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How and when to apply

If you're planning on spending a season working in resort it pays to plan in advance.

Whether chalet hosting in Val Thorens or ski instructing in Banff, driving a resort shuttle in Colorado or serving shots of Jäger in St Anton, where you go and what you want to do for work will determine how you plan ahead for your season.

Where to go:
Europe
North America
Australia/New Zealand

Europe

Natives job fair
Natives Job Fairs are a good way to start your job search if you're looking for work in Europe.
 
  • If you hold a valid EU passport then you are legally allowed to work for any EU company. This makes finding work in France, Austria and Italy a lot easier. Finding work in Switzerland is a little harder and you may need to obtain a residency permit from your employer. Anywork Anywhere and Switzerland Visas have more information on working in Switzerland.
  • The best time to start searching and applying for ski season jobs is from May onwards. This may seem early, but it’s first come, first served. If you're applying for a job with a tour operator you will need to fill in an application form. Interviews usually take place between June and September and work will commence from early or mid December. There may well be a training week prior to starting work in resort.

  • If you leave it until the last minute, from November there are sometimes vacancies, due to people who have accepted jobs subsequently dropping out.

  • If you’re going to chance it and head straight for the mountains, ideally aim to be in a ski resort as the season kicks off in late November or early December. If you make a last minute decision to head out mid-season then a good bet for finding work is during the school holidays. Get to know bar staff and tour operator reps, as word of mouth is a powerful tool. The local tourist office may also be able to help point you in the right direction for both jobs and work permits if one is needed.

North America

Whistler, Canada
Reciprocal working holiday visa programmes make it possible to spend a season in world famous resorts such as Whistler-Blackcomb.
 
  • As North America and Canada share the same winter season as the Alps, the same time lines apply for the job search. The key thing to remember when looking for a job in North America or Canada is you will need a work visa before you apply. Therefore you need to leave enough time for your visa to be approved before you start your job search.
  • Organisations such as BUNAC can facilitate work visas through their Work America and Work Canada programmes, which also include assistance in finding employment. Although this comes at a cost, it can be worth it to take the hassle out of organising your season, especially if it's your first time. The International Experience Canada programme has opened up another pathway for British citizens seeking work opportunities in Canadian resorts.

Australia/New Zealand

Treble Cone, New Zealand
Treble Cone is a popular spot near Wanaka for skiers and boarders looking for off piste opportunities.
 
  • Australia and New Zealand have become more popular in recent years, allowing some to chase the 'endless winter' as they travel between northern and southern hemispheres.
  • The ski season lasts from late June until the start of October, so it's a good opportunity for those doing ski and snowboard instructor courses to get their qualifications before returning to Europe or North America for instructing work.

  • Jobs in more popular ski areas such as Queenstown (NZ) are scarce, and it can be worthwhile getting there several weeks before the start of the season in order to secure a job. Take a good CV with you; depending on which job you go for, it helps to have experience in that field, i.e. bar, catering or retail experience, as this will give you a head start in the fight for work.

  • It is possible to apply for jobs in the UK before you leave, but these will most likely be on the mountain and jobs will be working as lift and car park attendants, rental shops, or in the lodges and cafes on the mountain. Keep a close eye on the websites of any ski areas where you would like to work. There is a lot of competition for these jobs, however working for the ski areas usually provides a very sociable and fun work environment and allows plenty of time outdoors and in the snow.

  • If you have a recognised ski or snowboarding instructor qualification (such as BASI) you will be able to work as an instructor in New Zealand or Australia. It's important to note however that there is a strict hierarchy at most southern hemisphere resorts, and newly qualified Brits may find themselves at the bottom of the priority list. That means plenty of time to ski or snowboard, but the paycheck at the end of the month from instructing alone might not pay the bills! 

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