Purple Ski People

Our people are at the core of the Purple Ski philosophy and for the consistent delivery of the high level of service for which we have become known. They are our greatest asset.

We know that our staff are crucial to being successful; as one guest emailed after their stay:

“The staff's attitude and friendliness was what made the holiday special. Nothing was too much trouble. Your staff always speak very highly of you and the way they are looked after – they are clearly very happy working for you and that transmits to the guests.”

We take pride not only in making sure that our guests have the best possible skiing holiday, but also on being a great company to work for. We hire people based on their skills, experience and attitude and expect the highest standards of work from them, but in return, we make sure that they are well rewarded and get to spend the most time possible enjoying themselves.

“Your staff had the perfect combination of professionalism and friendliness that I have never seen before. They were the “perfect hosts” as it were, as if we were staying in a close friend's house with all the luxury of a five star hotel.”

We are now recruiting for the 2018-2019 season; descriptions and photos of the 2017-2018 team can be found below; we are hopeful that c. 50% of them will return!

Head Office

Karen Broom Smith, Managing Director - Age 55

Karen Broom Smith Karen joined Purple Ski full time in 2001 from the Dell Computer Corporation, where she was the Director of Audit for Dell Europe. Before that, she worked at Heinz and Mars in various general management, manufacturing/people management and engineering roles. She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bristol University and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Her first association with Purple Ski was in March 1997, when she was a guest in Chalet Le Crêtet, Purple Ski’s first ever chalet. It was there that she met her husband Michael, who had been running the chalet since 1991. They married soon afterwards and Karen supported Michael in the running of the business while continuing her UK-based job with Dell, but then came out to join him and has worked full time in the business since July 2001. Michael has very recently stepped back from the business (and is pursuing other interests – not least spending more time with their 12 year-old son, Max, but also returning to the passion that brought him here in the first place – skiing!) and so Karen has taken over as Managing Director, but retaining her focus on operations and service delivery (about which she is as passionate as ever!) – including everything to do with recruiting, training and working with the superb team of staff and also on obtaining and looking after the lovely chalets. (Hannah Crane-Buck has taken over Michael’s sales responsibilities, augmenting her previous role as Customer Services Manager.)

Fleur Jeans, Operations Director - Age 32

Fleur Jeans Hailing from the Cotswolds, Fleur gained a degree in French and Spanish. She followed this with a Masters degree in Speech and Language Therapy, where she gained a distinction, won the Tavistock Prize, and had her work published. She began her travel industry experience working in Paris before gaining entry to the Jet program, teaching in Japan for a year, and learning Japanese.

Her first Purple Ski season was in 2011, working in the office. She took the opportunity that season to learn to ski, having previously snowboarded in Japan and Austria. Many lessons and seasons later she is now a very competent skier, both on and off piste including touring. Well travelled, Fleur has herded cattle on horseback in Uruguay, dived in Zanzibar, climbed Mt Fuji, skydived over the Great Barrier Reef and will continue her wild swimming, freediving and yoga into 2020 and beyond.

Fleur is based in our office in Meribel over the winter and is responsible for the day to day operations of the company, year round.

Hannah Crane-Buck, Sales & Customer Services Manager - Age 29

Hannah Crane-Buck We are delighted that Hannah is back with us for her sixth season, spending the seasons now in a UK-based role as Sales & Customer Services Manager with her husband Toby, our Operations Manager. She has extensive experience in customer service and takes pride in a job well done. She likes problem solving, has great attention to detail and strives to make a difference. She is also very organised, hardworking, thorough, but also friendly and simply charming.

She also has a passion for languages having graduated from the University of Warwick with First Class honours in French Studies with Italian, and an MA in Translation. Hannah is fluent in both French and Italian and has basic Portuguese skills; she loves having the chance to use her languages which goes hand in hand with her desire to travel. She has used her knowledge and experience in various countries (including teaching in France, interning for a travel company in Spain, and as office manager for a summer camp in the US). She also loves people and socialising and her hobbies are very diverse, including skiing, hiking, cheerleading, Via Ferrata, playing the cello, and diving. It's a pleasure to have her back.

Toby Crane-Buck, Operations Manager - Age 29

Toby Crane-Buck Toby is one of our longest-serving members of staff, now entering his seventh year with us. Originally from Stratford-upon-Avon, Toby graduated from Bristol University with a Masters in Maths and Physics in 2012. Post-degree, he decided he needed a bit more adventure in his life and spent a year travelling in Southern Africa and working in America at a summer camp, where he returned for four summers between his seasons with Purple Ski.

As well as his 6 years with us, Toby has a great deal of experience in the customer service industry having worked for a large hotel group and a security company, supervising a large team of security officers at major international events. Toby polished his snowboarding skills in his early seasons but has now been permanently converted to skiing (thanks to his now wife Hannah!).

Having been our Supplies and Maintenance manager for his first 5 seasons, he now runs our website as well as assisting Karen and Fleur with the day to day operations of the company.

India Green, Sales & Customer Services Assistant - Age 22

India Green From a family of restaurateurs/hoteliers, India has spent her life in and around hotels and restaurants which has taken her all over France, Spain and the USA. She is certainly no stranger to Méribel having holidayed here every year since she was very small.

She left Heathfield School to go straight into hospitality, starting as a waitress at Richard Caring's Sexy Fish in Mayfair. Since then she has worked as a Management Trainee for Ski France, primarily in the sales and customer service departments. She joined Purple Ski in 2018 in a part-time, UK-based role, but as of the 2019/20 season she will be resort-based and looking after the concierge arrangements for our guests' upcoming holidays.

India is an enthusiastic reader and her interests include travelling, dining out and looking after her beloved dog Molly. It's a pleasure to welcome her to the team!

Mike Fletcher, Admin Assistant/Driver - Age 27

Mike Fletcher Widely travelled with a diverse skill-set, Mike is originally from Bristol and has worked in a number of roles throughout the world and will certainly be an asset to Purple Ski. Whilst 2018 will mark his first season in the Alps he has completed three camps in the US as a lifeguard, swimming teacher and waterfront director, and worked as a leisure attendant and an event representative in Dublin. His role as Project Manager for the family business MHL Connect Ltd over a period of two years has also given him vast experience in all aspects of running a successful company, especially concerning administration, liaising with suppliers and clients, and driving, often in poor conditions. Undoubtedly a people person, Purple Ski clients can rest assured they will be in safe hands with Mike.

Mark Dancey, Supplies Manager - Age 43

Mark Dancey Now based in the Cotswolds, Mark graduated from The University of Oxford with an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He first joined Purple Ski in 2005 as Supplies Manager after seasons in Courchevel and the USA. Already a Mountain Leader and Climbing Instructor, he has used his 12 Purple Ski seasons to train, adding Ski Instructor to his qualifications, teaching in Austria and Switzerland, and still continuing to train.

Mark has been responsible for a lot of the maintenance work on Purple Ski chalets over the years, as well as working on UK building projects, gaining Electrician qualifications and lots of renovation experience.

Mark is well travelled, having visited half of the world’s countries. As a professional Expedition Leader he has taken teams all over the world, including climbing Mt Kilimanjairo, Africa’s highest mountain, and Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia’s highest peak, as well as Mt Fuji. He is trekking Poon Hill in the Annapurna foothills of Nepal in July 2020, and climbing Europe’s highest mountain, Mt Elbrus, in August 2020 with an ex-Purple Ski chef turned expedition leader.

As dependable as they come, a Purple Ski rock, we’re always delighted to have him on the team!

Lorraine Dunbar, Accountant - Age 43

Lorraine Dunbar Lorraine is originally from Edinburgh and now based in London, where she looks after all things accounting for us. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2000 with Deloittes and then moved to Sydney where she continued to to work in finance, progressing to a senior role in a large engineering company.

Lorraine left the beautiful beaches of Sydney behind her when she returned to the UK in 2005, and worked for Barclays Bank and Tate & Lyle in treasury and finance positions, prior to starting a family.

Lorraine now has 4 children, aged 12, 11 and 8 and 6, and is happiest spending time outdoors with them all, but somehow also manages to work pretty much full time during the winter for us too. She is one of the only members of Purple Ski who can not actually ski. But maybe one day!

Support

Alice Lomas, Relief Chalet Manager & Staff Supervisor - Age 31

Alice Lomas Alice joined us in 2016 with a view to taking a break from the fast paced London life. Prior this she spent the previous 6 years managing "Coda", the fine dining restaurant at the Royal Albert Hall and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the servicing and catering industry.

She has a Bachelor Honors degree in Media Studies from Chichester University and has worked as a sales assistant at the Riverside Art Gallery and a head waitress for Leiths at Glyndebourne Opera House. Out of the ‘office’, Alice is a Pilates enthusiast and is currently studying to teach level three Mat Pilates.

Alice clearly enjoys life in the mountains as this will be her fourth ski season, 9 years after her first working for SkiBound. She and our Lead Driver Pete were married on Lake Annecy earlier this year, and have since been travelling in Asia together. Alice is laid-back, hard working, organised, bubbly and fun loving and we are delighted to have her back with us in the coordinating role of staff supervisor.

Peter Lomas, Lead Driver & Maintenance Manager - Age 37

Peter Lomas Originally from London, Pete is no stranger to the French Alps having worked 7 winter seasons as a resort representative and ski technician, then in a senior "head ski technician" position which he held for 2 seasons, managing 8 ski rental facilities and a team of ski technicians, representatives and shop managers. In 2016/17 he worked for us in Chalet Zybeline as Chalet Assistant/Driver, before taking on his current role as Lead Driver & Maintenance Manager.

He also has much hospitality experience having managed a busy licenced pool bar venue in the heart of London for 5 seasons (during the inter-season) and summer hotel management work in France. His early work experience also includes working as teaching assistant with adults and children with learning difficulties and as crew and safety assistant at the Royal Albert Hall, helping with the technical side of shows.

Pete spent a few years away from the mountains, working in media most recently as Television Media Manager at the BBC, responsible for managing collections of footage for various areas of the BBC's vast content, assets constantly in high demand by internal and external clients.

Pete met his now-wife Alice in the Alps back in 2006-2007; they had always wanted to do a season again, and now they are on their forth in a row! Pete is hard working, dedicated, has excellent people skills - both as a leader and team member. He has a positive, "can do" attitude, is laid back / calm and always smiley - as one of his referees said, we are "lucky to have him".

Max Wynn Davies, General Assistant - Age 24

Max Wynn Davies Currently based in greater Manchester, Max is an avid skier and has recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a 2.1 degree in International Hospitality Business Management with Culinary Arts. A keen interest in cooking has led him to pursue an already extensive career within the hospitality industry. To date he has worked at, amongst other establishments, Worsley Park, a Marriott Hotel and Country Club for two years as a host, a role involving managing the AA rosette award winning The Dining Rooms Restaurant and training in housekeeping, bars, conferences and banqueting. He also has four years experience working for Eclectic Hotels Collections at their 4* Didsbury House Hotel in a front of house capacity, and for the past year as Reservation Coordinator for four different hotels in Manchester.

Outside of work Max is a talented classically trained singer who has performed in locations as far afield as the USA and Canada. He also plays the trombone and is an accomplished tennis player. We are glad to have him back with us this season.

Becky Meacham, Relief Chef - Age 24

Becky Meacham Becky, originally from Macclesfield, joins us for her first season. In addition to a foundation degree in Art and Design from Manchester Metropolitan University and a degree in Fine Arts from University of Edinburgh she has significant hospitality and catering experience. Since 2013 she has worked in various successful cafés, most recently Zebra Coffee Company, a specialist establishment in the heart of Edinburgh as a supervisor, barista, cook and baker.

She is an enthusiastic skier with a love of the outdoors including horse riding, sailing, surfing and especially mountaineering. At university she was a committed member of the Hill Walking Club, frequently organising trips to the Scottish Highlands and more recently undertook the 250 mile John Muir Trail in California through the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Becky has good conversation level French and previously volunteered in a primary school and Fine Art Gallery in Angers and completed an artist residency in Tuscany. She enjoys cooking, baking, attending cultural events, exhibitions and visiting galleries. We are sure she will be a great asset to Purple Ski.

Hannah Oldham, Relief Chalet Manager - Age 28

Hannah Oldham Hannah graduated from the University of Exeter with BA (Hons) in Classical Studies and English before moving to London working as a nanny for a year, a position in which she had sole, full-time responsibility for two children under 10, and which she loved.

Since then, Hannah has spent the past few years working in leading Booksellers Hatchard’s Piccadilly & St Pancras in London and Waterstones Deansgate of Manchester, establishing herself as the duty manager and overseeing the children’s section. She has loved it - especially the busy and fast-paced environment in Piccadiliy and being part of a large team. In the hospitality sector, Hannah has waitressed at several venues including the Gelsmoor Inn gastro pub and done some events work, waitressing at private functions.

Hannah is an experienced skier and also has some French language skills which we are sure she can put to good use this season! Her other hobbies include climbing, running and obviously with her love of books; reading. Hugely customer service oriented, Hannah is friendly and outgoing, inteligent and curious, kind and empathetic - we look forward to her being a part of the Purple Ski family this season.

Thomas Prolze, Relief Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 29

Thomas Prolze Tom is returning to us for his forth season with us but his fifth in the Three Valleys (before his first season with us he worked for an airport transfer company based in the Courchevel and Meribel Valleys). He has worked as Chalet Assistant/Driver for Chalets Foinsbois, la Varappe and les Bartavelles and now will be fantastic as the day off relief as he knows all the chalets intimately.

His other work experience includes 2 years working around Australia making use of his trade of landscape gardner and also working as a volunteer in organic farming, 2 summers working working in Pennsylvania, USA at a summer camp as a mountain bike instructor and as a self employed landscaping servicing contractor in the UK. He has spent two of the last summers working in France for an outdoor activities company, and the last 18 months as site manager for a holiday park in Looe, Cornwall. He loves being outdoors, a hard days work and takes huge pride in his work, aiming to do everything to the highest standard.

He loves skiing, is also quietly sociable and loves the mountain lifestyle. He is also kind, caring and a real pleasure to have on the team.

Chalet Les Bartavelles

Paige Sutton, Chalet Manager - Age 22

Paige Sutton Paige, originally from South Wales joins us for her second season. She joined us originally from a very nice 5* boutique hotel (Lanelay Hall) in Cardiff where she was Restaurant and Events Supervisor, but has held many other high-end hospitality roles including at a 4* Spa & Leisure Resort, a 4* hotel and supervisor for a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. She is delightful - very warm, kind, quietly confident and dedicated individual who always strives to go the extra mile.

Paige enjoys travelling, going to the gym and is looking forward to trying out snowboarding and further developing her ski ability. She also has a keen interest in fashion and holds an NVQ Level 3 qualification in Production Arts Make-Up. She's going to be a huge asset to the team!

Cameron Price, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 24

Cameron Price Cameron, a primary school teacher and member of the Army Reserve with a love for travel is joining us from Edinburgh. Through his military training which began in 2013 in the Aberdeen Universities Officer Training Corps he has gained military qualifications in driving both cars and minibuses and is also at ease driving vans, not to mention pick-up trucks and even tanks. If teaching 32 9 year olds on a day-to-day basis wasn’t proof enough of his management and organisational skills, he has also worked for three years at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as a supervisor working closely with the public, police and armed forces.

He is also no stranger to the world of hospitality having worked as a bar assistant at Le Monde bar, a 4 star establishment on George Street, Edinburgh. An extremely motivated individual, Cameron has already completed two military ski qualifications but is keen to further develop his ability and to also improve his French level. A former talented hockey player he still exercises regularly training for relay marathons. We are delighted to have him back this season.

Zoe Roberts, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 25

Zoe Roberts Having previously worked as a rep in Val Thorens, Zoe is back in the mountains and doing her first season with us at Purple Ski. A passion for the outdoors has led her to become watch leader and officer for the Rona Sailing project in Southampton from 2013 where she's taught sailing on week long training voyages on yachts as well as cooking and delivering meals for 20+ people.

Zoe has also worked in hospitality at events and venues in Scotland as a host and silver service waitress. More recently she has worked as a villa host in a private household in Saudi Arabia managing a small team and ensuring a 5 star service was delivered.

Zoe completed a degree in painting at the University of Edinburgh and this has led her to become a freelance artist and is looking to get into garden design following this winter.

Apart from sailing Zoe loves to surf, hike and ski. She's bubbly, smiley and hard working and we can't wait for her to start.

Chalet Foinsbois

Ross Dunk, Chef - Age 28

Ross Dunk Drawn to cooking from a young age, Ross has worked in London for the last 9 years. During his career so far he has worked alongside a number of brilliant and influential chefs who have helped him to refine his culinary skills, particularly within fine dining. He started as commis chef at the 5* deluxe Claridges Hotel, before moving on to the Michelin starred Bonds Restaurant where he was Chef de Partie under Chef Barry Tonks, Club Gascon (1*) where he was Senior Chef de Partie working under the inspirational Head chef Pascal Aussagniac, Tom's Kitchen - Junior Sous chef and most recently, Hix Oyster & Chop House where he was Senior Sous chef.

Passionate about cooking, Ross is highly ambitious, energetic and determined and has, over the years, acquired an aptitude for providing high quality guest experience for a clientele who demand and expect the very best. Generous and supportive, he is also a great team player and has enjoyed his leadership responsibilities and teaching others. (In his last position, he led a team of 10 in the well-established flagship restaurant of renowned chef Mark Hix.)

As well as having a deep love of food, he is passionate about the outdoors, sports, and skiing and sees working a winter season in the mountains as an excellent opportunity to combine these pursuits.

In the last 18 months, before joining us again he has been working at The Shed in Notting Hill as the head chef, leading a brigade of 7 chefs delivering modern British “small plates” with a daily changing menu.

He joins us with his girlfriend, Hannah Oldham, who will be supporting all the chalets this season.

Suzie Hodges, Chalet Manager - Age 22

Suzie Hodges Susie rejoins the team this year after a years break. She has worked in the hospitality industry for the past 6 years in roles from a KP through to bar duties and more recently managing a venue. Susie worked at Burnicombe Farm Weddings, The Great Barn (an exclusive wedding venue) and the NoBody Inn (an AA Rosette Awarded restaurant).

After school Susie spent 2 years working through a Diploma in Art & Design (Lens Media) with great results.

Susie has been skiing from the age of 4 on annual family holidays, a lot of which were in the 3 valleys. Susie is also quite musical, having played the flute and cello in an orchestra. Susie is hard working, highly motivated, efficient, a great team player... and just lovely; a pleasure to have on the team!

Elizabeth White, Chalet Assistant - Age 24

Elizabeth White With three winter seasons under her belt, Lizzie is no stranger to the mountains having previously worked in Hotel les Aravis, near La Clusaz, where she had various responsibilities ranging from guest enquiries, serving three meals a day for up to 50 guests, and eventually organising the housekeeping team to ensure high standards were met throughout the hotel. More recently back in her native Bristol, Lizzie has assisted the manager in the day to day running of a luxury home-ware and furniture brand. Highly approachable and hardworking we know that she'll bring a warm and welcoming environment to Chalet Foinsbois.

George McConachie, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 22

George McConachie A 2019 graduate from the University of Bath George gained a degree in Politics and Economics. Whilst studying at Bath he worked as an intern as a credit risk analyst at Jefferies International and gained valuable customer service experience waiting tables. Prior to his degree, George spent some time volunteering for a youth trust in Uganda. More recently he has been an engineer assistant at Macair FMI Limited, where he was responsible for transporting construction materials in large vehicles and helping the engineers with practical duties.

A keen cricket and hockey player, George was the captain of his University hockey team where he showed leadership and team skills as well as organising social activities and coordinating training. A real social animal who loves spending time with other people and is excited to deliver excellent service to Purple Ski.

Chalet Iona

Sophie Davies, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 26

Sophie Davies Sophie spent the last two years working in Australia in various roles including head waitress at Som Thai Restaurant in Broome where she was responsible for training the junior staff. and ensured a smooth service was delivered to the customers. For the past year Sophie has worked as a boat detailer in Fremantle internally and externally making sure that the boats were cleaned and maintained to the highest possible standard. With a passion for photography which led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in contemporary lens media she then went on to work as a photographer at events, weddings and has done merchandising for websites and catalogues in the UK and Australia.

Sophie also enjoys travelling which included a stint of work at a bar in Bolivia as well as a love for music, video editing, health and cooking.

Steve Rooney, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 53

Steve Rooney Steve, a trained carpenter and joiner from Glasgow, joins us this season for his second at Purple Ski. Since 1990 he has worked for B&Q, most recently in the capacity of Trading Manager at Arbroath Superstore managing a team of 42 and was awarded out of 36,000 employees the accolade of National B&Q Hero. With this accolade came a year off during which he did his first season. After that he was hooked, he has now moved along with his wife and two children to a house near Albertville.

He is an avid snowboarder, committed to improving his level of French. Steve is a very likeable and conscientious individual; it is a pleasure to have him with us in Méribel.

Chalet Lapin Blanc

Adam Pitfield, Chef - Age 24

Adam Pitfield Adam, from Bolton, joins us for his first winter season having spent the past year as head chef at Pleased To Meet You - a modern British brasserie in Newcastle. He started out as an apprentice from school at Abode in Manchester and then worked his way up to commis chef at the Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons where he worked for two years. Following this Adam went on to work at the Samling Hotel where he was the Senior Chef De Partie in which he took on more responsibilities such as the running of the meat and fish section and the supervising of the commis and demi chefs. During his time there they retained their Michelin Star and 3AA Rosettes. In 2016 Adam became Sous Chef at the Laundrette Restaurants in Manchester and Newcastle where he assisted in the opening of both restaurants and the training of new staff.

Adam took some time out to travel round Vietnam and Thailand before working at St Crispin Melbourne Australia as Chef De Partie. In his spare time he enjoys eating out and trying different restaurants. He loves to play football and is a long suffering fan of Bolton Wanderers.

Ami Harvey, Chalet Manager - Age 25

Ami Harvey Ami, from Essex, comes to us from a creative background having performed in shows around the world at venues such as Disney Land Paris and the Royal Albert Hall in London. She also has a wide range of hospitality experience starting at Essex county cricket ground where she ran marquee events for up to 200 people. At Chelmsford city racecourse Ami was responsible in organising sit down dinners, race meetings, wedding fairs and parties. More recently at the Warren golf and country club Ami helped organise the planning and delivery of weddings. Just this past summer she has spent her time working for Eurocamp as a rep in Spain advising guests about the local area and activities as well as maintaining the high standards in the accommodations.

Ami is highly organised with a meticulous attention to detail and takes pride in the work she does which is why we know she will be a great for Purple Ski.

Katie Hodges, Chalet Assistant - Age 22

Katie Hodges Having just graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Criminology, Katie is taking some time out to fulfil her love of skiing. Originally from Devon, Katie has a wealth of hospitality experience including working at the Lord Haldon country hotel where she assisted in the preparation of weddings and conferences, as well training and mentoring new members of staff. More recently but over many years, Katie has been working at the Great Barn wedding venue acting as venue manager. This past summer Katie has been working as a wave manager for Activate NCS a youth organisation which involved coordinating team leaders and assistants with the planning of activities and sessions.

As well as being an experienced skier, Katie is a keen paddle boarder and likes to stay active. This will be her first season and her get up and seize the day outlook will stand her in good stead for the season to come and we’re excited to have her as part of the team.

Angus Webster, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 24

Angus Webster Angus, from the Borders area of Scotland, graduated in 2017 from Edinburgh Napier University in Marketing Management, after which he worked in a range of different positions in New Zealand as a Brand Ambassador for the IN Group, an Analyst for the Ministry of Education, an Applicator for Concrete Solutions and a Food and Beverage attendant for Skyline. Since returning to Scotland he has been employed as a Driver and Guide for Radical Travel Ltd (Haggis Adventures/Highland Explorer Tours) leading groups of up to 41 passengers on day and multi day tours. He also has previous experience as a waiter at the exclusive wedding venue Wedderburn Castle.

Angus is a keen traveller and rugby player who enjoys engaging with his clients. He strapped on some skis for the first time last season and immediately became enamoured with the sport. This year he aims to improve his skills on the slopes, we are so happy to have him back this season.

Chalet La Petite Pia

Dane Williamson, Chef - Age 29

Dane Williamson Back for his forth season with us (he loves it!), Dane’s career in cooking started when he was 15 years old and at secondary school, when he opted to work in the kitchen of a busy pub near his home in Sunderland for a 2 week “work experience” stint, basically expecting to have a holiday. He hated his first, exhaustingly busy day but then fascination set in and, 13 years later, he hasn’t looked back since! He worked at that pub whenever he could until he finished school, was offered a full time job and completed his NVQ there, finishing up – 4 years later - as chef de partie.

He then moved to The Seaham Hall Hotel in Durham, where he worked for 2.5 years, in the kitchens of their fine dining restaurant with 2 AA rosettes; this is where he says he probably learned the most, honing his technique but also his discipline and precision before moving to his favourite job (until now!), as chef de partie at the very busy and demanding kitchen at The Samling Hotel in Cumbria (which won its Michelin star and the title “Best Boutique Dining Hotel in the World” while he was there). Young, ambitious and passionate about his food he is always looking for new challenges and so for the past 2 years has done a lot of agency work at many other high end restaurants, though often returning to The Samling when needed. He has spent the past 3 summers working as a private chef for a very high end client at his villa in St Tropez (cooking for celebrities ...and royals too!).

As well as being an excellent chef, Dane is a real people person, intelligent, chatty, funny and caring. Work is very much his primary focus but he loves skiing and so he is really pleased to be able to continue his career and professional development while also being able to improve his skiing skills. We are so pleased and proud to have him back on the team.

Althea Cooley, Chalet Manager - Age 25

Althea Cooley Althea, originally from Cardiff, Wales has a degree in English Literature from the University of Cardiff and also knowledge of French, Spanish, German and Welsh. Althea has excellent customer service skills after spending two years working at Principality Stadium as a Hospitality Box waitress serving high profile customers, providing silver service and butler service. She also worked as a Customer Service Assistant at Waitrose and at the George and Pilgrim’s Inn.

She spent a year at Wales Council for Voluntary Action as an intern and later a Project Assistant/Campaign Manager, and volunteered with Game on Wales, an initiative to encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to take up sport. In July 2017 she took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator at the National Museum of Wales overseeing four hundred volunteers in twenty roles over seven sites and often managing large scale events. Her most recent post was that of Grants Officer for British Council. Althea is both competent and personable, she enjoys socialising, baking and doing yoga. We are delighted to have her back with us this winter season.

Ryan Smith, Chalet Assistant/Driver/Masseuse - Age 34

Ryan Smith Ryan has been running his own sports massage and therapist company in Derbyshire for over a year now which initially started out as a mobile operation and is now a successful clinic. Through his service he has provided therapy to professional boxers, long distance runners and was the lead therapist to the Nottingham Lions ice hockey club. This experience has also led him to guest lecturing at Derby University for the sports massage component of their sports therapy degree.

Having previously been in the British Army he was respected by his peers for his knowledge, high level of attention to detail and being very organised.

Ryan is a keen long distance runner and has run several marathons and ultra-marathons also ice skating on his own or with ice hockey teams. With a philosophy to do ordinary things extraordinarily well, Ryan will be a great asset to the Purple Ski team this season.

Chalet La Varappe

Glenn Davies, Chef - Age 27

Glenn Davies Glenn, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, originally started studying Information Technology but, through a friend, ended up having a trial at the 2 AA rosette awarded restaurant at the nearby 5* Seaham Hall Hotel & Spa in Durham and after just a few days, fell in love with cooking and chose to pursue it as his career. He stayed at Seaham Hall for 18 months as commis chef in their two restaurants before moved on to other fine dining restaurants including the 2 AA rosette Library Restaurant at the Matfen Hall Hotel in Northumberland and the Samling Hotel in the Lake District (1*) where Glenn first met his friend Dane Williamson (chef - La Petite Pia)). For the last 4 years he has been working at the Charles Bathhurst / CB Inn in the Yorkshire Dales, where he was quickly promoted to Head Chef and earned for the restaurant its reputation for excellent food and it's AA rosette award.

A good all round chef, with Glenn has great self-belief, but always strives to improve himself and to learn. He is quietly funny, laid back and gets on well with everyone, also very organised, adaptable, a good problem solver and loves a clean and tidy kitchen! He is very sporty (he used to be a good rugby player - playing on the wing and also table tennis) so took to skiing impressively quickly. By the end of the season he was competing with the best.

He joined us breifly at the end of last season and we've managed to tempt him back for another full season.

Freya Reid, Chalet Manager - Age 22

Freya Reid Originally from Bath, before her first season, Freya graduated from University of Aberystwyth with a B.A (Hons) degree in English Literature and will be joining us as a Relief Chalet Assistant. She has already acquired significant customer service experience having worked as the assistant manager of Ring o Bells an award winning gastropub, a shop assistant at a high street chain and as bar staff at functions for HAP Recruitment throughout the country. Extremely organised and good at adapting to situations, Freya loves working as part of a team and is a self-admitted perfectionist who enjoys engaging with clients and always strives to go the extra mile to make their day. She did a fantastic job as our Relief Chalet Assistant last year and so this year has moved into a fixed chalet position. We are delighed to have her back.

Simon Rigg, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 45

Simon Rigg Originally from Cheshire and a seasoned skier since the age of ten, Simon will be returning to the Alps for the forth time. Before coming to Purple Ski last year, he did 2 seasons, 1 based in Courchevel and 1 in La Feclaz. He is well accustomed to driving in Alpine conditions, is a fully qualified HGV driver and has twenty five years' experience driving transit vans in addition to tractors, quadbikes, diggers and dumpers. He has worked in landscape gardening for over twenty years running his own company Outdoor Living Landscapes for eight years, and for the past two years he has been a team leader at Bliss Landscapes managing projects and liaising with customers and clients.

Outside of work he enjoys spending time with family and friends, off-roading, camping, foraging and walking his whippet. Simon is a very sociable, hardworking person who always does his utmost to please his clients. We are so glad to have him back this season.

Chalet Margaux

Alistair Alexander, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 29

Alistair Alexander Ali, from Kent, joins us with a strong background in sports. After completing his degree in Sports and exercise science at Canterbury Christ Church University he then went on to become a PE teacher at St Anselm’s Catholic School before becoming second in charge of the department. Ali is passionate about outdoor pursuits having previously lead students on outdoor adventure trips whilst also finding the time to coach and play with football and rugby teams in and around Kent with finals and trophies along the way.

Having recently travelled around New Zealand and before that China to set up an English language course company with a friend; Ali is now very excited for the season ahead. We welcome onboard his enthusiasm and positive attitude to the team.


Sol Garrett-Hanna, Chalet Assistant/Driver - Age 24

Sol Garrett-Hanna Born and bred in rural Scotland, Sol loves all things outdoors be it snowboarding, climbing or biking. He enjoys travelling and has spent the last year working in New Zealand chasing the snow and working in a hostel in Lake Tekapo helping guests book tours and plan their trips. Previously he has worked as a bike mechanic both in Glasgow and Perth which went hand in hand with his passion for the sport.

Sol is an all round handy guy with lots of experience in land scaping, carpentry and construction whilst gaining a degree in Mechanical engineering at The University of Dundee. We look forward to the energy and positive outlook that Sol will bring to the team.

Masseuses

Maura Coffey, Chalet Assistant/Masseuse - Age 24

Maura Coffey Originally from Ireland Maura graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Physiotherapy. Following the completion of her degree she stayed on in the South Wales area gaining valuable experience in the NHS specialising in Musculoskeletal and sports medicine. Maura has also worked part time for Llandaff North rugby club where she independently runs assessments, providing pitch side physio cover for the ladies rugby team and pre and post event massage for the players. As well as the physio work she has spent a number of years working at the Glamorgan cricket club hosting guests in private hospitality boxes. With her experience and knowledge we know that Maura will be a great asset to Purple Ski.

Ryan Smith, Chalet Assistant/Driver/Masseuse - Age 34

Ryan Smith Ryan has been running his own sports massage and therapist company in Derbyshire for over a year now which initially started out as a mobile operation and is now a successful clinic. Through his service he has provided therapy to professional boxers, long distance runners and was the lead therapist to the Nottingham Lions ice hockey club. This experience has also led him to guest lecturing at Derby University for the sports massage component of their sports therapy degree.

Having previously been in the British Army he was respected by his peers for his knowledge, high level of attention to detail and being very organised.

Ryan is a keen long distance runner and has run several marathons and ultra-marathons also ice skating on his own or with ice hockey teams. With a philosophy to do ordinary things extraordinarily well, Ryan will be a great asset to the Purple Ski team this season.