Looking for a job for the ski season?
A job in a ski resort for an entire season is every skiers and snowboarders dream.
Being able to ski every day, never missing a powder day, working and living with new people, creating memories to last a lifetime. What could be better?
If you’re looking for a ski job for the winter there are a few important things to know before you start applying. Firstly, it is never too early to start applying for winter jobs. Many companies start looking for staff as soon as the winter ends so start looking in April and May. You don’t need to be a good skier or even speak a foreign language.
There is a world of companies and jobs to fill including chalet staff, chalet couples, chefs, maintenance, managers, resort reps, bar, ski techs and drivers.
The ski season in Europe runs from December until April, so expect to be away for at least 5 months, with most of the jobs for Brits in France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
Types of Ski Jobs
Chalet host jobs are the most common for workers on their first season. There are thousands of chalets and hotels to be run in the Alps with larger tour operators needing hundreds of chalet staff. You can apply for these positions as individuals or even as a couple.
Chefs and Catering
Chefs tend to have their pick of ski jobs. Luxury chalets and hotels are desperate for high-quality chefs willing to work a whole ski season. As a result, you may have a choice of jobs offering very good pay. Plus you’ll have plenty of time to ski with guests generally eating out for lunch.
Resort reps are on hand to make customers happy and often end up doing a bit of everything. Some days will require admin tasks like organizing lift passes and welcome speeches. Other times the resort rep will be meeting guests at the airport or even ski guiding. It’s a varied job that suits energetic outgoing people. P.S. There’s plenty of ski time too!
Parents with kids that are not in ski school need nannies to look after children while they ski. Chalet companies often hire their own nannies or dedicated nanny companies operate in most resorts too. Experience with childcare and qualifications are usually needed for these roles.
Companies of all shapes and sizes need managers. This includes chalet managers, HR, resort managers, admin and everything in between. Depending on the role it may be an office job or non-office based but it’s a perfect type of job for a ski season while helping your CV.
Bar and Restaurant
Everyone is after a bar job in a ski resort. For a ski bum there nothing better, working in a seasonaire hang out at night and skiing all day. You can sleep after the winter. Bar jobs are hard to come by as they are often recruited locally plus you may need a second language. If you have good bar experience you’ve got a chance to land the ideal ski job.
Drivers do exactly as you’d expect, generally chauffeuring guests to and from the airport. They are also responsible for ferrying customers to and from the slopes plus around the resort. Weekends, mornings and evenings can be busy but during the day there oodles of ski time. Sometimes this is a mixed role often combined with maintenance in chalet companies. Dedicated transfer companies also employ drivers for regular airport transfers.
Chalet companies always need handymen to fix anything and everything that goes wrong during the winter. Harsh conditions mean that chalets, hotels and vehicles need regular upkeep. DIY skills or a trade are required for this role. Often handymen can set their own schedule and ski more than most.
Ski tech is an elusive job for Brits working abroad, most ski shops will fill these positions with English speaking locals. However, some tour operators need ski techs plus there are a few English run ski shops. Experience is helpful but training is generally done on the job. Brush up on your ski chat and knowledge.
Tips for getting ski jobs
The UK ski market is work over £2.9 billion with over 1.7 million skiers every year.
Those 1.7 million skiers need people to run their ski trips which is great news because that means there’s A LOT of jobs on offer.
As I’m sure you are aware, many people dream of doing a ski season so it can be highly competitive getting a job for the ski season.
If it is your first season it is important to focus your efforts on what type of job you are looking for. Many people have a scattergun approach applying for anything and everything. This might get you a position in the long run but it is likely to leave you with a lower quality (crappy) job.
With more than a decade working in the ski industry plus getting the advice of other industry professionals, we’ve put together a guide for getting a ski season job. Keep reading if you want to massively increase your employability, to help you land your dream ski job we will cover:
- What countries have ski jobs
- What ski jobs to apply for
- When to apply for ski jobs
- Where to find ski job opportunities
- Employer tips for applying to ski jobs
- Expected pay for ski jobs
- Finding a ski job in resort
What countries have ski jobs?
For Brits, the Alps is the go-to destination with France, Austria and Italy having the highest concentration of UK tour operators and ski chalets. You might also find positions in Switzerland and the Pyrenees depending on the companies you are applying too.
Most ski jobs in the Alps will help to pay and organise your travel from the UK helping to keep your costs down.
North America is a little trickier and you may struggle to find a job in Canada or the USA before leaving the UK. You’ll also need to apply and pay for visas plus travel costs.
What ski jobs should you apply for?
Try not to scattergun your applications for jobs as you’ll quickly get lost in literally hundreds of applications. Many people look for work saying they are willing to do anything or will do any job. For employers, this is generally a turn-off and will quickly shove your application to the bottom of the pile. Or in the bin. Saying you’ll take any job does not show a willingness, it actually says ‘No real skills or value’.
Think about what you can offer and what jobs or companies that fits. If you have no real relevant work experience what natural skills or traits do you have?
Are you outgoing and energetic? You may suit customer service roles like Resort Rep.
Perhaps you’re a dab hand in the kitchen? Chalets often employ people they can train up to do the cooking.
Got lots of bar experience? Go after bar and restaurant positions.
Want to be a driver? You need to be at least 21, if not 25 for insurance purposes.
There are courses available to help you prepare you for a ski season and help you get a job. Or get a summer job to gain relevant experience, so when a position opens up nearer to the winter you’ve got precisely what the employer needs.
“I really wanted a bar job in my first season, so I applied for A LOT of them with no luck. During this period and the rest of the summer, I got myself a job at the local golf club bar plus worked a few beer festivals. By the time people started dropping out in October and November I was much better placed to get a job. And I did, you’ve got to be persistent though to get your foot in the door.” – James Scott, founder of The Season Hub.
When to apply for ski jobs?
As discussed earlier in the piece, it is never too early to start applying for jobs for the next ski season. Start as soon as spring starts in April, many businesses are already planning ahead for the following winter. There is a rough timeline you can follow as there are hot times and dead times when it comes to employment.
April – July
Early to mid-summer is when most companies get the bulk of the employment done. Competition is fierce so businesses want to lock down the best employees early.
August – September
This period can be a little slow for jobs as people are busy with summer businesses or just taking holidays. It’s time to be patient and not panic too much if you’re looking for a job.
October – November
Smaller companies might still be on the hunt for people to fill their team. Plus people start dropping out of positions they agreed to in the spring. It’s a good time to revisit some applications and make phone calls to attractive companies.
The ski season is in full swing now but staff turnover is high, particularly in the new year. Certain people get fired, some quit and others injure themselves. Companies of all sizes need to fill roles quickly. Many large tour operators have waiting lists for jobs while small independent companies need to fill positions FAST! Keep your eyes peeled.
Where to look for ski jobs?
Job boards are filled with thousands of opportunities for all the jobs types listed above, and plenty of others. Competition is fierce on job boards with some listings gaining hundreds of applications. Start by checking out The Season Hub job board.
Social media is where you can score some really unique opportunities away from the competition of busy job boards. Ski resort community groups and workers groups are a great place to hunt down a position. Check out groups like Jobs in The Three Valleys and St Anton Jobs.
Don’t rule out companies that don’t have any job listings. Many companies, particularly bars and ski shops, receive applications and CV without posting job adverts. If there is a company you like the look of send them a message on social media to ask if they have any opportunities. If yes, then send them your details, thanks to your social media message your already on their radar.
Friends and colleagues
Do you have any friends who work ski seasons every winter or have done in the past? Ask them for any advice. They may be able to point you in the right direction for a job plus give you a personal recommendation. If you don’t know anyone directly, what about a friend’s brother or sister who works ski seasons?
Expected pay for ski jobs
The days of a penniless ski bum supported by their trust fund seem to be behind us. Employment rules have been tightening up, meaning more and more staff are being treated fairly. Chalet hosts can now expect a much better package which even includes 2 days off a week.
Generally, you can now find chalet jobs including accommodation, food and at least minimum wage. This can vary though, some employers will cover travel costs and lift passes too. Take the time to analyse a job offer before jumping at the first one.
You will find that bar staff, ski techs, drivers are often paid hourly plus need to sort out accommodation and food for themselves. Employers are always willing to lend a helping hand in finding you a suitable apartment for the winter. It can be hard to find a room for a reasonable price, so don’t be afraid of sharing!
High-end staff, particularly those working in private chalets, can earn a decent living and walk away with a healthy bank account. You’ll work hard but be rewarded with a decent wage plus big tips from rich customers.