Some people here in Chamonix have very enviable jobs, including Jacinta McHale who is the bubbly 'Visage Anglais' for Evolution 2 Chamonix. She tells us a bit more about what they do, what brought her to Chamonix and her love of men in lycra...well maybe just men in general...!
Tell us a little bit about your business, how it started out and where you're based...
Evolution2 is a Ski School / High Mountain Guides & Adventure company. It evolved in Tignes 26 years ago and was created by Herve Favre. Over the years it has expanded to be an award winning ski school. It’s a company that evolves with the times and current trends, so ski schools no longer just consist of people following instructors in snake like shapes down the slopes. Off piste, Glacial Skiing, Ice Climbing, Freestyle, Parapents, Ice Diving, and much more is offered by each Evolution2 base, spread over 12 resorts in France. In the summer it’s filled with adventures on Rock, ice, Water, Air and Land… We also branched out into events and have offices on the coast too…
I am based in Chamonix… My role is ‘La Visage Anglais’ the English face! At first I thought it meant I would be their poster girl everywhere, but sadly they chose me more for my abilities in business as opposed to my looks….Whenever there’s a photo shoot, they always stand me at the back behind a tall person.
How long have you been in your current role and how long have you been with the company?
After many years working for Tour Operators all over Europe, I realised I was falling into the trap of becoming an ‘SOAAF’ Scared Of Anything Adventurous Freak’. What better way to cure this than to go and work for one of our partners – an adrenalin filled adventure company… I have been here 2 years now.
What makes Chamonix a special place to be for someone in your profession?
It’s just so diverse and for us it’s an amazing place, with great opportunities for us to really give people an exhilarating time. As opposed to just being a ski resort, we have not only a wide variation of middle mountain ski areas but the high mountain, back country and off piste possibilities here are just outstanding! As opposed to being a resort purpose built between ski lifts, we are a town where the ski lifts came afterwards. Situated between Italy and Swiss borders, we have amazing geographical location to pop to these resorts too – though Chamonix has it all! In the summer it offers just as much adventure.
I call Chamonix Mother Nature’s playground. I haven’t even started on the view yet….once that stops blowing your mind, you must be dead on the inside…
What are the best bits about your job?
I LOVE my job! I liase with all the English speaking companies. I am responsible for all the marketing, sales and contracting. I visit all the staff pre-season to train them on products. I visit their guests when they arrive, to welcome them and explain their adventures for the week. I go to ski school with the instructors. I represent the Chamonix office at shows and events. I visit the guests and make sure they are having a fab time. I work with a great team of people who love the mountains. I HAVE to experience all our products to be able to sell them. I spend all my time with people on holiday and I love making their holiday more special. Everyone brings money to spend on holiday and if I can get them to enjoy an adventure, instead of buying a stuffed Marmotte, then great. Behaviour breeds behaviour and I love spreading energy, happiness and fun!
And the worst bits...?
It’s only in the summer time that my male work colleagues take their tops off, at the rafting base...
What is in store for the future with your business, any exciting projects in the pipelines that you can share with us?
The beauty of Evolution2 is that it’s always on the look out for the next big adventure, as well as keeping things traditional, so as not to lose originality. A recent project is our Heliski Marrakech – you can ski off piste in the morning and be in a pool or hot tub in the sun in afternoon… we will always look to offer unique experiences.
What are you personal and professional goals for the future?
I live in the day and will stay in this role until I get bored. It’s an ideal role for me – I love people, I love guests and still believe we deal with dreams and if I can make that dream better, what a great achievement that is… My professional goal is that each guest is 100% happy and to marry Herve Favre.
Personally I always have goals – travel is one and personal achievement is another - if something scares me, then I will do it! I am also lucky in that I take my holidays and go work for the Tour de France, another exceptional and amazing role that I love! One day I aim meet a really fit, sexy man and live on a ranch where he works the land wearing no top - only for about a week though, then I’d be bored.
What's your favourite piste or off-piste area & top tip to go skiing?
I love all pistes and was pretty much a GM [Grands Montets] virgin till I worked for Evo2 and hate to be with the in crowd but it’s a great area. However, long pistes, sunshine & powder are my faves, whatever the area….I love to go to Italy on my days off and use my tickets to see more of the Haute Savoie!
What has been your best ever day in Chamonix?
Too many to mention! Helicopter flights, parties up the mountain, being dangled into a crevasse, boarding in powder in amazing conditions, looking at the view, amazing hikes with Snoop Dog, super special moments with friends – Chamonix attracts a certain type of person – those who appreciate life, who live in the moment, who laugh, play, don’t judge, enjoy and appreciate…. Everyday in Chamonix is the best.
Do you remember your first trip to Chamonix?
Yes! I was sent here, under duress, when I worked in Italy – I had to go on a training course and I detest sitting in enclosed areas all day! Luckily it was in Cham – I remember walking into town and seeing the glacier tumbling down the mountain, as the sun set - there and then I decided I was going to live here. Within 8 months here I was..
What's your favourite thing to do in resort when not skiing or snowboarding?
Walking the dog by the rivers, in the forests or in the mountains – the changing seasons make it all magical. I love road biking and people watching in the evening as the sun sets. Oh and perving – mountain men are so fit and sexy. I get neck ache from rubber necking so much.
What do you do in the summer?
I also take 2 weeks off to go work on the Tour de France – I spend 14 days with guests, meeting amazing people, getting caught up in the carnival of fun and atmosphere of this amazing sport, guiding them around and loving life! I am a professional stalker of cyclists and perver of men in lycra (well the sprinters anyway – the climbers have physiques of brooms – Chris Broome).
Which is your favourite shop in resort?
I only window shop in Chamonix as it is expensive!
Where are we most likely to find you for après-ski?!
Thanks Jacinta.. we'll keep an eye out for topless, ranch-owning mountain men for you :-)