Ski Resort Jobs Abroad
Live-in Work at a Hotel in the Alps
Jobs at hotels or chalets at a ski resort in the Alps.
We all have a list, if not written, somewhere in the back of our minds of the things we want to do in our lives and the places we want to see. As a seasoned traveler, the idea of experiencing a ski season has always floated somewhere in the back of my mind, but because I’d never skied or snowboarded, the low pay never tempted me to move to the slopes for the winter and take a job. Every other “seasonnaire’” (a person who works winter and summer seasons as a lifestyle) seemed to rave about the experience, talk about the “powder,” the nightlife, and, well, the powder again!
One day, in the winter and between jobs, a lady wrote to me concerning an email I’d written to her six months earlier, offering my partner and me a job in a hotel in the Alps. The salary was much better than other ski jobs. Still, the usual perks, accommodations, ski, health insurance, all meals, lift pass, equipment hire, local transport, and sometimes ski or snowboard lessons, were not included.
Learning French on the Job
In addition to experiencing a ski season, relearning French was an essential personal motivation. I’d studied it at school, but without the chance to practice over the last ten years, I felt it was time to immerse myself in a place and force myself to speak it again. So, we decided to take the job. After investing in some ski wear and thermals, we flew into our new home for the winter. I threw myself into the work, eager to get out on the slopes and master the art of snowboarding.
Aside from the obvious fun of experiencing the ski season, this trip was educational. As a raving advocate of learning languages in situ, doing so on a fun and exciting seasonal job was a fantastic way to do so.
I was assigned to work with a 55-year-old French woman whose English was limited to a “yes,” “no,” and “one, two, three.” I was thrilled to be forced to speak and understand French immediately, though I felt a bit sorry for the woman. The first month saw me saying many “quoi’s” and compelled her to repeat herself constantly. Work was a struggle, as was the general chit-chat that would typically come with such a job. However, five months later, as we stood chattering away over a pile of laundry, it suddenly struck me that I had learned to speak French at some point. Indebted to my indirect private tutor, I could happily leave my ski season having achieved one of the two goals I’d gone there with (my snowboarding skills still left a lot to be desired)!
Interestingly, a friend had gone and experienced a ski season in the Val ‘d’Isere and had learned no French since she had chosen a job at a tiny resort. On the other hand, I had decided to work in a more prominent hotel that French speakers staffed.
Working in Europe during the ski season was an enjoyable way to learn a language. Switzerland is a great place to look since you can choose between French, Italian, and German, but France, Andorra, and Italy are good places for work and language acquisition.
Types of Ski Resort Jobs
The types of jobs available vary greatly, and you can be anything from a porter to a children’s rep, a chauffeur to a ski instructor, or work in or even run a chalet. The pay is generally low, so it’s often only the dedicated skiers or snowboarders who consider working long hours for little income. Still, the benefits of working during a ski season shouldn’t only be perceived in terms of the usual perks but also as language learning opportunities. Every minute is packed with either work, skiing, or socializing—and very little sleep. Hotel and chalet jobs require you to rise early. It can be a very demanding and exhausting lifestyle, but it’s worth it.
Resources for Finding Ski Resort Jobs Abroad
These are sites I recommend when looking for ski resort jobs in Europe.
Many of these require a European passport, visa, or work permit. However, suppose you see a job that takes your fancy. In that case, it is worth contacting the company directly, as certain positions, such as ski instructors, will sometimes be needed seasonally. In such cases, non-European citizens are sometimes allowed to come and work.
Seasonworkers.com —Ski resort jobs in Europe
These sites are for ski resort jobs in North America.
Although you would typically need a work visa to work in the U.S., which is very difficult to obtain for a non-US citizen, companies exist that help secure a work visa, especially the H2B visa, for ski season jobs
Coolworks.com — Ski Resort Jobs
Seasonworkers — Ski Jobs in the USA
Best Ski Jobs —Ski Jobs in the USA
Caroline Nye has traveled and worked extensively worldwide in organic farming, wildlife guiding, teaching, musical performance, and volunteering in various international development projects. She has published articles and short stories in Amateur Photographer (UK), Matador Travel, and The Healing Project book series. She recently won a Bunac Green Cheese scholarship for humorous writing. Caroline is currently managing a dance team in Spain.