The time is upon us, the crisp golden leaves of autumn are falling and winter is just around the corner. You can smell it in the air, the warm and inviting chimney smoke that makes you want to curl up and wrap your self in a blanket in front of the crackling fire.
It won’t be long before light fluffy flakes of snow start to float down and surround us in a winter wonderland, and for many people this can only mean one thing-the ski season is about to start. We start to get our skis or snowboard out of storage, place our goggles on the mantle, graze the ski shops for the new seasons offerings. A time for preparing for the upcoming season-and now is the time to consider if you want to make that holiday into a season long extended one-why not work the ski season?!
There are many reasons why I can vouch for doing a ski season having worked both in Europe and Canada. Where else can you combine your love of the white stuff, travel and get paid employment. Endless days spent surfing in the freshest powder, bluebird days that you can’t guarantee you will get on your holiday, and the ability to pick and choose when you head up the hill-this feeling alone is why I love ski season work.
So where do you want to travel?
Take your pick, maybe Europe tickles your fancy, making fresh powder tracks in America or Canada, or maybe you fancy the southern hemisphere and want to head to Australia (yes I know Australia) or New Zealand. Even Japan can be a destination for your next season-the choice is yours!
All of these places offer work visa opportunities for seasonal employment so all you need to do is decide where you want to head and start planning.
Now you have your destination, where do you want to work?
There are many types of work available in ski resorts and depending where you choose will both determine how much time on the slopes you get and how much money you earn. You can choose from such jobs as chalet host, bar tender, retail assistant, chairlift operator, waitress etc. All of these jobs vary vastly, as a chalet host you get a great deal of free time during the day and evening, whereas if you were to do retail work most of your day will be spent working. Try and figure out what is important to you and go from there. Identify the work load before applying so you are not disappointed once you arrive.
I worked as a chalet host in Val D’Isere in France for 6 months and had 6/7 days between 11am and 7pm free to ski whereas when I worked in Banff in Canada in retail I only had 2 days off a week.
My top 3 tips:
1) Research the place where you want to visit, some ski resorts are based on the mountain and some you have to drive to from where you live and work.
2) Try to find out what the company you want to work for expectations are, some may require many hours of work where other may only require you to be there for specific shifts. Small family owned companies tend to have a better rapport with their workers than large conglomerates where you never see your manager.
3) Research what the company offers you as part of the employment package- many resorts in Europe offer travel, accommodation, season ski pass, ski hire, food and pay but this is a different case in Canada where you can work full time and have to pay for everything, you may get accommodation included but it will be deducted from your pay.
Anybody can do a ski season and at any age, I have worked with middle aged couples on sabbaticals and teenagers fresh out of high school. If you love the white fluff and want to experience a winter abroad why not consider giving yourself (in my opinion) one of the best winter seasons of your life!