The youngest ‘lifty’ in La Clusaz

<Photo of kid in charge at Grands Laquais drag lift in l'Etale, La Clusaz >This kid is definitely the youngest lift operator in La Clusaz.

I’m not sure he’s a paid worker, given he’s still sucking on his dummy, but he was certainly happy to direct people with his pole as they arrived at the drag lift at Grands Laqauis on the l’Etale area of La Clusaz yesterday.

You can see how high he’s raised off the ground by the man behind him in the photo. I faffed around with my new camera phone while he patiently posed for me.

There used to be two drag lifts here, and the kid is standing on the remnants of the old one, which was taken out in 2008 after the costs of running it outstripped profits for the small private company which owns the two lifts.

I could talk about how the retired lift is still there because it’s been up for sale ever since, and how the remaining one is now a thriving hub for people learning how to speedride, and how half way up the drag lift is a sign indicating CCTV is watching you to make sure you don’t stray outside the straight tracks, but the following photo is far more interesting to talk about.

If you look closely, you’ll see it’s the same kid, later the same day, now using a battery-powdered drill with a massive drill bit attached.

This is not a pretend drill!

<Photo of a kid with a drill at Grand Laquais drag lift in l'Etale, La Clusaz >The drill is black and just by his foot, and again, faffing with my new camera phone meant I didn’t get the shot I wanted of him in action with the drill. His parents were nearby, by the way.

I’m not convinced that a boy who is still sucking a dummy should really be left in charge of a power tool, even if his parents weren’t far away. However, he certainly seemed far more capable with the drill than I am, and maybe he’s been doing this for a long time, relatively speaking, already.

By the time I was on the drag lift, he’d drilled a second hole (that first one was too wide for the pole to slide into, as you can see in the photo). The drill bit was stuck in the hole in the snow with the drill attached, so he was trying to figure out how to remove it.

That’s the last I saw of the entertaining little guy as I headed up on the drag lift he’d probably kick started that morning after piste bashing it overnight. That’s one talented little kid, destined for a career in lift management!

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced professional writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Read more...

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