If you’re already a serious skier, or gnarly boarder, or if you fancy working in an incomparable outdoor environment, then hopefully this article will give you most of the information required to actively pursue a job working abroad for the coming ski season in 08/09. Most snow destinations tend to attract a mix of experienced and novice skiers who are prepared to do a range of jobs for a number of different reasons so don’t let a lack of slope time put you off applying or reading any further! You should also be prepared to head overseas from November until May the following year, if all goes according to plan; that also gives you a good window of opportunity over the summer months to get your job applications in!
Working a ski season is one of the best ways to build and refine your winter sports skills, gain valuable employment experience and meet some exciting new people, but if you are a novice or a total non skier/boarder, you should be certain this is something you want to pursue. Ditching your new job a few weeks into the start of the season, or spending 6 months sulking because you can’t stand the cold, ice and exercise will be very demoralising for you, and could cause repercussions for your teammates, your bank balance (as you would lose any employment security deposits) and your CV. With some of the larger resorts offering very strong social scenes it’s certainly possible to party your way through a ski season (providing you can still get the work done) and enjoy it just as much; the only drawback is that there may be days when you are left alone while your ski-crazy work colleagues hit the slopes.
For the more experienced winter sports fans out there, working a ski season is one of the best ways to get some quality slope time, improve your skills no end, and meet like-minded powder hounds.
One of the easiest ways to get on the slopes whilst earning enough money to fund an existence is working for a UK holiday operator as either a Resort Representative or Chalet Host; there are other jobs on offer but these two are the most common and consequently easier to bag. There will also be other roles such as kitchen porter, handy man, driver, chef, nanny / child minder, beautician, and office based staff but these may be in shorter supply.
People will always want to learn how to fling themselves down the mountain in a more controlled manner and so every resort also employs ski and snowboard instructors and technicians, but you will (of course) be required to have the relevant qualifications before even being considered for these roles and these can come at quite a premium. There are a whole host of companies offering instructor training all year round, heading wherever the snow is, but you can expect to pay upwards of £3000 to become qualified and it may take you some time to recoup this cost through actual teaching. A ski technician’s qualification comes in at a 10th of the price and will take just a few days of training the UK; this can be a less glamorous route to the slopes but as with teaching, it would give you the advantage of having a directly employable skills base for pretty much any resort worldwide.
Ski Worker Funding
One thing to bear in mind should you decide to follow your head and heart to the slopes is the levels of pay. As with nearly all jobs in travel and tourism, wages are not great and if you’re planning on saving while working then you should reconsider this! Unless you spend a few years climbing the company ladder to a senior position, you can expect to earn enough to live on while in resort but not to lead an extravagant lifestyle. Most jobs come with accommodation in resort, lift passes and even equipment hire so your meager wage should be sufficient to feed yourself and enjoy some nights out on the town. One thing to certainly bear in mind: most jobs will start mid November but your first pay cheque may not be received until mid or end of December. If possible, try and save some money in the UK before you go to tide you over during these first few weeks; there may be nothing worse than having to miss out on the important early social drinking activities due to a total lack of funds.