What is it really like to do a ski season?
Doing a ski season…
Every year thousands of people head to the Alps to start a new chapter in their lives: their first ski season job. But what is it really like to do a ski season?
Let’s start by confirming what you probably already know about ski seasons, if you’ve got this far in thinking about doing your first winter:
- Ski seasons are hard work
Well yes, this is true! Looking after people on holidays involves quite a high level of thinking about those people ahead of yourself – after all, they’re the reason you are able to do a ski season in the first place! If you can work hard and keep smiling, you’ll make some good friends and maybe even some tips!
- It’s the best way to get better at skiing & snowboarding
Also true! With a season lift pass and plenty of time when you’re free to head out onto the snow to play, you’ll automatically improve, unless you’re super lazy! Beginners can always get some free or cheap lessons to help them out, and many ski schools offer seasonnaire sessions to help progress your skills on the slopes.
- You may have one or two hangovers…
Now… Whilst we would never advocate heavy drinking, we do understand that après-ski is one of the main draws of ski resort life! But getting the balance between work, rest and play is essential to making it until the end of the season – overdo it on the working and playing without getting any rest will mean you end up injured or burning out early. The good thing is, that should you wake up on your day off after one or two glasses of sherry the previous evening, the very best hangover in the whole world is sliding down a snowy mountain. (We also have loads of other activities in Courchevel that don’t involve standing at a bar… See below!)
Ski Magic Jobs
We have the following ski season positions in our team of around 20, based in Courchevel Le Praz and La Tania:
- Chalet Host/Cook
- Resort Manager
- Drive/Ski Tech
Get ready for an adventure!
Now for some other things you may not have been expecting from a ski season…
- People you’ve never met before will become like family to you
It probably seems daunting, arriving at a ski resort and not knowing anyone.
But this feeling lasts just a day or two, because not only will you have a room-mate, who you’ll get to know well. Very well… But your new colleagues will quickly become like family. They’ll see you through tough times – you’ve burnt your 3rd cake in a row and run out of eggs – just as they’ll rely on you when they’re going through a crisis, like they’ve lost their phone and are locked out at 3am.
Friends you make on a ski season are like no other friends!
This is also true of your guests – especially as a host, when you are looking after a lovely family or group that you really click with. Many of our team befriend guests and stay in touch once the snow has melted, and many have received job offers as a result of going the extra mile to impress their guests.
- You’ll have a whole load of awesome experiences
You’re probably a little bit adventurous already, if you’re looking at spending a winter in the mountains. Now’s the opportunity to try new things and making some memories that will stay with you until you’re an old, old person…
Here are some things our team got up to last season…
- Hiking up in the early morning to watch the sunrise
- Cheering on the racers at the World Cup Slalom
- Swapping skis/board with a mate for the day
- Watching the International Pryotechnic Competition
- Watching a live ice hockey match
- Building a kicker off the side of the piste
- Sledging, Alpine-style – down a 3km racing track…
- You’ll be better off than you think
As you have probably read, ski seasons aren’t about financial gain! But because everything else is thrown in and you have no bills, you’ll probably mostly be able to live off your tips.
But don’t just spend your tips on beer… There are more fun ways to splash the cash! For example:
o Live it up and take a mate for a Michelin-star lunch
o Rent a snow-scoot for the day
o Treat yourself to a trip to a luxury spa day in Aquamotion
o Do a skydive or tandem paraglide and land in Le Praz
o Invest in those beautiful skis you’ve been eyeing up
o Try the insanely high zip line in Val Thorens
o Take a seasonnaire lesson in off piste skiing and learn to use avalanche kit
o Try ski touring and exploring the mountains that most people don’t see
- Ski seasons are strangely addictive…
In late March, when you’ve been out the mountain all day skiing Spring snow, are sitting on a sunny terrace with a cup of tea and a slice of chalet cake, and are thinking about popping into work for a few hours before heading out to watch a live band with your friends, a nagging feeling may start to appear in the back of your mind…
A ski season doesn’t last forever. It’s sad, but true.
The snow eventually melts and everyone has to pack up their bags and head back to the real world. Swapping a ski lift for the M25 is not something that you want to think about. So, what’s the solution? Another season of course! All you need to do is find something to do for the summer…
A bit about Ski Magic, from Jade (who has done 3 seasons with us)
“The team is a great size – not too big, not too small – and we have several returners each year who help out the newbies, so there’s a nice atmosphere. Because the company is run by the owners, John and Clare, we get to know lots about the business and they also really look after us, we’re not just a number. They understand what it’s like to be a seasonnaire and they really reward our hard work with staff lunches, trips etc.
Courchevel and La Tania are really friendly and we get to know seasonnaires from other companies, plus there are loads of events and activities going on, and some really nice bars with live music most nights. John and Clare really work hard to keep our hours down, they understand that we want to get out on the mountain! The accommodation is also really decent and it’s things like that, that make me want to come back year after year!”
- A ski season is a really good thing to put on your CV!
Now there are probably some people in your life hinting that perhaps a ski season isn’t very good for your career… That’s up to you to decide! But one thing we can guarantee is that you’ll learn a lot about yourself during your season: you really get out what you put in.
You’ll be challenged physically and mentally, so the mere fact that you’ve got through a season is a huge plus for a recruiter. You’ll work long hours which can be tough, but is a great thing to mention in an interview if they ask you about your work ethic. You’ll gain skills you never realised you could and if you choose the right company, you’ll also find out plenty about how a hospitality business is run (and you’ll see that plenty of people do it and make a living as well as getting in plenty of skiing!)
How to get a ski season job
So now you’re completely convinced you want to go for it and get a ski season job, here are some tips on how to get paid to live in the mountains:
Do your research: Find out what sort of jobs are available and think about which you’d be best at. You should also consider whether you want to be in a particular resort or what kind of
company you’d like to work for – small, medium, large? Hotels? Chalets? Transfers? There are loads of options so get on the internet and start reading… There’s a lot more out there
Brush up your skills: There are lots of people applying for the same type of job, so it’s wise to get yourself ahead of the game. Enroll on a cookery course, get a qualification in driving, learn how to be a ski technician, get some experience as a nanny or childcare worker…
Questions to ask during interview: The company and ski resort that you choose (or that chooses you) makes a huge difference to your experience on a ski season. Ask things like:
- How many people in the team? What managers are in resort?
- Does everyone have the same day off?
- Can I choose the resort I work in? What are the resorts like?
- How big an area does the lift pass cover?
- What kind of things do staff do on days off?
- What’s the accommodation like, is it far from work?
- How do I get around, are there buses?
- How many returning staff do you have?
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