OnTheSnow interviewed Andrew Dunn, founder of luxury ski holiday company Scott Dunn, to find out about the business and what inspired him to set it up.
OTS: What does Scott Dunn specialise in?
Andrew Dunn: Scott Dunn specialises in luxury tailor-made holidays worldwide. Our heritage is ski - and many people still recognise us for our luxury chalet experience. We operate 23 chalets in Val d'Isère, Courchevel 1850, Zermatt and St Anton.
OTS: What inspired you to set up the ski company Scott Dunn?
Andrew Dunn: It all started in 1986 after visiting my sister in Verbier where she was working as a chalet host and I instantly fell in love with skiing. As a strapped-for-cash university student I could only afford an afternoon ski pass, so I helped my sister out in her chalet each morning and realised everything could be done infinitely better. I decided if I wanted to ski for free, I had better set up my own ski company.
OTS: How did you go about setting up the company?
Andrew Dunn: First of all, I chose Portes du Soleil as the place to set up - it's connected to one of the largest linked ski areas and as a 21-year-old there was no hope that I could break into the Courchevel 1850s of this world. Then I had to find a ski chalet and I ended up finding two, Clairs Matin and Coccinelle in Champéry.
The next step was assembling a team. I remember buying a Peugeot 505 and a Land Rover to do the airport transfers - in those days I was doing up to three airport runs a day.
We had a fantastic small team in that first year which consisted of a group of my friends; Annie Hammond, who was a very good cook, Simon Maxwell was our ski guide and Tania and Claire our chalet girls. I pretty much did everything else, backup chef, backup guide, all the accounts and bookings.
In my trusted Land Rover, I drove an entire season's worth of bacon over from the UK so we could offer guests a decent full English. We also brought over proper duvets for the bedrooms, rather than blankets, and dozens of electric foot spas so guests could soak their feet after skiing - the vibration from these foot spas made the entire chalet rattle.
OTS: Which of your ski holidays are you most proud of?
Andrew Dunn: I'm very proud of our current operation in Val d'Isère. We now feature eight chalets, seven of which all have their own private swimming pools, including our beautiful Flagship Chalets; Eagle's Nest and Le Rocher. Val d'Isère is also home to our winter children's club which offers childcare for junior guests from as young as four months, up to 13 years. In St Anton, Chalet Artemis is probably the most decadent of all our chalets, with its own 12-seater cinema and wellness area. Chalets have certainly come a long way since we started 25 years ago.
Next article: OTS catches up with legend-in-the-making Seb Toots
Previous article: MD of Peak Retreats sold house to finance business start-up