Job Issues when working in Operations and Support
Getting hired for an outdoor job means you will need to be prepared for certain conditions not found in more traditional positions like office work or retail sales.
The weather will be a serious consideration for those working outdoors.
You will most likely work your entire shift (except for meal breaks) outside in a high-altitude, wintry environment. Temperatures may be frigid, especially in eastern resorts, and atmospheric conditions may bring new meaning to the word inclement. If you don’t currently live in a part of the country with similar conditions, make sure to properly prepare yourself. You might consider taking a short trip to a ski area to test your reaction to the weather. If you don’t own adequate winter clothing – including boots, pants, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, and long underwear – get it. Remember, you will be spending many hours working outdoors, even on rainy and snowy days when, as a recreational skier, you would ordinarily stay inside by a fire. Whatever the weather, sunscreen is important. High altitude, particularly in combination with snow glare, means quick sunburns. Use at least SPF 15. One bad burn can result in a season of discomfort.
Outdoor jobs will also require at least a minimal level of physical activity. Those seeking work as a means of spare-time skiing should already be sufficiently fit, but long hours on the slopes can be taxing for anyone. Physically challenged persons may be precluded by their disabilities from this work, with the notable exception of some ski instruction.
Most ski area jobs involve a great deal of interaction with the public, so you must be consistently armed with a friendly, outgoing demeanor. A ski resort may employ thousands of people to provide an enjoyable setting for its guests, but it is actually only a small percentage of customer service workers who make or break a guest’s vacation. It will be crucial to live by the adage “the customer is always right.” Uniforms or professional attire will likely be required for many positions.
Even among entry-level ski resort positions there is a hierarchy. Most jobs will give you access to a ski pass and pay in roughly the same range. What makes one ski bum job better than another is the work schedule.
A ski area employee explains:
“If you want to have a lot of time for skiing of course you’ll want a night job. If you just want to make money and don’t ski you’ll want a day job.”
Another worker gives his opinion:
“The biggest drawback of daytime jobs is that you work the same hours as the ski lifts, so you don’t get much chance to ski on the days you work.”