Welcome to part 2 of a guide to working a ski season. Part 1 outlined the generic advantages and disadvantages of working a ski season. However, each job also has it’s own specific benefits and drawbacks. This outlines the specifics of each job so that you can see which job you are best suited to.
Chalet host. Chalet hosts are responsible for the day to day running of chalets. Their jobs involve meeting and interacting with guests, ensuring the cleanliness of the chalet, and cooking food for guests.
Advantages of being a chalet host: Very rewarding when it works well. If you don’t have to prepare lunch, you will get a lot of ski time on the mountain. You will also interact with guests more than any other position and because of this, you will get to know them and possibly spend time with them in the evenings. Chalet hosts generally get paid a little bit more than hotel staff.
Disadvantages of being a chalet host: A high workload and level of responsibility. You could be solely responsible for the enjoyment of many people’s holiday which means you have to perform every single day. You will also have to have attended a cooking course of some sort before being hired as a chalet host.
Good for: People who want good ski time, responsibility, and guest interaction
Childcare. In a childcare position, staff are responsible for entertaining and ensuring the welfare of children. It may also involve taking them to ski school and supervising meal times.
Advantages of a childcare position: You get to work with kids and they are great. Your job is effectively playing!
Disadvantages of a childcare position: Parents want their kids to be looked after while they are skiing. This means that childcare staff have minimal time to spend on the mountain. If evening childcare is available, it means that childcare staff will be among the last to finish working. If you perform badly at your job, parents may be rather upset to find that their child has gone missing.
Good for: People who want to live on the mountain but aren’t so concerned with skiing.
Ski representative / host. A ski rep’s job is to be ‘the face of the company.’ Ski reps meet guests at the airport, facilitate bookings of ski equipment and activities, provide evening entertainment, and take guests skiing (not all companies). Essentially the job of a ski rep is interacting. If you would like a more in depth description, read the life of a ski-rep.
Advantages of being a ski rep: If hosting, you are getting paid for spending hours skiing with people on the mountain and quite often, eating a free lunch in the expensive mountain restaurants. Hosting and evening entertainment, when practised become quite fun; thus work is enjoyable. Your work when people are around, maximising your ski time. Pay is slightly higher than hotel staff and you normally get a bonus related to the number of sales that you make during the course of the season.
Disadvantages of being a ski rep: You have to interact with guests all of the time, meaning that you have to be on your game at all times. Transfer day involves working from the early hours of the morning until late at night, handling money, and ensuring that everything works out. If anything in the resort goes wrong, you will be the first point of call for fixing it.
Good for: Flexible people who want lots of ski time and enjoy interacting with people.
Chef. Chefs cook food. Obviously.
Advantages of being a chef: You do not have to interact with guests, meaning that you can have a grumpy day if needs be. If not preparing lunch or early dinner, there will be lots of ski time.
Disadvantages of being a chef: Pressure to perform every day as guests expect good food. If you enjoy cooking, you are probably limited by your companies budget, menu, and ingredient availability. If your resort offers early tea (or children’s dinner), you will have to be back early to prepare the food.
Good for: Experienced chefs.
Pot washer. Washes pots and cleans the kitchens.
Advantages of being a pot washer: Simple work that can be done even when not running at 100%. It also means not having to interact with guests. Generally, kitchen staff interact well and have fun because they can socialise while working without decreasing in efficiency.
Disadvantages of being a pot washer: Sometimes the work is unsatisfying and unchallenging. It may also pay less than other jobs.
Good for: People who do not want high levels of responsibility or to interact with guests.
Night porter. Night porters are responsible for running the hotel overnight. This means that they are acting duty managers (it’s rare that anything happens) and will have a list of jobs to complete each night which often involve preparing staff lunch and baking for guests the following day. Typically shifts start around 11 at night and finish around 7 or 8 in the morning.
Advantages of being a night porter: Working in solitude without distractions from other staff and guests. Work only occurs during the night, meaning that skiing time is maximised and extra days off may be given due to night shifts. As night porters are acting duty managers, there may be a slight increase in pay.
Disadvantages of being a night porter: Unsociable, long hours which make it impossible to go out in the evening with other staff.
Good for: People who don’t mind being awake at night in order to maximise their ski time.
Hotel assistant. HAs are responsible for cleaning the hotel / chalet each day and serving food at meal times.
Advantages of being a hotel assistant: Jobs are normally simple and offer both guest interaction and solitude at varying times of the day. If working efficiently, it is possible to increase skiing time. HA staff generally have good social interaction with one another.
Disadvantages of being a hotel assistant: Cleaning can be unpleasant and pay is very low.
Good for: First time ski seasoners to get a little balance of everything.
Lift operator. Lifties operate the lifts during the day and ensure the safety of guests riding on them.
Advantages of being a lift operator: Good pay and nice views.
Disadvantages: No ski time because you work when people are skiing.
Good for: People who enjoy working outside.
Ski school instructor. As expected, ski instructors teach people how to ski.
Advantages of being a ski instructor: Out on the mountain all day and satisfying when students learn how to ski. Pay can be very high if you have a good qualification.
Disadvantages of being a ski instructor: You work all the time that the lifts are open, meaning very little time to do your own skiing. You may also not have control over which classes you are teaching which could result in frustrating lessons if you are not teaching your desired level. To be an instructor it is also necessary to have completed an extensive (often expensive) instructor course.
Good for: People who enjoy teaching others.
Bar staff. Bar staff do as they do in every country; they make people drinks. Alcoholic drinks mostly.
Advantages of being bar staff: Good social interaction as all customers are on holiday and looking for a good time. As bars are generally open at night, there should be lots of time for skiing and not so much time for spending money.
Disadvantages of being bar staff: Working at night means that you are on a different time scale from everybody else and unable to party with everyone else.
Good for: Social people who want lots of ski time.
That is a rough outline of the most popular jobs available within ski resorts and brings us to the end of part 2 of a guide to working a ski season. You can also read:
Part 4: Where Can I Find a Ski Job?
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