As the highlights of the last winter season become a distant memory, it’s that time of the year when many international ski resort employers in Canada, USA, Europe, Japan and further a field begin thinking about recruiting for the upcoming seasonal roles.
While some positions are filled just before or during the early stages of the season, most of them are advertised and snapped up far before the snow arrives.
If you’re considering working a ski season, here are some valuable tips to help you set things up for the perfect winter.
The Ultimate Guide to Ski Resort Jobs and Working a Winter Season
Choosing the Right Resort Destination
It’s crucial to remember that a resort perfect for a holiday might not be the best place to spend an entire season working, and this is a consideration overlooked time and time again.
Firstly, you need to choose a country where you are legally allowed to work, and this with vary based on your age, nationality and previous travel history.
Generally speaking, if you are between the ages of 18 – 30, you will have a wide range of destinations to choose from due to reciprocal Working Holiday Visa schemes. For example, British or Australian travelers can choose from countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
While working opportunities in Europe still exist, it has become more challenging since Brexit and requires a bit more planning and consideration for most nationalities external to the EU.
Likewise working in the United States is feasible for some nationalities, but it may present certain difficulties due to immigration constraints. If you are older, you may have to do more vigorous research to confirm which destinations are best suited to your personal needs, but in most cases you’ll be able to find somewhere!
At a resort level, each individual’s view of the ideal resort differs, but it’s essential to consider the fact that you’ll be spending a significant amount of time there.
Larger resorts naturally offer a greater number of jobs, but they also come with fiercer competition for roles. Securing positions may be challenging unless you have an outstanding CV and relevant work experience.
Another valuable tip is to consider the accommodation options available at your chosen destination. In some popular resorts, staff housing is near impossible to find, and in recent years, with rising rental prices, even when it is available it can be extremely expensive for seasonaires.
On the contrary, lesser-known resorts can often have not only more affordable living arrangements, but a huge range of incentives to attract employees. Therefore, if ending the ski season with a healthy balance is important to you, the resort you choose is a key factor.
Types of Ski Job Opportunities
Ski resorts offer an almost endless variety of job opportunities. However you when choosing a job type, consider your seasonal goals; for instance, if you want to excel at skiing, a role that allows plenty of time on the slopes would be ideal.
It is also worth noting that some jobs will require prior experience or qualifications, so you won’t necessarily be able to do anyone of them. Read specific job descriptions to understand if you would be suitable.
Here are the major job categories and some insights into each:
Hospitality Jobs: The hospitality sector is one of the largest employers in ski resorts, offering positions ranging from waiting staff and dishwashers (requiring little to no experience) to roles like barista, chef, and cocktail bar staff that may demand prior experience.
Accommodation Services: With hotels, lodges, hostels, and apartments come numerous roles related to guest experiences and property upkeep, such as housekeeping and front-of-house positions.
Management Roles: Larger ski resorts also offer managerial positions for individuals with relevant experience, where they could oversee teams or handle various operational functions.
Instructor / Patrol / Guide Jobs: These roles provide ample on-snow time, but many of them require industry qualifications and prior experience.
Ski Tech / Rental Jobs: Roles in ski tech and rental typically require previous experience.
Childcare / Nanny Roles: These roles require clearance, experience, and qualifications to ensure the safety and well-being of children in the resort.
Admin / Desk Work: Many businesses in ski resorts utilize technology, creating various roles that demand digital or administrative skills, such as managing customer bookings or engaging in content and marketing work.
Drivers: Ski resorts often face a shortage of drivers, making qualifications for driving large vehicles highly regarded. However, it’s essential to ensure that your qualification is transferable to the place where you plan to work.
Other Roles: Depending on the country, additional opportunities may exist, such as ski lift operators in Canada. If you possess specific skills or qualifications, local businesses may be interested in hiring you directly.
Where to Find Employers, Jobs, and Information
If you’ve selected a preferred destination or resort, visiting the official ski resort website should be one of the first places you head to. On these websites you tend to find lots of helpful information about when to apply, what roles are available and also application details.
Snow Season Central is another excellent online resource for comprehensive tips on ski seasons and local employer/job information. The website covers dozens of resorts across Canada, Japan, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Europe, and will be able to give you a neutral opinion on what it’s like to do a ski season at any of the resorts in detail.
Mass-market employment websites like Indeed and Seek often post ski resort job opportunities, but usually reflect only a small number of total jobs available.
Setting up alerts can ensure you don’t miss any job postings, but keep in mind that competition is very high on these sites, so a strong CV and cover letter is essential.
Keeping an eye on local media websites and newspapers, especially in more isolated resort towns can be a great source of job opportunities.
As can Facebook groups for the local resorts, as smaller businesses with limited budgets often post job openings there. In some groups, posting a message can be a good way of connecting with employers directly.
Tips for Landing Your Preferred Winter Job
As with any job application, securing the role relies on impressing in the interview.
While many are conducted remotely nowadays, some larger employers may still prefer face-to-face interviews in capital cities. Treat the opportunity seriously and professionally, even if it’s in the snowsports sector.
Here are some valuable tips to increase your chances of success:
- Ensure you have fast, reliable internet connection and a quiet setting for virtual interviews.
- Dress appropriately – smart-casual attire is usually fine.
- Punctuality is essential; always be on time for the interview and make sure your technology is ready to go before you need to be ready!
- Research the country, resort and employer thoroughly to show your interest. If you can build some rapport with the interviewer you’ll be on to a winner!
- Speak clearly and confidently, maintain good posture, and smile during the interview.
- Prepare 3-4 questions to ask the employer about the resort, the role, or any other relevant topic.
- If possible, have your previous work references ready to share after the interview
If you follow these tips, you’re bound to have a successful winter season wherever you go!
With a bit of luck, you’ll also develop some great relationships in the resort which can lead to future employment opportunities either in the same country, or in new locations around the world!