What are the best ski season jobs for a gap year?
If you’re taking a gap year and you love to ski or snowboard, spending time in the mountains is a must! From chalet host to ski bum, ski instructor to bartender, there are several ways in which a gapper can live and work a winter.
The seasonaire life is epic but what is the best way to spend your time?
We look at the pros and cons of 6 popular gap year ski season jobs.
1. CHALET HOST
If you have a passion for cooking and hosting large groups of people, then chalet host work can be very rewarding. It’s a great way to gain catering and hospitality experience. Most jobs will offer accommodation, food, lift pass and equipment as part of your employment package. There is also a great social scene with other chalet staff of the company you work for.
Possibly the hardest job in any ski resort. You never get as much time as you hope on the mountains to improve your technique and party time is limited to late evenings. You’ll often miss après (coincides with afternoon tea and dinner prep) and late nights take their toll when you must be up at 7am to start breakfast.
Being at the centre of the party scene constantly, this is a very sociable job. Everyone wants to be your best friend if you can potentially sort them out with free booze 😉 ! Often pays quite well (tips in North America and Canada are amazing).
Bar jobs are hard to get. You’ll have to work very antisocial hours – your shifts will cover après and late nights, where you’ll be on the wrong side of the bar to all your friends. Don’t be disillusioned…cleaning the loos is part of the job too!
3. Ski / Snowboard Instructor
Earn money doing what you love. You’ll get maximum time on the slopes and relatively good wages (roughly C$15/hr as a Level 1 instructor). Of course, there is also the red instructor jacket…wearing the official uniform makes you feel like a real pro! Being a ski instructor is undeniably cool 😎 The social scene is great – both in the pro room after lessons and in the bars.
You’ll need to pay to qualify first. We have a course that enables you to qualify and work in the same season (ski instructor courses & snowboard instructor courses). You’ll need to find a place to live and feed yourself – there is often staff accommodation or you can rent an apartment/condo with other newly qualified pros.
4. Lifty (lift attendant)
You’ll be outside every day, enjoying the fresh mountain air. Your afternoons and evenings are free so you can après as much as you can handle!
Virtually impossible to get lifty jobs in Europe. You’ll need to head to Canada, New Zealand or Australia. Shovelling snow from under the lift can be tiring and repetitive. No immediate friendship group – you will often be working by yourself.
If you enjoy looking after children, then childcare in the mountains is a great choice. You usually have fewer children than in a nursery and you can entertain children for hours playing in the snow…think snowman building and snowball fights!
You’ll get very little time on the mountain because you are with the kids all day. Most of these jobs require you to be qualified. If working as a freelance nanny, work can be hard to come by outside of school holidays.
6. Ski bum
Limitless time on the slopes and you can party as much as you like!
You’re not earning so make sure you have done some budgeting and serious saving beforehand. You’ll need more money than you think – ski resorts are expensive! Accommodation, lift pass, eating out and drinks at the bar quickly add up. You will also have to be proactive about making friends as you won’t have a ready made social group, like you would as an instructor or chalet host.
Our verdict 😉 !
If we had to pick the best way to spend a winter season working as a gapper, the ski instructor lifestyle is pretty unbeatable! You get the opportunity to work a job doing something you love while meeting some amazing, like-minded people. You are on the slopes every day, maximising shred time as well as being able to enjoy all the après ski fun!
A note on ski season jobs during the current global coronavirus pandemic:
There is a lot of uncertainty around future travel but many of the large winter tour operators are expecting the 2020/21 winter to go head. Most have held off writing job descriptions until they know how they will operate in compliance with COVID guidelines. There has simply been a delay on the recruitment process for next winter. Now is the time to start preparing your CV and applications for when they start advertising jobs.