In the past we’ve covered seasonal work in general but this is our experience on how to look for jobs in the winter and the different types of jobs you can do in Europe and around the world.
Thinking about seasonal work?
If you’re new to seasonal work – perhaps you have just finished university or school or like us you were settled but decided to say ‘let’s say f**k it it and travel’ then there is a role suited to your skills out there.
It’s the end of the autumn period and this is prime time to look for last minute jobs in the ski/snowboard industry, or applying for working holiday visas for countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
This is an affordable way to travel and start meeting like-minded people who will likely guide you in the right direction as to where you go next. It’s normally a young persons game doing seasonal jobs but we are older and have met plenty of people in their 30s/40s doing similar work.
Retrospectively we should have done this earlier but when you have other commitments in your life it’s not always easy to just go.
In saying that our life experience has come in very useful and has pushed us out of our comfort zones, so whatever the circumstance that lead you here please don’t be afraid to become that person you wanted or want to be.
What do I want to do?
Initially we had no idea which job we wanted to do or where we wanted to go. It’s hard when you have no concept of what a job will be like in a foreign country.
Let’s talk through the different types of jobs:
This might conjure up images of Chalet Girl, which to an extent can be sort of near to the truth but there is a lot more hard work involved.
Perks of a ski season jobs is of course lift pass, ski/snowboard and equipment hire, lessons for newbies, accommodation and food paid for and time off in the afternoon to fall gracefully down a mountain.
Location wise in the winter you can explore Europe (Alps, Bulgaria and even Scotland), Japan and Canada. You will find most of these jobs will take you from November to April with some continuing into May.
You don’t have to cook but for budding or experienced chefs there are roles out there for you. Either in chalets using a domestic kitchen, in commercial restaurants and apres-ski bars.
There are companies who will train you up and for chalet chefs be prepared to write a week set menu as part of the application process. You can also attend a chalet culinary course at home to get you started.
Depending on the job, cheffing hours might be slightly different to a chalet host. The job also includes daily food prep, baking for afternoon tea, cleaning the kitchen and doing breakfast and dinner services alongside the host or hosts.
Generally this a job with no prior experience needed and this is also great for couples who where one half cooks in the kitchen and the other hosts.
So a chalet host is exactly that – the face of the chalet you work in. You will serve and lay out breakfast in the mornings, lay out the afternoon tea in the afternoon for when you are up the mountain, dinner service, cleaning the chalet and on changeover days, you will be needed to change over all beds in the chalet and deep clean before the next group arrives.
You are also there to give your guests a great holiday experience and help them out with their needs. It really is a full on job and sometimes you might want to nap instead of ski at the height of season but it’s worth it when you have time off to kick around resort.
A job which most likely requires a childcare background but mostly you can be trained on resort as long as you have a clean criminal record.
Nanny’s for chalet companies will normally work a normal 8-4/5 day dependent on the company. They can also make extra money by taking on babysitter jobs at night. They run daily activities for the kids, prepare lunches and take them to and from ski lessons.
Every company needs a trusty maintenance person on resort who can also drive to and from the airport to pick up guests.
This job is so varied, problems that can arise are everything from plumbing, electric, snow clearing (although this is also a job for everyone). If you’re a handy person with a driving licence then this is perfect, although be prepared to be on call in case of emergencies.
Ski Reps/Resort Managers/Managers
These jobs often demand a slightly higher wage and also offered to those with the right experience even if that’s not necessarily on a ski resort.
A resort manager is usually hired for a chalet company with several chalets which can range from a few chalets to many chalets.
Managing all sections of a resort, including lodging, food and beverage management, human resources, housekeeping, and guest services. You’ll be in charge of employees, finances, customer service, promotions, and quality control.
Reps are the main point of contact for the paying clients and most of the job is spent troubleshooting problems, difficult requests and organising ski/board hire, airport transfers and making sure the chalet staff are happy and organised.
It may also include guiding therefore these are jobs normally better for those with another language and ski/snowboarding experience.
Other management roles can be found though. There are hotels who need general managers, guest services, food and beverage, bar and restaurant managers. If you have the right hospitality background then then you can find similar jobs on a ski resort.
As a housekeeper you can be working as in hotels or chalets and it also doesn’t require heaps of experience.
Daily cleaning and deep cleans on changeover days will be required to a high standard but you should always receive training. You might also be needed to help with luggage and snow clearing.
The hours are normally in the morning and probably all day on changeover days and it helps to be someone who is organised!
If you can speak the local language this is a great job although some places mostly have English speaking clients therefore it is not a requirement for some places.
You can find these jobs in hotels and bars on resorts wherever you want to go and often run similar hours to that of a chalet host perhaps with later nights for bartenders.
This is a job where you need experience in skiing/snowboarding and a genuine love of the sport.
You can receive training to become an instructor and there are good packages on the websites listed below that to get you started on that career path.
Working with kids and adults you can teach all levels and every resort needs multiple instructors!
Other Seasonal Jobs
Not all winter jobs have to be on a ski resort. You can choose to spend your winter in the opposite hemisphere and experience an all year round summer.
Working Holiday Visas
A lot of the jobs listed above can be transferred to a summer season in New Zealand and Australia – instructors for various sports at summer camps, housekeeping, hospitality, childcare jobs and summer rep jobs.
If you are 30 or under you can apply for a working holiday visa from Australia and New Zealand and please be aware you will need at least a few thousand pounds/euros/dollars to enter either country.
Alternatively if you have experience in areas they need skilled workers like nursing for example then this could be career move and there is scope to move here for a short while working in your chosen field and live in cities like Melbourne, Sydney or Wellington.
These visas will last for a year and it gives you a unique opportunity to travel with easy access to South East Asia.
TEFL/ESL Teaching English
September/October is the start of school terms the world over and will take you through the winter months into May or June.
You will also find places looking for teachers all year round, including January when some teachers may have moved on elsewhere.
With a TEFL, CELTA or another teaching certificate you can demand a higher wage teaching English as a foreign language without having to speak to the native language – although it’s nice to learn at the same time to really immerse yourself in a culture.
There is so much scope for development here and the travel opportunities are endless.
With no experience you can find entry level jobs in China, Europe and Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand but we do recommend doing the teaching course at home in a classroom if you can.
Useful TEFL Job Sites
Dave’s ESL Cafe – http://www.eslcafe.com/joblist/
TEFL Professional Network – https://www.tefl.com/job-seeker/
Jobs Abroad – http://www.jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk/latestjobs/
ESL Jobs Lounge – https://www.esljobslounge.com/
Season Workers – http://www.seasonworkers.com
The Job Search
There are plenty of websites that offer different roles in various industries.
Our winter job was on a ski resort at in the French Alps called St Foy, near Tignes and Val d’Isere which we found through this site. This is probably the most user friendly website when applying for seasonal jobs with everything you might want/need to know about seasonal work is on here.
This is another website that also offers lots of interesting internships but these do cost money. Packages to help you move to New Zealand and Australia on working holiday visas are here too but please keep in mind this all costs money and it is something you can do yourself.
Overseas Job Centre
There is a good mix of paid jobs and internships that cost some money on this website. They have a seasonal work section as well as a TEFL jobs section.
Overall the Season Workers website offers the most choice but these are great alternatives according to you needs/budget etc.
Also look on Gumtree if you are UK based as you will often find smaller companies advertise for ski season jobs on here.
Good luck in your search and please get in touch with any questions!