Developing your Skills for a Ski Industry Job
There are plenty of ski industry jobs to choose from. As you can imagine, every job requires a different skill set.
The ski industry is more than just skiing and snowboarding. To keep guests happy a ski hill must also offer food, lodging, entertainment, and retail. Every ski resort and ski town must have people to fill all of these roles.
Each job requires different abilities. Ski resorts hire large numbers of seasonal workers to fill entry level positions, skilled hands-on positions, and specialized career oriented positions. Ski resorts human resource departments are constantly busy.
What Skills Do You Need?
The skills and experience you need depend on the job that you want. Some on-snow jobs, such as ski patrol or ski coaching require high levels of specialization. Other gigs like ski instruction and food services are all about customer service. Some marketing or business gigs are designed for career oriented individuals. Mechanics and ski tuners need technical training to be potential candidates. Retail jobs, lift operators, waiters, and other jobs are ideal for entry-level workers.
Take a minute and think about your strengths. Are you a people person? Do you like to work hands on? Do you want to spend all day everyday on snow? Do you have a knack for sales? Have you worked in a hotel or restaurant? Do you have a long list of excellent references? Do you have certifications in anything related to the ski industry (avalanche, first aid, ski instruction, ski patrol)? Have your prior jobs been guest focused?
By figuring out your strengths, talents, and skills, you can decide what job is best for you.
In the words of one human resources officer, interpersonal skills and flexibility are two very important traits:
"Basically we're looking to hear that they're interested and willing to deal with the public and that they're people-oriented types. We want to know that they're not afraid of physical work. They also need to have the flexibility to do jobs other than what they were hired to do."
She adds, even though the chance to ski is often the number one reason why people look for jobs in this industry, it's not necessary to make that the focus of the interview:
"We ask them why they want to work here and what they would like to do. What we don't want to hear is that they want to work here just so they can get a free ski pass."
Related Ski Jobs Video
Develop Your Resume
The best way to get your foot in the door is to be a familiar face to the people who may hire you. If this isn't possible, develop a stellar resume for the job you want and get ready for a personal interview.
If you're keen to be a ski instructor, make sure you highlight your coaching, teaching, instructing, or people person skills. If you want to be a ski patroller, show that you have knowledge of first aid, avalanches, guest service, and skiing ability. If you are applying for a job as ski coach you need a background in racing or coaching certifications.
After you submit your resume, get ready for an interview. Show your interviewer that you are stoked to be part of the team. Don't say you just want a job for a free pass. Learn a bit about the job in the next few pages and know why you'll be a perfect fit for the job.
Some jobs are very competitive to get. Ski patrol requires skiing and skill tests. Ski school needs to hire people that will be good with guests, but who can also ski. Ski shops need ski tuners who know how to tune quickly and efficiently.
If you're not sure you will get your dream job, be sure to apply for several jobs at several ski resorts. Flexibility is important. This increases your chances of getting the job you want somewhere, but also gives you a backup plan in case you don't get your dream job.
Don't be discouraged if your skills aren't an exact match for the job you want. The ski industry is a hospitality industry and if you're a people person you can often learn the necessary skills, meet the right people, and work your way up the ladder.
Job Search Advice
Remember that whatever job you find, it is a job. Often people seeking work in the ski industry forget this important fact. Choose a job that you will enjoy, not a job that will allow you to ski more. Skiing is everyone's goal, but the job is how you'll make a living. Ski resorts want to ensure they hire professionals, not grimy ski bums. If you want to be a ski bum, look for a job as a dishwasher.
The ski industry exists because people go on ski vacations. These guests shell out lots of cash for flights, gear, accommodations, food, and ski passes. They expect, and deserve, to be treated with the highest respect. Guest service is incredibly important in the ski industry. Think about it this way... Without the guests, the ski industry wouldn't exist.
Working in a ski area is a blast. The best way to be successful when you are in the mountains is to remember the classic motto, "Work Hard, Play Harder."One of the best places to look for a job is at ski job fairs.