Considering the recent economic turbulence, you might have given up on a winter getaway this year. Who can afford the time off work, much less the high price of flights, hotels and rental cars? Hang on, snow lover! There is a golden path to free lift tickets! Why not work for a season at your favorite ski resort?
Whether you’re looking for ski resort jobs that will let you relax and ski most days or you’re actually looking for career advancement, there are plenty of options for getting away this winter without breaking the bank or hurting your current salary. Check out these two success stories for some inspiration on how to find a job at a ski resort.
Ski Resort Job #1 – Hard-Core Ski Nut
Does the sight of fresh powder sailing past your goggles make you come alive? Well, you should consider following the tracks of Jeremy Milo. A Stanford University grad planning to get an M.B.A., Milo decided to take a break before business school and got a ski patrol job at North Star ski resort near Lake Tahoe. Now working for Google, Milo wistfully recalls the joys and challenges he experienced during that awesome winter.
- Great friends. Milo especially enjoyed the interesting folks he met from around the world. He says, “A lot of the people would be seasonal then go to South America or Australia to work during winter there. It was a very international crew.”
- Paid with perks. Just how much is that season’s ski pass worth to you? Hopefully, a lot since you’re unlikely to find a high-paying seasonal gig outside of waitressing and bartending. Milo recalls his ski patrol job paying barely over $8/hour in 2001. But, for him, it wasn’t about the paycheck it was about more moguls. Plus, he says that ski resorts often work together so you can ski for free on nearby mountains and trails. This is a great advantage, Milo says, because “sometimes skiing where you work is the last thing you want to do on your day off.”
- Physically demanding. Whether you drive a snow plow, stand at the lifts all day or fit ski rentals, ski resort jobs can be hard work for your body. If your current job has you sitting at a desk all day some physical activity might come as a welcome relief. A ski patrol job is an extreme example of that, Milo says, “You’re an ambulance on skis out there. You feel like you worked hard at the end of day.”
Ski Resort Job #2 – Spa Bunny
Maybe you’d like to experience the relaxed mountain lifestyle but don’t want to work outdoors. There are always office, retail and restaurant gigs among the list of possible ski resort jobs. Or, how about working in a spa? Sarah Komyate moved to Big Sky Resort in Montana a year ago to join an independent massage practice. “When I finished massage school in Seattle,” she says, “I found an ad looking for a massage therapist out here. I came on vacation, interviewed, and moved out for the job several months later.”
- Plenty of clients. Business really thrives in the winter because demand is high. “Our massage business has a location in the village, a room in one of the hotels, and we do a lot of outcalls to people’s homes,” Komyate says.
- Back to nature. For most seasonal workers the greatest perk of ski resort jobs is the natural beauty. “We get to live in a remote, very peaceful place in the world. We rarely drive on the freeway, there is wildlife all around us and it’s beautiful here,” says Komyate. She adds that despite the increasingly high amount of clients and busy days on the job, “it’s just a low-stress place. If you’re looking for some peace, solitude, and a few good people then definitely [try working a season].”
- Deep discounts. While working for an independent firm doesn’t score you unbridled free access to the mountains, your employer may be able to afford you discounted ski resort lift tickets. Komyate says, “I would rather work for a small business and make better money.” Meanwhile, her employer is still able to afford her a sizeable discount on a ski resort pass for the whole season: $500 off the retail price.
So, if you find yourself daydreaming of double black diamonds, apply now! The winter season ski resort jobs are already filling up. Just pick your favorite place – Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, Alta, or Sugarbush – and make your “working vacation” happen this year.