Outdoor instructor life: Working Ski Seasons
A ski season is a great option for any outdoor instructor looking for winter work.
Summer comes and goes too quickly, so it is always good to plan ahead and start finding something for those cold winter months.
Some people head far overseas in search of that never ending summer.
However, some people, like myself, like to embrace the cold winter months and head to the mountains for a ski season instead.
Here are six things to think about before you head out to the mountains for a ski season.
1. Why choose a ski season?
If someone's done a ski season, you’ll probably know, they’ll mention it, A LOT!
Being able to live in the mountains and ski everyday is the best.
Although you still have to work, most jobs enable you to ski all day and only have to work shifts in the Morning and Evening.
A winter season in the northern hemisphere is perfectly timed with the end of our summer season. You can literally jump from one job in the sun, straight into a new one in the snow.
I chose to do my season in the French Alps, in the biggest resort in the world, the 3 Vallées (Les 3 Vallées).
I chose this resort because it has over 600km of skiable pistes plus even more areas for adventuring into the backcountry.
Also, the Alps know how to party, après is the best time of day! Cheap drinks, dancing on tables and tipsy skiing back to staff accommodation.
2. When to apply and where to look
The best time to apply for a winter ski season is in July, applications may take longer if Visas are necessary. #Brexit
The earlier you apply the more choices of jobs you'll have.
There are loads of companies out there to choose from, I did my ski season with Family Ski. This company is based around offering the best childcare in the alps.
3. Interview process
The winter sports industry is largely about customer service and making sure your customers have an awesome week away in the snow. Remember ski holidays aren’t cheap!
Demonstrating you have customer service experience and that you are great at speaking to people is a good start.
You don’t need to be an expert skier or boarder to head out to do your season, but showing that you're excited to immerse yourself in the mountain lifestyle and you’re keen to get on a snowboard or some skis is very important.
Lastly, just be you, if someone's working in the ski industry it's because they love the outdoors too, show them your excitement to spend the winter in the mountains. Express your love for adventures and having a good time and I'm sure you’ll do well.
4. Jobs Roles
These are the roles to look out for which offer the best ski/work balance:
Chalet Host/Cook - Long hours (early start/late finish)/ free to hit the slopes during the day time/ Free food & accommodation
Resort Rep - Less hours/ Maximum ski time/stressful on transfer days/ long coach trips/Meet and greet pro!
Minibus driver - long days and early starts/ set days off/ good money
Bar/ Waitress - Multi language/ antisocial hours (late Nights)/ free drinks / variable hours(some daytime shifts)
5. How much does it cost? How much will you make?
A ski season should cost you very little.
Most companies will pay for your flights, your lift pass, ski/board rental and your accommodation, some may even pay for your food!
What's the catch? This comes at a cost to your monthly pay packet, most companies will end up paying you around £400-£700 a month, which if you think about it, isn’t too bad with all the above included.
However, expect to spend some money before you head out to the mountains. You'll need to get yourself a good ski jacket, ski pants, gloves, socks and anything else to keep you warm before you go.
Don’t expect to make much on your ski season and anything you do make you’ll probably spend on ski gear anyway! Think of it as investing into the mountain culture.
6. Is a Ski Season for you?
I can’t recommend a ski season enough! It was probably the most enjoyable six months I've ever had. Skiing and being in the mountains everyday is an unbeatable feeling.
If you're looking for a big money earner then a ski season probably isn’t for you. A more profitable way to spend your winter season would be to head out to the UAE (Dubai and the United Arab Emirates).
However, if making new friends, partying, spending loads of time on the slopes and having an awesome winter season sounds like something you're interested in, then a ski season is 100% for you!
If you are looking for something more career based but equally exciting, then you should check out our 15 week Instructor Training Course, based here in Dorset! It gives you the opportunity to gain up to 16 outdoor qualifications that will open up your career into the outdoor industry and provide you with all the experience you’ll need to get your first job in the outdoors.
And then, there is always next winter to head out to the mountains.
Find out more about our Outdoor Instructor Training course here.