Mpora thinks that everyone has a sh*t job their first ski season.
We think you shouldn’t have to make that mistake.
You know the ugly truth about doing a ski season and still want to take the plunge anyways.
Brilliant. It won’t be something you regret, unless of course you end up in the wrong job – one that doesn’t fit your personality and skill set. It’s worth taking the time to suss out the key factors in your job search, so that your ski season is everything you envision.
Ski Season Jobs: Finding the Perfect One
First, choose the resort for you
This is a biggie. There are a number of amazing resorts all over the Alps that narrowing it down can feel daunting. A few things to consider…
What is your level of experience? If you’ve never put on a pair of planks before, you might want to look for a resort that has a variety of slope difficulty. You will no doubt improve greatly over the season, so a resort with a good mix of all types of pistes might be right for you. Been on a number of ski holidays with the family since you were a kid? Feel quite confident on the slopes? Look for a resort with more challenging slopes or even a number of off-piste options if that’s important to you.
How important is après to you? This is not a question to be looked over! Alongside the hard work of a ski season, you want to spend time kicking back and enjoying it as well. Some resorts are known to have large après and party scenes, others for their small, quaint village feel. Along with the scene, some resorts are pricier than others in terms of drinks & food. Does this matter to you?
Although many resorts are filled with English-speakers, and language is not a requirement, some resorts are more British than others. Do you know a bit of language and want to practice and improve over the season? A smaller resort with a strong local community may suit you. French or German more your taste? This may help you narrow down your search a bit.
What types of jobs are available?
Think about what is important to you – be it ski time, interaction with others, hours and schedule, as well as what skills and experience you have that align with these roles. Here’s some of the most common types of ski season jobs and what they entail.
- Chalet Chef or Host
- Working in a chalet is hard work. Once you get into the swing of things, you can get a lot of time on the mountain – as your hours off coincide with prime ski time. For some companies the chef and host roles blend into one, for others the chef sticks solely to the cooking, and the host serves and cleans. A typical day includes preparing breakfast, cleaning rooms after guests leave, preparing and setting out afternoon tea, and then coming back in the evening to prepare dinner and clean down. You will have hard weeks, but you will also have great weeks with potential for tips!
- Keen to get in the kitchen but have no cooking experience? There are a number of training programs to get you prepared for a season in a chalet – and at places like The Hive, they also help you find a job for the winter.
- Couples Jobs
- Have a boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend you want to work alongside for the winter? Often chalet companies seek couples to work together, as the hours are long and often the roles overlap. If you have a combination of catering, customer service, and/or season experience this could be perfect for you both.
- A number of companies will hire drivers and/or maintenance workers to assist the chalet staff. You need to have driving experience and a clean record, or and potentially some maintenance experience. This role includes snow clearing, giving guests lifts around resort, chalet maintenance tasks, and possibly weekend airport transfers. Or find a job as solely a transfer driver for a transfer company. Although you will drive to the airport a few times in one weekend, your weeks will be quite open. For both of these roles, mountain time is maximum.
- If you are a qualified nanny and want to do something different, working in a ski resort is a great way to do so. This is a fun job where your days will include sledging, making snow angels and going for hot chocolates. You will often work quite independently. There will be limited time out on the mountain, but nannying in a gorgeous setting in the Alps isn’t too shabby!
- Resort Representative
- Reps are the first point of contact for many guests – you will greet them, problem solve any issues, help them organize extras such as restaurant bookings and ski hire, and ensure chalet staff have everything they need. This may also include less glamorous duties such as snow clearing and driving. This can be quite a demanding role towards the start of the season, but as the season goes on you will get more and more time on the mountain.
- Resort Managers
- A bit further into your career and want to continue in a higher level role? Or have you already done a few seasons? Resort Managers are a step up from the Resort Rep role. Chalet companies often have in-resort managers to supervise and support their team of chefs, hosts and drivers, as well as the responsibilities of a Rep. These roles can vary in widely in responsibilities and work schedule. You need to be flexible and hardworking and be able to instill those values in your team.
- Restaurant & Bar Staff
- Working in a restaurant or bar can be a ton of fun and great way to get to know people in resort. You are always in the social scene. You will be working evenings & late nights though, which can lead to exhaustion and missing out on your own social life. But you probably aren’t working too many daytime hours which will definitely leave some good open hours on the slopes.
- Office, Sales or Shop Roles
- These jobs largely vary and can be anything from working the front desk at a hotel to bookkeeping in an office to a sales representative. If you have experience in customer-service or sales, this could be a perfect fit for you. Whether it be working in a ski school shop or a clothing shop, you can often find full time or part time roles if you want more flexibility.
- Ski Instructor
- Just want to be on the mountain all day? There is another option than being a ski bum. If you want to invest into a career in the ski industry, instructing may be for you. Although this doesn’t happen in just one season, if you are passionate about the industry a great way to start off is spending a season getting a few qualifications under your belt. We offer residential instructor courses in Courchevel, Méribel and Verbier.
Ah the choices!! But we have to say, Skiworld summed up a day in the life of a chalet host pretty accurately.
Do you prefer independence or support?
Another factor to consider in your job selection is the level of independence you prefer.
Do you like having your own apartment? Prefer a bit more freedom? Often restaurants & bars, shops and offices do not require you to live with other staff in a specific accommodation. Thus, giving you the freedom to choose where you want to live.
Or would you rather have all of that sorted for you? Feel that apartment searching in a new place is not your cuppa? Often chalet chefs, hosts and driver roles provide the whole package. They will put you up in housing, provide food and a lift pass, all as part of the package – and you don’t have to worry about it one bit!
Large or small company?
As in any industry, there are pros and cons to working for a large company vs a small company.
With a large company you will benefit from the choice of a number of resorts to work in. There is often a clear chain of command and if something goes wrong, you always have someone to refer up to. If having a large team – and potentially a large pool of new friends is your thing, then a large company would suit you.
Small companies are usually more personal experiences. You feel as if you work for someone who cares and know that as the team is small, you play a very integral role in the business. Often small companies are tight-nit and turn into mini families.
Ace the Interview
Interviews are hard.
Number one: know the job you are applying for. Study the job description and demonstrate why you’re interested in that particular job.
Research the company beforehand. It’s so simple (thank you internet)! Take some time to read their website, and then slip into conversation something you know about the company. They will appreciate you took the time to learn about them, whilst they are busy learning about you.
No matter what job you’re applying for, it is a customer-service based industry. Holiday makers are in resort to have a good time, and your role is to ensure they do so.
Confidence, personality and adaptability are also important for these roles. You may be living in a foreign country for the first time, in this whole new experience we call a ski season. Employers want to make sure you’re capable of adapting to a new environment and will be a positive additional to their team.
Where to start?
Ski season recruitment is now in full swing, and now’s the time to snatch up the best roles.
Here’s a few sites that list ski season jobs to get you started.
Another place to spot jobs is on Facebook groups. Do a search for some resort-specific groups, and for job positing groups in particular. Smaller companies and large ones alike both post on these groups.
Here at New Gen we’re also looking for some fun and passionate people to join our team next winter. So if you’re looking for a role that offers plenty of hill time for a company that values its staff then look us up!
Lastly and most importantly…
You have to want to do it.
Everything aside, most people come here to ski or board and embrace a new lifestyle in the mountains. This does not mean you need to be an experienced skier to enjoy it, but you do need a desire and passion to embrace the ski season lifestyle. Other than skiing and boarding, après and dinners out – the activities in resort are limited.
Show up with an open mind, and then dive right in.