Where to Go
Choosing where to go is a big decision – each country has something different to offer and making the plunge may seem slightly daunting. Speak to others if you can or read about the experiences of our team here in the office, but if not read on and hopefully our guide below will help you out!
If you’re after lots of fellow Brits, huge ski areas and a lively party scene then the major resorts of the French Alps are the ones for you. The likes of Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Chamonix, Alpe d’Huez, Morzine and Avoriaz are particularly popular and there are a fantastic range of jobs on offer – especially in chalet hosting and in British-run ski schools.
Some basic French will help, especially if you choose to stray away from the bigger resorts mentioned above, but you’ll likely spend a lot of time with Brits – in particular if you’re working for one of the big tour operators. Check out our French Resort Guides for more information.
The Austrian Alps offer considerable variety so choosing your resort carefully is vitally important, especially if you’re looking to spend time with other Brits. If this is high on your list, then St Anton is probably your best bet (plus it has some of the best après and freeride terrain out there), but the likes of Alpbach, Mayrhofen, Kitzbühel, Ischgl and Zell am See are also popular.
If learning German is high on your list of priorities then Austria is a great choice, especially if you head to one of the lesser-known resorts that are dominated by German-speaking seasonnaires. The location of many resorts in valley-based towns can make finding accommodation easier and cheaper, but try and find yourself a place near a bus stop to make the morning commute easier. For more info head over to our detailed Austrian Resort Guides.
From picturesque car-free villages to mega-resorts, Switzerland also has some good options although prices are higher than elsewhere. Many British seasonnaires will choose Verbier for its legendary off piste terrain, fantastic après and glamourous chalet hosting jobs, but there are other options too.
Wengen is a popular choice, as is Saas Fee, whilst those looking for the best park in the world should head to Laax in the east of the country. Zermatt is also a good choice and although prices in resort are sky high, these are somewhat compensated for by the good wages on offer – Switzerland has one of the highest minimum wages of any country. If you need more resort-specific information check out our in-depth Swiss Resort Guides.
For fantastic food, great value and some of the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery, the Italian Alps offer the full package. The Milky Way region – encompassing the resorts of Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere – is a good choice, but expert skiers might find the terrain a little mellow.
Other options include the likes of Madonna di Campiglio, La Thuile on the French border, Courmayeur across from Chamonix and Cervinia over from Zermatt. Speaking some basic Italian will get you a long way, particularly if you choose a smaller resort. For more info check out our Italian Resort Guides.
Rest of Europe
If you’re looking for a ski season on a bargain-basement budget then Eastern Europe is an option, although be wary that your pay won’t be great – perhaps the £1 beers might help with this however!
The Pyrenees and the resorts in France, Spain and Andorra offer up a good alternative to the Alps, especially in the latter where there are some good jobs going with British tour operators.
Scandinavia is the place to go if you aren’t all about the skiing and want to try out a whole host of winter activities – think cross country skiing, dog-sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling. Living costs may be high, especially in Norway, but the whole Scandinavian winter experience is hard to beat.
As one of the ultimate destinations for a season, competition for the limited number of work permits is fierce and you need to be prepared with a Plan B in case your visa doesn’t come through. But if successful, the choices are fantastic and the variety of work is great – plus Canada is one of the best places to learn your instructor qualifications.
Top destination for many is the vast resort of Whistler, which combines an epic mountain with easy access to Vancouver and a huge seasonnaire population. Banff in the middle of the Alberta Rockies has a similar vibe, with a big population of young resort workers, but if you’re looking for deep powder and to escape the crowds, Revelstoke, Red Mountain, Big White and Silver Star are good options. Tremblant in Quebec is also a popular choice, boasting French-Canadian culture, pretty tree-lined slopes and a healthy number of seasonnaires. To read more head over to our Canadian Resort Guides.
Unfortunately getting a work permit and visa is a tough gig in the USA, especially for low-skilled work in ski resorts. This means few Brits make it across to the Rockies, Lake Tahoe or the Appalachians to work and experience the famously dry and plentiful powder.
If you do get over however, the choice of resorts is fantastic – our top tips would be Breckenridge, Vail and Copper Mountain in Colorado, Park City in Utah, Heavenly or Squaw Valley in California and Killington or Stowe on the east coast. For more info on these resorts, head to our in-depth USA Resort Guides.
If you’re after bottomless powder and a cultural experience like no other, Japan offers both in abundance. The mountains here are seriously snowy and the tree skiing is arguably the best in the world, whilst the food, onsens and temples make this a destination like no other.
Niseko on Hokkaido is home to some of the deepest snow and the most westernised ski area (you’ll notice the abundance of Aussies and Kiwis here), but has recently become seriously busy. There are more jobs on offer however, so this should make up for the lift queues on a powder day. Hakuba on the main island is another major destination, but if you’re looking for an authentic Japanese experience try Rusutsu, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. Read more about these resorts in our Japanese Resort Guides.
For a never-ending winter, getting a job down in Australia, New Zealand or South America is the way forward. Sadly you won’t be the only one however and as a result competition for jobs – whether it be instructor jobs or bar work – is fierce, so apply early and try to get as much experience as possible first, you wouldn’t want to fly half way round the world to not find any work!
New Zealand is home to lots of ski areas and these are generally small and home to only a few lifts, but they make up for it with spectacular Lord of the Rings-esque scenery, a great vibe and reliable snow. Base yourself in Queenstown or Wanaka. Australian resorts offer the unique experience of skiing through eucalyptus trees, but don’t come here expecting big vertical. Meanwhile down in South America, the Andes of Chile and Argentina offer up some serious terrain, bountiful snow and a fantastic cultural experience – sadly this combo does make getting a job tough, upskill, learn some Spanish and build up your contacts to get a job down here.
Or Stay at home!
If you don’t fancy heading abroad, then our own mountains, dryslopes, indoor snowdomes and ski shops offer a multitude of seasonal work. For more information click here.
Heading up to Scotland and working at one of the five resorts up there – Cairngorm, Glencoe, Glenshee, Lecht and Nevis Range – offers you the best chance of time on snow. Just be prepared for there to be some fairly challenging and variable weather and snow conditions, but when Scotland comes good it is hard to beat! Head over to our Scottish Resort Guides for more information.