Who we are
When Conor and Fay Watney bought their first chalet in 2006 this provided them with the opportunity to realize the initial stage of a dream they had been nurturing to start a successful holiday business. It also provided the potential to combine business with a passion they shared for the mountains. Thus Green Rides was born – only it took only a comparative short time to mushroom from a humble, single-chalet operation at La Rosière, into a dynamic enterprise that remains personal and very hands-on.
Needless to say, through a mix of sheer stamina, hard work, a whole lot of drive and enthusiasm, that one chalet operation has grown into a hand-picked portfolio offering accommodation in ten ski chalets at four vibrant centres. Alongside this, to fulfil a need to encourage like-minded mountain lovers to learn the craft of chalet hosting and cuisine preparation, Green Rides added it’s equally successful Chalet Cookery School that trains a new breed of hosts during the spring and summer.
One of the fundamental reasons for the success of Green Rides is its people.
These are all, without exception, extraordinary people – but then you’d expect us to say that! But we really are a tightly-knit group of young, winter resort professionals that are not afraid to put in long hours to ensure our guests have a memorable holiday for all the right reasons. When we boast of our folk being special – it is because the key people have shared our goals since the beginning and have helped steer Green Rides through its first decade. In the holiday industry, this is unusual to say the least. The bond we have built translates into a management team that not only has a wealth of experience, but is strong with endless amounts of energy that has already shaped and finely tuned the organisation into one of the most impressive and reliable ski holiday companies on the slopes.
Please let us introduce some of the names and faces behind Green Rides
Conor Watney – Founder & Managing Director
Originally from London, Conor studied architecture before joining Prema Designs in Sydney, Australia. Keen on learning the intricacies of finance – he moved into the banking sector, returned to the UK and became a futures trader with Refco International from 2003 until 2005. Somewhere along the way he met Fay – found they were like-minded – and they got married. Both had a yearning for the mountains and they went to the French Alps and in 2006, bought Chalet Montperron at La Rosière and started Green Rides. Their eye for detail and skill towards delivering what skiers wanted rapidly turned Green Rides into one of the industry’s most respected travel and ski companies. Conor, of course, includes skiing as a main love, but he also enjoys surfing, socialising, eating Chinese food and studying science.
Fay Watney – Co-Founder, Consultant & Client Advisor
Having studied travel and tourism in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she was raised, Fay moved to England to study English. After being ‘swept off her feet’ by Conor they married and set to work by taking up the challenge to create their vision of creating an energetic winter sports business. With her experience in hotel management and cuisine, Fay has been instrumental in establishing the disciplines behind the chalet structure and plays a key role in staff training. Away from the piste, she enjoys fashion, rock ‘n’ roll and good food.
Carla Atack – Accounts
Carla has the financial brain that keeps the wheels of the company moving forward. As an ex-pat from Cyprus, she added a wealth of industry know-how to Green Rides when she moved from Ski World. With extensive qualifications in accountancy, she gained enormous practical financial experience while working in a London private equity firm that she now puts to good use by keeping Green Rides on an even keel by running all aspects of the accounting back-office. As a very active person, Carla enjoys trail running, yoga, swimming an – of course – skiing.
Martyn Hanley – Senior Operations Manager
A relative newcomer to the management team, Martyn, a Yorkshireman, originally joined Green Rides in 2012 as a chalet host. After his obvious leadership and guest relationship potential was quickly spotted, he moved to a leading role and has been largely responsible for moving the Cookery School forward. This proved to be a natural progression for someone with his wide culinary expertise. Formerly with Snowbound, Martyn, with typical candour, has adopted the mantle of fine-tuning the infrastructure of the business by ensuring that every detail runs smoothly and efficiently. His main loves are skiing, food, wine and, for his sins, supporting Yorkshire Rovers (who, we are led to believe are a rugby league club somewhere north of Watford!)
Matthew Creighton – Junior Operations Manager
After gaining flying colours when he joined the company as a senior ski technician as recently as 2014, Matthew was ‘head-hunted’ by Martyn (who he worked with at Snowbound) to compliment him as a second operations manager. In his short time with Green Rides, he has already proved to be of the ‘right stuff’ in every aspect of his role and his enthusiasm shows no bounds. A native of Derry, Northern Ireland, two-years ago Matthew put his career on hold and took to the saddle by cycling from his homeland to Asia. He lists skiing, surfing and socialising as his main loves.
Our Senior Team
These are the people who make Green Rides tick from day to day
Conor Watney (Director)
Fay Watney (Consultant)
Martyn Hanley (Operations & Logistics Manager)
Charlie Batt (Office manager, France)
Matthew Creighton (Transport planning, ski hire & surf co-ordinator)