Is Ski Resort Work for you?
The ski bum lifestyle is a beautiful one but certainly not for everyone.
Pay can be low, housing difficult to find, and jobs menial or boring.
You may be forced to contend with inclement weather and variable snow conditions as well as difficult students (if you’re an instructor) or guests.
A ski resort employee who works as both a housekeeper and a waiter explains that sometimes you have to just go with the flow and hope the rewards are worth the hassles:
“You have to wake up at 5am, you have to hitchhike to work, then you must do your job as well as the job of everyone who didn’t show up on time or at all. Then you stress out about money and bad managers for nine hours. You just have to enjoy the ski pass that compensates you for it.”
Another challenge is the unpredictable nature of the ski industry. A veteran ski bum explains how workers sometimes can be at the whim of their employers’ success:
“One drawback of working at a ski resort is the inconsistency of the business. You have to struggle through the slow periods after the holidays and sometimes before spring break. It makes it pretty hard to finance things.”
But if you know what lies ahead and you are willing to work hard, a season spent working at a ski area can be one the best winters of your life. It also can become a career. Hear the story of one veteran ski bum who now works as a ski area manager:
“In the classical ski bum tradition, I came up to visit a friend, got a job being a lift operator, and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been here now for seventeen years.”