Working Conditions at Ski Resorts
The difficulty of your job will depend largely on what you are hired to do. Working directly on the mountain as a ski coach or snowboard instructor allows you to get a tan and spend time on the slopes, but it can also mean contending with bad weather, poor snow conditions, and unruly or unmotivated students. Working as resort support staff might mean your days are free for skiing, but you have to bend over backwards to please guests while on duty.
A ski bum says the lifestyle is sometimes not all it’s made out to be:
“It’s not as easy as some people think to move out here and get a job right away. You put in long days. If you want to ski all day and work all night you’re pretty beat by the end of the day. Pay can be pretty low and the housing shortage can be difficult.”
Like service jobs everywhere, working at a ski area is all about pleasing customers. The cost of ski equipment, transportation, lodging, and lift tickets can make even the weekend skiing trip a rather expensive proposition. The skiing public, therefore, expects and deserves a quality experience. With lift tickets at many premium resorts costing over $100 per day, skiers have little patience for thirty-minute lift lines or congested, ungroomed slopes.
Obviously, some aspects of their experience, such as the amount of snow and sun, are beyond your control. But for the most part you will be expected to go the extra mile whenever a customer requests your services, whether it be at a restaurant, in a lift line, or on the slopes.
Working at a ski resort may not be fun and sun all the time – you will be expected to work hard. But if you play your cards right, you could land a great job, a decent place to live, and still have plenty of time to ski or snowboard on your time off.
A waiter at a ski resort describes his daily routine:
“Usually I wake up, get motivated, get a quick bite to eat, head out to the mountain all day, get off the mountain at 4pm, and go straight to work until 10pm. Then I get off work, belly up at a bar, go meet some friends somewhere, shoot some pool, and then head home and do it all over the next day.”