July 9, 2009

Reader Mailbag: Ski Resort Jobs

On Thursdays, I answer our readers questions about their job search.

Dear JobMonkey,

I’m a 17-year old high school student from Austria. I want to come to the United States next winter after I graduate to work at a ski resort. I have a lot of experience skiing here in the Alps and think I could do a good job. What can you tell me?

Sincerely yours,
H from Austria

Dear H,

Thank you for your letter. Your timing is perfect. While we are still in the middle of the summer here in the United States, ski resorts are already starting to hire staff for the upcoming ski season. You mentioned being an experienced skier, which is a plus. Let me run down some of the most popular types of jobs that you can find in a ski resort community.

Support & Operations jobs include ticket sales, housekeeping, life operation and restaurant staff. Jobs pay typically low salaries, but the benefits are plentiful — including a season pass to ski on-site and free housing.

Ski Shops offer a variety of retail positions selling all sorts of ski and snowboarding gear. Pay is minimum wage but without the benefits of a resort job. I, therefore, don’t recommend a ski shop job as your full-time line of work; if you need to supplement your income, however, this could be a great part-time gig.

Ski Instructor jobs are the most prestigious and typically the best paid of the resort jobs. Resorts prefer to hire high school graduates with skiing expertise, and fluent English. While not required, most resorts also prefer instructors with certification.

Ski Patrol positions are great if you love to ski, but don’t want to teach others. Patrollers are the first line of help in the event of an emergency on the slopes — which can include anything from an injury or medical situation to a skier getting lost or snowed in. Most resorts require that their patrollers have first aid certification, while some will allow you to get certified during your training.

For more information on these, and other ski jobs, be sure to check out the JobMonkey’s Guide to Ski Resort Jobs.

Also keep in mind that as a non-American, you will need a work permit to be legally employed at a ski resort (or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter). Here are a few more resources that might help you figure out the paperwork:

>> Information on foreign worker visas from JobMonkey

>> An article from CNN Money about foreign worker visa applications

>> Explanation on how to petition for the HB-1 Visa from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website

Finally, be sure to check with your future employer about obtaining a visa, as the resort may be able to facilitate or at least expedite the process for you.

Good luck with your ski job search. I hope you find just the right job!

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