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Budgeting for your ski season

There are different ways to 'do a season', with different financial implications. Here are a few things to consider before you commit.

Spending a season in a resort town can involve substantial financial commitments both before you leave the UK and during your time in resort, and it's not uncommon to be well into the season before you break even. Here are some of the major expenses to bear in mind when you're choosing a job or a resort.

Wages
£100 - £200/week is fairly standard for a number of resort jobs including bar staff, waiters and waitresses, au pair/nanny or retail. If you're working for a tour operator or chalet company and accommodation is included as part of the work package, then wages may well be closer to £100/week.

Accommodation
£50 - £80/week will get you fairly standard, no frills 'seasonnaire' type accommodation. You'll most likely be sharing a small living space, so save plenty of cash if you want something more spacious and private! Accommodation may be included as part of some work packages, and of course some 'ski bums' take the couch-surfing approach, but how long you can do this for will really depend on who you know!

Apres
The lure of aprés-ski... one of the biggest expenses of doing a season!
 

Food and Drink
£30 - £50. While some costs such as insurance are unavoidable, how much you spend on food and drink can really make a huge difference to how much money you have in your pocket at the end of the winter. Food on the mountain and drinks in the bars can be eye-wateringly expensive, so it's worth finding out what spots have discounts or specials for seasonal workers. Stocking up on supplies and staples away from the inflated prices in resort grocery stores will save a considerable amount of money if you're cooking for yourself. Some work packages include a food allowance, and if you're working in a chalet or restaurant staff meals may be included.

Ski Pass
£200 - £900. The price of a season ski pass varies hugely between resorts, with some of the big resorts in France charging over €1000. It may be possible to get a 'locals' or workers price once you're in resort or take advantage of early bird offers, and of course in many smaller resorts (as well as some of the bigger resorts in Italy and Austria) season passes are a lot cheaper. In North America, Australia and New Zealand, seasonnaire jobs often involve working for the mountain, therefore a lift pass is generally included as a benefit.

Ski Hire
£175 - £300 will get you basic ski kit under a seasonnaire rental scheme if you don't have your own. It might not be the latest and greatest, therefore you might prefer to shop around and try to find deals on last season's models or second-hand kit.

Transport
£70 - £400. This is very much dependent on where you're going. If heading to France a budget flight or coach might do the trick, for a North American season expect to spend at least £400 on return flights. You can figure on spending double that again if you're going to New Zealand or Australia. Remember to factor in the cost of baggage if flying with ski and snowboard equipment, especially if flying with low-cost carriers where additional charges can quickly add up. If your job is pre-arranged your travel from the UK may be covered as part of your employment package.

Ski patrol
Make sure you have an insurance policy that covers your activities on the mountain.
 

Insurance
£150 - £200. Absolutely essential and worth taking the time to do your homework and compare policies, as not all annual policies cover snowsports. You may also want to invest in a Carte Neige, which covers your transport off the mountain if you have an accident. This doesn't cover you once you reach the hospital or doctor, but it's useful in combination with your insurance policy.

Visas
£100 - £200 if you're going to work in the USA or Canada, depending on exactly what type of visa you require. BUNAC work abroad programmes that help you through the visa application process and provide other support, but this costs £300 - £400.

Kit and Equipment
£100 - £400. You may have all of your kit and equipment already, however if you spend an entire season (or more) in a resort then you'll want kit that is built to last. A decent jacket, waterproof trousers, good gloves, goggles, ski socks and warm base layers should all be on your packing list.

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