Ahead of her new mobile massage venture in Morzine, Nicole chats the pull of the mountains but wanting to do something more serious than a bar job and the power of making clients float home from massages
When I was a little kid, I lived in America and the badass teenager of the neighbourhood lived next door. For some reason he took me under his wing (my parents were less than thrilled) and introduced me to his greatest passion: skateboarding. I was only 5 or 6, so my skills equalled zero, but it put the love of board riding in me. Still, I was 18 before I went snowboarding, straight into a season because I landed a job in a bar and found a place to live. I’ve never looked back and have never found much, if anything, I enjoy doing more in the winter months.
Nothing beats a day of riding good snow. I love surfing, although I have to admit to being a warm weather surfer, living in Australia in my 20s spoilt me for anything else. Swimming is a close rival for year round fun; living by the sea I get to sea swim and love being out there with the seagulls while everyone else is stuck on the shoreline. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting into or onto the water, the mental space it gives you while your body’s doing the hard work.
Having done four seasons and a few summers in between, it’s been a few years since I’ve lived in the mountains, but I don’t think I ever stopped wishing I still did. What was always missing before, was something I could do out there that was a bit more wholesome than working in a bar and a bit more personally rewarding than working in a chalet.
I’ve always been interested in how the body works and loved giving massages and as a sporty person from age dot, am fascinated by how it can help take away aches and pains. So it felt like a natural progression, although a long time coming, for me to put two and two together and get involved in massage therapy. Combine that with the knowledge I wasn’t done with the mountains and the thought that there can be few places on earth where people are going to need a massage more and an idea took seed. Hey presto Mobile Mountain Massage was born.
I’d always lived in Chamonix, but decided to move to Morzine and set up the massage business because as soon as I arrived to visit it felt right. It still feels nascent, like it’s just discovering what it’s capable of, like it’s got room for one-woman businesses and ideas and will help them grow and prosper. I love Chamonix, but I felt my time there had ended. Morzine feels a bit like the feisty younger sister, just finding her feet. Plus, the scope of the riding area is pretty phenomenal and the lake and climbs are amazing.
I love the mountains, in summer and in winter, their beauty, the strength of them and the massive of variety of things you can do in them (ok a week of white-outs is pretty dull). But also the people who flock to them to live and work, I always felt that for most people in the UK it’s normal to be quite sedentary, in the mountains you get looked at like you’re weird if you’re not doing anything.
I get a kick out of having someone walk away from an hour on my massage couch, feeling so much better than when they crawled onto it. The best compliment I’ve ever had, was a woman saying she felt like she floated home and clients coming back again and again. I also find it really relaxing, you get into the zone and it’s almost as peaceful for me as it is for the person having the massage. I have a sort of sixth sense when it comes to knots in muscles; I just seem to be able to find them, even when people don’t know they’re there themselves. I’m not quite sure how it happens, but I’m pretty glad it does!
If I could get people to do one thing, (apart from saying no to fracking, stopping drilling for oil in the Arctic, stamping out homophobia, sex tourism, child abuse and repression of women to name a few!), I’d say to do what you love and love what you do, because our time on earth is far too short to not!
Discounts available if you book your massage from the UK before your trip