Sidmouth girl Lauren lands job managing top Italian ski resort

Lauren Vanstone in Sestrie`re. Picture: Conrad Sutcliffe

Lauren Vanstone in Sestrie`re. Picture: Conrad Sutcliffe - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth College old girl Lauren Vanstone is gearing up for a busy New Year looking after hundreds of holidaymakers every week in a top Italian ski resort.

Lauren, 26, left the college intending to carve out a career in journalism. She never dreamed she would be managing a ski destination for one of the biggest travel companies in Europe.

Two years into her studies in London, Lauren decided on a change of direction – and followed brother Adam’s advice to spend a winter working in a ski resort.

“Adam had done a season working in a bar in Meribel and said I should try a winter season myself,” said Lauren, who worked at Fields of Sidmouth before going to university.

“We had always gone skiing with Andy, my dad, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and gave it a go.”

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Seven years later, Lauren has worked her way up from chalet host to customer representative and now resort manager for Crystal Ski in Sestrie?re.

The resort – an hour-and-a-half from Turin in the Italian Alps – opened for business last week and Lauren was there with her staff of five waiting for the first batch of arrivals.

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Lauren’s job meant working Christmas Day, not that it bothered her at all.

“It is a great job – not nine to five at all – and I have to prick myself every day to remind myself how lucky I am to be doing a job I love,” said Lauren.

“Working for Crystal has allowed me to spend time in some fantastic places, not just ski resorts but summer destinations like Lake Garda.”

Lauren’s first taste of life as a seasonaire – the travel trade term for a seasonal, ex-pat worker – was as a chalet host for Crystal in La Plagne in the French Alps.

Having learned the basics of the travel trade it was next stop Bardonecchia on the Italian side of the Alps.

It didn’t take long for Lauren to get accustomed to the Italian way of life and when the opportunity came up to work for Crystal around Lake Garda – summer holiday destination of the discerning rich and famous – she jumped at it.

Two promotions later Lauren now has her own resort with all the challenges looking after staff and customers brings.

“It certainly isn’t routine – no two days are the same and that is one of the best bits of the job,” she said.

Sidmouth remains home for Lauren, although she only gets back a couple of times a year.

“I get back for 10-12 days between seasons before going back out to Italy for the summer season,” said Lauren.

“The gap between seasons is longer – five to six weeks – and I get more time at home then.

“One of the first things I do is take my dog for a walk up Peak Hill and soak up the views.

“And a must for me is to drop into Fields, where my mum Gail works, and catch up with everyone.

“My old friends there always want to know where I have been since I last saw them – and where I am going next.”

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