For most young winter sports fans there is only one way to spend some decent time on the slopes - do a ski season.
Timing is everything when getting a ski resort job:
May: the big destinations and big companies recruit for the coming winter.
September: is a dead month for recruitment between seasons.
October: the smaller businesses take on staff. The bosses are back from their September break and have to staff up for the coming season before Christmas.
New Year: by now, employers or employees may have decided they wish to go their separate ways for all sorts of reasons. On top of that vacancies become available all the time through accidents or illness. So keep looking. Especially for your first ski resort job, persistence is vital.
The ideal is to land a job as a rep with a travel agency, then you can ski all day with your clients and prop up the bar all night
For first-timers, the destination is less important than actually finding a job, as long there is some snow and your job allows you time to ski. You need to be honest with yourself - why would an employer chose you out of dozens of other applicants? What have you got to offer? Are you a qualified ski instructor, chef or do you speak more than one language?
Be aware that it is better to have a ski resort job where you work after the lifts close, in a restaurant or bar for example. Obviously the ideal is to land a job as a rep with a travel agency, then you can ski all day with your clients and prop up the bar all night. The reality is that to start with you are more likely to be doing the dishes in a restaurant kitchen.
According to the French online seasonal employment agency seasonbuzz.com, the most sought after staff are still those able to fill the posts of chefs, bar/waiting work, shop work, group organisers, ski reps and hotel staff. On the positive side, bear in mind that what starts out as a way to get free skiing can develop into a real career in the hotel and catering industry or in the ski industry.
Vicky Norman of the Ski Club of Great Britain says, "There is a definite demand for native English speakers to cater for English families linguistically and culturally. This is not necessarily to the taste of the locals but they are getting used to it."
Generally a bad idea. First of all it is illegal and most important you will not be covered by insurance or entitled to treatment through the local health service if anything goes wrong. In one case known to Onthesnow, a young man working illegally in the Rockies had to be brought home to the UK suffering from cancer. There, the health authorities insisted his parents sign a form guaranteeing the cost of his treatment. Sadly he is dead. They are retired but they are still paying.
Your CV is important
Yann Beaumin of Seasonbuzz.com stresses the importance of the CV. He has his golden rules for a good CV for someone seeking a ski resort job:
Rule 1 - No spelling mistakes or typos. I assure you we still get a lot of CVs with bad spelling mistakes. If you are not natural Oxbridge material on paper get someone reliable to read through your CV.
Rule 2 - Give your CV a good headline. Remember harassed employers will be going through dozens of applications. Make yours stand out with a headline that sums up why they should choose you. Draw attention to your skills but don't get carried away.
Rule 3 - Make sure that what you have to offer is clearly visible in keywords so the reader can see it at a glance. If you have worked as a barman or waiter, say so. If you have been around for a few seasons make it clear. For example:
Worked in resorts since 2008
Rule 4 - Make sure your CV is logically planned usually in chronological order or as a list of what you can offer (most recent first).
Rule 5 - One page only! You have not been around long. No need to ramble on for pages.
Rule 6 - Personalise your CV for each job application. Don't send the same CV for two different jobs. Yes it takes a bit of time but it is the key to a successful application.
Rule 7 - Moderation. Do not use more than two colours, avoid eccentricities; be clear, brief and precise.
Rule 8 - Send an accompanying letter with your CV. By email, ideally it will be in the mail to which your CV is attached. Don't put it in the attachment with the CV or send a blank e-mail. Be persuasive, try and generate interest.
Some useful websites:
Specialist ski season job agencies:
In some resorts the local authorities help to bring would-be employers and employees together as in Tignes - so you can also try the local town halls in the nearest towns or villages.