Christmas is over but Hallmark has found a way to capitalize on all seasons. So now we have a month of winter-but-not-Christmas movies. Guess what? I’m here for it. I even kept up all my snowflake Christmas decorations because winter deserves to be celebrated. This is the first in Hallmark’s “WinterFest” series. It premiered on January 4, 2020. Let’s get in to it.
Lacey Chabert, Chelsea, is giving a presentation about a very fancy vacation or trip to the Swiss Alps. This is for a group of music executive and she came in under budget. Oh, her boss is too busy for the rest of the presentation. Chelsea is so bummed. She walks out of the meeting and her friend thinks she might be up for Vice President!! Now her boss wants to talk to her. What could that be about?
Trish, her boss, is blown away by her ice palace presentation. Trish totally tricks Chelsea into thinking she is up for VP but really she wants Chelsea to be really welcoming to their new employee. Oh dang, they went with an outside hire for the VP. That is what this guy will be doing.
She and the friend, Vienna, go to lunch. Chelsea is bummed. But an hour ago she didn’t even know she was up for it. Vienna gives her something she had to sign for. Her uncle left her a “Chalet” in Vail in his will. She hasn’t even seen him since high school. We should all be so lucky. This is sort of the last straw for her. She orders the same thing for lunch every day, which is not enough to eat for lunch anyway and she’s just fed up with it all apparently. Planning lux vacations for rich people is just too BORING.
She goes back to work and decides to quit. She is going to go to the chalet and figure out her life I guess.
She pulls up in Vail and literally just parks in the middle of the road. A grouchy guy is unloading boxes and tells her she can’t park. But I do think he is still probably the cutest guy from the Christmas movie series so I’m going to allow it. There is no parking or driving in town. So she has to move her car. She stops to pet all the dogs, as you must. Oh she wanders around and runs into a man who runs the Edelweiss restaurant. He tells her where to find a grocery store. Oh that grouchy guy is the nice restaurant owner’s son.
This grocery store actually looks like what you’d see in a small town. She is having trouble reading the labels on the food but apparently she was just in the German aisle of the grocery store. So maybe she should just get out of that aisle and keep walking. She runs into an employee of the Edelweiss.
She finally makes it to the chalet. She meets Bev, not Beverly, who must be the realtor or maybe someone connected to her uncle’s estate. Inside, there is a lot of construction equipment in here. Her uncle was in the middle of a remodel when he died. Oh and the heater doesn’t work either. She might not be able to stay there while she sorts this all out. She goes outside on the deck and sees a telescope. Shouldn’t they store that inside? The contractor will be there soon though!
Inside, the water coming out of the sink is brown. I really feel she should have come here first before committing to groceries. She goes to turn on the fireplace and gets stuff all over her hands. The contractor arrives and well, wouldn’t you know it. It’s the grouchy grouch. He gets the fire going for her and then they go to look at the heat situation. The grouchy grouch’s name is Owen. Chelsea tells him she owns the place. So that was pretty obvious right? They stopped doing the renovations when he died.
They go outside and they want to start over. She says, let’s compromise and say our little dust up was all your fault. That’s cute. She wants him to keep going on the renovations but she’s not sure what she can afford since she just quit her job. Also, she hasn’t seemed to need her phone all day and has no idea where it is! Isn’t that just the darnedest thing.
That night, the Edelweiss is just hopping. She and Owen go there together. Carl, the owner shows up and is like what! You guys know each other! And then Molly, his only other employee I guess? He wants to make something special for Chelsea. The place is empty because everyone is at the really fancy places. Wow, Owen is wearing a truly beautiful sweater. Oh wow, Chelsea learns that her uncle co owned the place and was best friends with Carl. He was a pastry chef at the Edelweiss. She shares that they weren’t that close and she was surprised he gave her the chalet. Wow, their dinner is ready immediately. After dinner, they take a horse drawn carriage around town. They’ve sure come a long way since this morning! Dang. More parking jokes. Just killing it.
Owen is like, wait you’re not staying at the house tonight? It’s haunted. Just kidding. He didn’t say that. But isn’t it probably haunted? She gets back and the heat is broken. So instead of scouring the house for murderers, she just goes right up to a bedroom with lots of blankets. Somehow she has the internet and is researching how to fix the heat. Her friend calls and they catch up.
Owen arrives the next morning to find Chelsea both murdered and frozen to death. Just kidding. She overslept I guess. Oh, no she didn’t. Owen and Rob are just there at 6 AM and it’s totally light out at that time in Colorado. While Chelsea unpacks, she sees some framed photos of her and her uncle in the drawers.
She comes down and has put together a really helpful list of things to fix. Rob, apparently an idiot, starts on the floors FIRST. I don’t know anything about home construction but I would think you would do the floors last because you like walk all over them and they get super dirty and stuff?
Owen gets to work on the plumbing. Trying to help, Chelsea douses him with water.
Outside, she builds herself a little bonfire. Owen comes out to see her. She is very organized and tells him about her life before and her plan for the day. He tells her all the fun stuff to do in Vail. She does ski, skate or day spa. Then he tells her about an adventure park and she seems very intrigued. But she only has free time from 4-5 so I hope that is enough time to try everything there! He’s like maybe I can come with you. And then she says she doesn’t think she has the right clothes. Owen is like, just go into town and buy some new winter gear. And she’s like yeah I have a few extra hundreds I can just impulse buy some ski gear. They plan to meet at 5 at the gondola.
She arrives with better clothes. They ride up the gondola and they talk about where she might end up next. She thinks she can only event plan in New York or LA. Well Missy, I’ve got about 40 Hallmark movies that suggest otherwise. Owen shares some of his own back story, which includes that his dad’s business is struggling to compete with all the high end restaurants in Vail.
Oh, bless her heart. Chelsea seems to have never gone tubing. Or sledding? Or anything? Oh that is heartbreaking. That looks super fun. Oh no. Here comes the snowball. Owen throws a snowball almost as hard as he can at her.
The next morning, Chelsea makes some cold calls. Owen shows up with some pastries. Great guy. The woman she calls doesn’t want her to plan her wedding anniversary from Colorado or without Elegant Events. Chelsea is blown away by the pastries. They are his uncle’s recipes that he didn’t write down. You’re telling me that they’ve totally finished with the renovation in two days? Two dudes doing plumbing, electrical, new floors…? No. She finds a scrap book and brings it to the Edelweiss to reminisce. Oh and she found his apple strudel recipe.
They decide to take the afternoon off to see the town. They go ice skating. They have a nice heart to heart as they stroll through town. Behind them, a man inexplicably carries his skis through town in full ski gear. Then they decide to make her uncle’s strudel.
At the restaurant, they get to work. Chelsea has a lot of confidence for someone who doesn’t bake. I am having a little trouble getting through this baking scene. They did it! They cut it up to try. They toast with their strudel bites. Chelsea suggests the restaurant try to make a comeback with some buzz around the strudel. People love going off the beaten path for the “best whatever” in whatever town.I know I do They wonder if there is such a thing as a strudelfest. . Later, they look at the stars together. Owen tells her a story about one of the stars. I’ve never heard that one. I think he made it up.
Turns out, there IS such a thing as a strudelfest in other countries. Why shouldn’t they host one in Vail? Owen’s dad is like, that is ridiculous. But everyone else is on board. Chelsea agrees to plan it. Carl’s in. They get to planning down at the restaurant. Carl seems to be held there against his will but everyone else is excited. Owen tells them they have a big storage room they could clean out for dancing. Apparently this is an important part of the weekend.
Owen and Chelsea cross country ski to a restaurant to find some strudel judges. How is Carl’s restaurant struggling but the one you have to cross country ski to is doing just fine? Oh, they could have driven there. But they get fondue. I would love to eat a bowl of melted cheese after being forced to cross country ski. They meet the chef and tell her about their festival idea.
That night, they get a bunch of people together from the older section of town to tell them about strudelfest. All the store owners come up with ideas for spins on strudel. Oh good question Frankie. Where is the money coming from? Everyone has to pitch in. They all seem stoked about it. She’s already made cute flyers and everything. Owen looks at Chelsea lovingly. Carl notices.
Back at Chelsea’s, Owen says she is doing a great job. He’s helping her with the electrical now I think. He’s done it. She asks if what he’s doing is enough. He’s an architect. Is he doing what he loves? It doesn’t seem that way. He changes the subject. They need one more strudel judge. Okay, I’ll do it you guys. Oh, Owen has someone in mind.
In town, signs and banners start going up for Strudelfest. Okay, I legitimately want to go to this. They head to a big fancy restaurant and meet with the chef there. She’s won a lot of awards. She says she could set up a booth. And she makes a pretty chocolate globe and then pours hot chocolate over it. Her hot chocolate recipe sounds very Scandinavian. I’m in. They now seem to be sitting in the lobby of this hotel just chowing down on fancy pastries and hot chocolate. Owen says to no one “400 more pastries please.” And well, yes I’m in for that also.
She gets home and her friend from work, Vienna is there. She looks at some old photos and they catch up. Owen is mentioned in like minute one. Vienna shares that Trish, their old boss sent her. Chelsea rudely reads a text on Vienna’s phone. Vienna says Trish will give her anything. The new guy is not a team player apparently. Well that’s what you get for hiring from the outside, girl!
Vienna stays to help set up. The ice cream owner is wearing THE BEST SWEATER I’VE SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Everything is getting set up and it looks so cute. The festival starts tonight. Carl still looks like he’s being held against his will. She walks into the back room. It looks so cute. Except there are way to many pennant style banners along the wall. We GET IT. It’s STRUDELFEST.
Carl and Chelsea have a nice moment. He says he’s thinking he might sell. But mostly so Owen isn’t stuck with taking care of him and the restaurant. They hug.
Owen says they are just missing one thing. He leads her into the kitchen. He’s got everything set up to make strudel. You know what? I’m going to make a strudel this weekend. What, like it’s hard?
That night, the party is happening. I love Chelsea’s dress. A group of old timey looking German people march in playing music.
Bev brings her strudel in and shares that she kind of like ol Carl. Lots of strudel entries. The fancy judge introduces her to a bookstore owner and wants some help planning for relocating. It’s all happening.
Oh, Owen bets her a dance that they win. Well nuts. Bev won! Bev gives a plug for her real estate business. Owen says she still owes her a dance. Because they did win because everyone is having a good time and it was a fun event. Amen to that, good sir. The restaurant worker and Vienna look on admiringly. Owen and Chelsea have a nice moment while they dance. Owen is like, you’ve made a huge difference here. She says YOU FEEL LIKE HOME. Dang girl, get it. Vienna is the WORST and knows she’s the worst and feels really bad about it. Trish is on her phone. Trish is like WHATEVER IT TAKES. Please stay. She could be a VP of whatever she wants and she could name her salary. Ooof that is tough.
Later, she talks to Owen about it. She’s like, this would be my dream job and my time in Vail is just temporary. He is sad and supportive. She says if she doesn’t try, she’ll always wonder. They hug. He says she’s changed a lot of lives here. And then Hallmark advertises for their kitten bowl across the screen which seems to be ill timed. He leaves.
At her house, Chelsea reflects on the place and how nice it is. Vienna says that some lucky buyer will snatch it right up. Why doesn’t she just keep it as an AirBnB?
Back in LA, she is back at work. Trish dumps a bunch of stuff on her desk that Danny couldn’t figure out. Trish is like, I’m so glad you’re back. It’s like nothing’s changed! Vienna is like look at your big beautiful office but it looks like Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs. Chelsea is like I really miss Vail. Vienna is like, you should go back to Vail. You were so happy there.
Back in Vail, Owen is working on some architecture. Carl shares that they are back in the Vail guide book too! People want to hold some events there too. Too bad they don’t have an event planner though right! Carl gives Owen some real talk. Owen is like, it’s too late dad. Then he eats a big bite of cake. Carl is like, Bev made the cake.
That night, Owen goes to the chalet to get his tools. But uh oh. The door is ajar. That’s not good. He is way to casual with his “hellos”. Oh! Chelsea is here! Just standing outside staring at the sky in the snow with no hat and her coat unzipped. She seems to be a little unwell. And then they KISS. He’s like wait, I thought you had everything you wanted in LA. And Owen isn’t in LA! And then they kiss again. Whew we did it. No checklist though since this isn’t a Christmas movie! Though it probably would check off quite a few. Should I keep the checklist going? Does it apply to all Hallmark movies regardless of season? Let me know what you think!