the world” she says. “New staff get help from the returners, every year we have many coming back so they always give the best advice.” There is also emphasis on practical experience throughout the training, and Monika believes that “the practice dinners and setting up the chalets” are vital elements to prepare new staff for the season.
A far cry from the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s no wonder that many who come here find it so hard to leave – once you live and work in these stunning mountainous surroundings you get hooked on the fresh air, active lifestyle and likeminded-ness of the people you meet. This rings true for Monika, who says “Verbier is just such a stunning place in all seasons, always so much to do and explore. Also, the people living here make it really special, I’ve made many friends for life”.
Even after living here for seven years, there is still so much to discover. Only last summer did Monika get into the popular hobby of trail running. “I did my first trail running competition – the Cha Cha Cha Half Marathon – running from Le Chable to Champex Lac. Growing up, I lived in a flat place and didn’t do much running, but the hikes here are just so beautiful I was inspired to take things to a new level!”
Skiing or snowboarding is basically an uncompromisable aspect of life in the Alps. Monika is a skier, and we picked her brain for her best on-mountain tips, starting with her favourite piste in the resort. “A difficult question, I would say the run on the right side of Carlsberg is my favourite piste, but this year I want to explore the off-piste part of Verbier and finally ski Mont Gele!” Verbier, known for its adrenaline-inducing itineraries, has some of the most accessible off-piste terrain in the Alps. Without having to tour for hours you can challenge yourself and enjoy some amazing routes just a stone’s throw from the most popular lifts and pistes.
This makes it an incredibly popular resort for freeriders, families, beginners and adrenaline junkies alike – so the slopes can become crowded during the peak weeks. Monika suggests “when the slopes are too busy, head to Bruson and skin up to Tête de La Payanne for some fresh tracks and skiing through the trees, it’s so amazing!” Accessible by taking two cable cars for a total of 25 minutes, Bruson is situated across the valley from Verbier, providing a refreshing change from the famous pistes. You’ll find some excellent off-piste routes between sparkling, snowy pine trees that feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the main resort, and often you won’t be competing for tracks with anyone else.
When you’re not skiing or snowboarding, there are two other activities that will consume much of your time on the mountain; eating, and drinking. Monika’s recommendations? For lunch – “Le Dahu, where I would order the Dahu pizza covered in the truffle oil, dipped in a fondue with a spicy beef tartare and chips on the side.”
For the all important après ski (of which Monika is self-proclaimed queen), on the mountain she suggests skiing towards the Mayentzet lift for “a drink in the sun at Bar 1936 with music from Connor Mac” (local singer and guitarist), whilst at the end of your ski day, she insists that “the best après ski in town is at Le Farinet, with a live band”. Adjacent to the après bar at Le Farinet, is the lounge – which happens to be home to Monika’s favourite cocktail, “a chilli and lychee martini” – definitely not one to be missed.
After emerging from après having danced your socks off, what better way to round off the evening than with a delicious dinner. Monika’s choice? “For a more casual dinner I love going to Shed. The burgers there are really good and they serve spicy margaritas.” With a cult-like following and a laid back yet fun atmosphere, you can’t beat Shed for a post-boogie burger. “For a more of a special occasion” she continues, “definitely try Le 22 at Crock No Name by chef Adam Bateman.” Home to a seasonally influenced tasting menu that is not to be missed, Le 22 is raved about time and time again by customers and the press alike.
What else does Monika think is ‘not to be missed’ in Verbier? “My Beyonce dance class on Wednesdays at Inspire studio!” she says. Oh, did we forget to mention? Our Verbier Resort Manager also had a past life as a world champion dancer. Our talented team never fail to surprise.
Want to hear from more of our team members? Read an interview with our Zermatt Resort Manager here, our Lech & St Anton Resort Managers here, one of our Bramble Ski Pros here and one of our Hosts here.
Image credits: Yves Garneau, Christophe Voisin – verbier.ch, Thomas Roulin – Alpimages.
Resort Manager Interview
We set up our sister company Haute Montagne to cater to the exacting demands of our clients looking for the ultimate chalet holiday experience, expecting the finest luxury properties accompanied by the very best of service levels.
It is not by accident that the Haute Montagne experience has come to be known as superyachts in the snow.
Haute Montagne chalets are among the finest properties available to rent in the ski industry. They are the best properties in resort and are all stand-alone mega-chalets with beautiful furnishings and decadent spa facilities.
You will be looked after by a team of highly trained professionals, each selected for excellence in their field, attention to detail, and discretion.