Ski Work Rundown
When October approaches in Europe, skiing enthusiasts scan the weather reports for news of the first fluttering of snow on the mountains. While the rich, lucky few can afford to decamp to Meribel or Cloisters for the season the rest of us will have to offer our services as cooks, cleaners and guides to do the same.
Finding a job with a ski tour operator requires perseverance. Viewed solely on the numbers applying each year the chances of landing a vacancy are slim. The numbers though can be misleading as thousands of staff are needed to cater and care for the tour operator's holidaymakers and most ski job seekers will be applying to several companies.
Besides you are not a number but a responsible, bi-lingual individual with cordon bleu catering skills, childcare experience, a strong back and you can unblock a toilet.
If this is true, well done, you'll be on a plane to Val d'Isere in no time. If you are responsible and have one or two of the other qualities then the chances are the merry go round of cv sending, interviews and waiting by the phone will see you land a job in the Alps.
Below are the most common jobs available in a ski resort. The titles, duties and qualifications needed may vary slightly from company to company but all employers will agree that for all jobs hard working and responsible people with friendly personalities are required.
The resort manager is the tour operator's man on the spot. Charged with the smooth running of the resort, the RM's duties include organising all aspects of the client's holidays and dealing with all other resort staff. Some companies will also expect the RM to do a bit of ski guiding a few days a week.
Patience, resourcefulness and efficiency are the qualities required for the most demanding job in the resort. Managerial experience may be needed by some companies and local language skills and skiing ability are a must.
In smaller resorts, the resort rep may do the job of a resort manager. In larger resorts they will assist the RM. Again skiing skills are required if the resort rep has to double as a ski escort.
Obviously good skiers, with experience and/or qualifications, are needed. The ski rep plans and leads a comprehensive ski programme tailored to guests' needs. Sometimes the ski rep is required to assist the resort manager or reps with transfers, snow clearing and other odd jobs. Maintenance skills, DIY and mechanical, and a driving licence are assets not to be overlooked if you want this role. A language is usually required.
According to Delphine Shipton, formerly of Lotus Supertravel, chalet hosts should have cooking qualifications and plenty of hands on experience. They must be able to cook meals of Cordon Bleu standard, as well as produce a good selection of cooked breakfasts, cakes and canapés. Chalet hosts must excel in the three main areas: cooking, cleaning and hosting guests, and have a cheerful, approachable and mature personality.
A smart title for an unsophisticated chore of a job. You're washing up, buddy. Foreign languages are generally unnecessary - if you could speak French you wouldn't have fallen for the fancy job title, would you?
MBO stands for Maintenance and Building Officer or Muscle Bound Oaf - both titles give a general idea of what this job entails. Knowledge and practical experience of electrics, DIY and plumbing are required. The MBO will also be involved with transfers (so a driving licence is needed), carrying things, clearing snow, laundry and the daily bread round. Very popular when things get blocked or broken.
Hotel and Catering Staff
Some tour operators require chefs and other catering staff for larger chalets or hotels. Chefs will have experience of cooking for large numbers and will need qualifications. Kitchen management skills, including menu planning and budgeting, are required.
Positions may be also available for hotel managers, chambermaids, wait staff and bar staff.
Responsible for the safe keeping of children and organising play activities. NNEB, RGN or BTEC qualifications will be necessary. Experienced child carers without qualifications may find work as au pairs with some companies.
Depending on the size of the resort and the facilities operated by the tour operator, other positions may be available. Crystal Holidays, for instance, own a nightclub in France and require door staff, cloakroom attendants and a DJ. Other tour operators may employ masseurs, admin staff and drivers.
Working in Ski Resorts - Europe & North America - latest edition available from amazon.co.uk
Directory > Ski Jobs
Delphine Shipton formerly of Lotus Supertravel
Image courtesy of Skistar Tysil