Friday, 6 July 2018

Book Review - Snow Business by Andrew Reed - Bookish World Cup - Sweden

Amazon UK
Title: Snow Business
Author: Andrew Reed
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Matador
Publication Date: 23rd January 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

A humorous account of what it’s really like to be a ski rep
A useful guide for aspiring ski reps, providing insight into a typical winter season
Explores Swedish culture and traditions– portrays Sweden in an honest, different light

Andrew Reed spent a winter as a ski rep for a well known UK travel company in the resort of Åre, Sweden. The book is a humorous account of his experiences from the daunting first week of the selection process in Austria, the convoluted journey by road, ship and rail to the resort itself and through the hectic first month of setting up in resort.

The chapters that follow reveal a very different type of ski resort to the normal alpine resort with activities that included snowmobile safaris, husky dog sledging, chaotic reindeer rides and visits to the spectacular frozen waterfall. Even the Northern Lights and the real Santa Claus make brief appearances.

The book offers a realistic, honest perspective and explains the strains and pressures of the job, including working in close proximity to others over such a long, hard season which finished well beyond the alpine resorts. It will help aspiring reps to prepare by offering useful advice and encouragement, but it is also of interest to the wider ski and travel community.

Snow Business is based on Andrew’s Nordic adventures and it provides a fascinating insight into the country, its people and its traditions, along with the quirks of the language. It will appeal to those who love all things skiing, or those with an interest in Swedish culture.

Being a former summer season children's rep, I was automatically drawn to a book written by someone who spent a season as a rep, even if it was at the other end of the experience pool to me. For Andrew Reed spend a season in the 90s in a ski resort in Sweden. 

Amazingly I could relate to so much of this book, from the detailed training week, which had so many elements that rang true to my own experiences, to the amazement at some of the things  guests say while on holiday.  

What made this book so special though was it wasn't just about the after ski, or the drunken nights out of which are prevalent in this lifestyle, but how keen Andrew was to learn some Swedish, and experience all the excursions and gain everything he could from his 6 months in the middle of nowhere. 

From the ridiculous journey from the training week in Austria, to the resort in Sweden,  which was not the logical flight, which reminded me of my third season in Greece, with a long day of travelling that seemed largely unnecessary , to the descriptions of some of his epic skiing adventures, I felt as though I was alongside Andrew for every step of the way. 

I loved how the book was split into 6 chapters one for each month he was in Sweden, but that also there were many subheadings that tended to be Abba song titles.  As the season progressed we hear about different groups of guests, friendships with the locals,  and the excursions.   Wow I wish I had been able to take part in some of these trips they all sounded fabulous. 

There are mentions of the excitement when a major fast food chain was opening up in the nearest town,  and I can liken that to my own experiences of a supermarket chain being expected to open a branch near the resort I was in one year, or the pre-season exploration of the island where all the others I was with had to eat in that same fast food chain, when I would have been happier in any proper restaurant. 

There are some stories from this that will stick with me, especially the one involving a bear, or the one with the off piste skiing, or the racing, and the general frustration with your colleagues is something I could also fully relate too.

 Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of Snow Business, and reading while the Winter Olympics was taking place meant I understood a bit more of the skiing terms than I may have normally. If anyone wants to know what life as a ski rep or holiday rep in general is like then this is definitely worth a read. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Matador for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

1 comment:

  1. We took our kids to Åre to learn how to ski - it was a wonderful place and they took to it straight away! Can highly recommend the local cafe too - Swedish cakes and buns are delicious :-D


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