As with Europe, UK tour operators often employ people to work the North America program and the experience can be vastly different to Europe for a number of reasons: the resorts tend to be spaced further apart so there may not be the management structure of Europe which can mean increased responsibility and with smaller teams, you may find a slightly less party atmosphere with your fellow workers. The holiday makers, guests and people you will encounter will generally be more hardcore ski enthusiasts and so may be more demanding than a majority of the ‘good time’ crowd that Europe tends to attract.
Applications for USA and Canada jobs tend to open a little earlier than for Europe and some companies start recruiting as early as May to allow extra time for visa applications. As with Europe, you should keep a close eye on the relevant companies or resorts and make contact at the earliest opportunity (this could also involve an early e-mail or telephone call to see when their recruitment process starts).
Again, one way of getting to work a ski season on this continent is to work for a UK operator but in this instance previous experience is usually required or expected; the actual resorts often employ internationals in roles such as lifties (chair lift operators). Local retailers or service operators (ski technicians or transfer drivers) also take applications or you could try and bag a role with a local hotel (again this would require direct industry experience unless the application is for a very junior role). Research may be the key here – contact as many people as you can and have your CV and cover letter ready to send out when required.
To be considered for work in Canada nearly all companies will require you to hold a working visa and it is down to you to arrange this. The Bunac program offers working visas for people aged 18 – 35 and for students aged 18 – 30; applications and the number of visas issued are limited in number and often get snapped up very early on in the year. Should you wish to pursue this then applications normally open December/January for the coming/current year and in the past all visas have been issued by February unless you fall into the student category; so there is only a small window of opportunity. One advantage of this working visa is you will have the chance to work and/or travel before the season starts and after it finishes on the same visa, so the sooner you get an application in the better chance you have or working in such renowned and prestigious resorts as Whistler and Banff.
Not only will a Bunac visa allow you to work for a UK operator but it will also give you the option of trying to find work should you decide to rock up in resort and contact local employers. Again, the only downside here is funding! The Bunac visa application costs £160 and also carries a compulsory £5 membership fee: you may be required to provide details of in and outbound travel arrangements (return flight are in the region of £500 or would be provided by a UK employer) and applicants are also required to take a minimum of £500 in support funds with them on entry to Canada (again proof of this may be required).
For the USA the situation is a little different.
Whatever your chosen route to employment you will need an H2B visa to work in the USA but the advantage here is that this is normally organised by your employer and should only require minimum cost and an embassy interview on your part. Travel restrictions will apply either side of the visa dates so it does not allow for the freedom of the Bunac visa but you could find yourself working in unrivaled resorts such as Aspen, Jackson Hole or somewhere in the bohemian world of California! Again, you should start looking for opportunities as early as May and you should aim to directly highlight what you could bring the role and how your personal skills or experience would help you meet the challenges the role presents.
Ski Jobs in South America (and beyond!) =>