British seasonal workers stranded in empty French ski resort

When 24-year-old British photography student Jai Ashton took a job as a bartender in the French ski resort of La Plagne, a global pandemic was not part of his plans.

His goal, while living in the resort, was to produce a photo book documenting the life of a group of British seasonal workers living in neighboring Peisey Vallandry for their latest college project. But then Covid-19 forced the world to shut down and the 2020/21 ski season was left in tatters, with ski lifts in France closed indefinitely.

But what does this mean for the Brits who live, work and play in these remote mountain villages? I hope to tell their story through photography.

“Seasonal work has played a big role in my life… [but] Seasonal life is something that very little is known about outside of the community itself, ”said Jai, who completed two previous winters in the mountains, before heading to La Plagne for his project.

Due to the imperfect storm caused by Covid-19 and Brexit, seasonal workers are a ‘dying community’, ‘this season potentially being the last chance for British workers’ to end a season of skiing in the mountains.

Seasonal workers are unique in many ways. These are individuals who are forced to develop special relationships because, to put it bluntly, they “only have each other.”

In the uncertainty of their future freedoms to work in the mountains, this series of photographs is a frank look at the life of seasonal workers in the Alps.

Climbing the mountain to ski has become standard practice for seasonal workers who have more free time than ever before.


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