How to work a ski season

How to work a ski season

Foreign travelers may be tempted to apply for jobs at ski resorts, which provide many seasonal jobs, especially in winter.

In fact, in France, high and low mountain ranges are large areas of seasonal employment, especially in the hotel and restaurant industry. If you have experience in the field and are willing to go on and on, working at a ski resort can be interesting. In addition, you can live at the resort and enjoy some local benefits (enjoy winter sports during the days you don’t work!).

If you are interested by working as a seasonnal guy, you should have a look to our what to pack for a ski season guide

Work in a ski resort, where?

There are many ski resorts in France. The first employment providers are alpine resorts, whether high or medium mountain. There are more than 200 ski resorts, here is a non-exhaustive list.

The ski areas are not limited to the Alps, and it is also possible to observe the Pyrenees, and to a lesser extent, in the Massif Central, the Jura and the Vosges.

It should be known that depending on the seasons, there can be a great disparity in terms of recruitment, salaries and “mentality” of the recruiter. There are luxury resorts for the rich and most popular family resorts. In fact, the hotels, for example, are not the same, and neither are the requirements (4-star hotel or holiday residence, restaurant or star brewery, etc.).

In general, due to snow, mountain resorts are open less time and therefore offer less employment. Salaries are generally lower than in mountain resorts or very large ski areas (perhaps with the exception of high mountain resorts such as Megève or St Gervais).

Working in a ski resort, for whom?

You want to work at the ski resort because …

you like the mountain, its great landscapes and winter sports;

you are a minimal party animal and you like to work hard in a good environment (there is a lot of entertainment and parties);

You want to acquire a good professional experience.

If you don’t like the cold, the mountain or the festive atmosphere between seasons, then working at the ski resort is probably not for you. If you don’t like being too isolated (some big resorts don’t feel isolated, so it depends), living in the mountains might not be for you either. In addition, you will be asked to be flexible and adapt to situations (snowfall, surplus activity, or the opposite!).

There are still some questions to ask before looking for a job at a ski resort or before accepting a job offer:

Is accommodation provided? If not, how much will it cost you? In fact, the price of housing is prohibitive. Small studies can take you to more than 500 euros per month. We must also see if the charges (water and electricity) are included. If this is not the case, look at the insulation of your home (otherwise, it can become an abyss of energy).

What is the cost of living? In some ski resorts, a simple pizza can cost 30 euros! Daily purchases can be very expensive and are not worth the “investment” to work in the complex. The interest is also to be able to save money for the rest of your trip! Keep in mind that in some resorts, you could benefit from discount cards, depending on the season, that allow you to get small discounts from merchants.

Do you need a vehicle to work? You will always find a way to get to your station at the beginning of the contract and leave later, but will you need a car every day? Not having one will make you feel too isolated? Are there bus connections to the resort for sightseeing during your days off or for shopping?

What are the advantages offered by your contract? Accommodation, ski pass, tips, bonuses, food …

You have a pet? If so, it will be impossible to take it with you to a seasonal residence (usually provided by your employer).

Work in a ski resort, what jobs?

Ski instructors

The stations are hiring extremely different trades! However, as a foreign traveler, some jobs will be very difficult to access. This is the case of ski instructors, which is a regulated profession and requires a French training and diploma. You are unlikely to have time to meet these requirements. You cannot request this type of work. The trades of guide and tracker-rescuer are also regulated. The same goes for the technicians in the ski lifts.

The tourist offices are also hiring centers, especially if the station is large. However, even if you are a tourism professional and speak several languages, local professionals are generally preferred (knowledge of the region is often required), unless you have special skills (such as Russian). It costs you nothing to request such ads: you have the right to do so.

As a nomad, focus on three main areas of employment, which will be most available to you (you can discover these operations through this YouTube channel):

The hotel and restaurant industry: the hotel and restaurant complexes are extremely numerous and offer a wide variety of positions: room, reception, cook, waiter, diver, etc.

The hours will be many, but the rewarding experience! Salaries vary according to the position occupied. For less qualified positions, expect to receive the SMIC (minimum wage) per hour or 9.76 euros gross.

animation: childcare, entertainment center entertainment, etc.

Sale: in the complex, there are many shops, both traditional stores (such as bakeries and supermarkets) and very specific mountain shops (equipment rental, sports shops, etc.). It is a great work provider. The fact of speaking several languages ​​is an undeniable advantage. Knowledge of the technical material is not always requested, you will learn quickly.

Work at the ski resort, the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage :

* Depending on the bonuses provided by the employer, it is possible to save during your contract and reserve a sum to travel at the end of winter.

* Working in the mountains allows you to discover an interesting part of French culture and immerse yourself in everyday life in a great nature.

* You can make a lot of knowledge and live in community! This will allow you to make friends and practice French!

* You can progress in skiing or popping if you’re already an amateur.

* A payment that can be interesting.


* Living in the mountains is not for everyone. Do not be afraid of harsh weather conditions and be isolated.

* The cost of living is very high.

* An intense period of work sometimes difficult to live!

* Committing for a season is usually committing for 3 to 5 months in the same place.

Working in a ski resort, how to look for work?

You should know that tourism is the most dynamic activity in the vast majority of mountainous areas. For locals, there is almost no other business opportunity. Therefore, municipalities tend to favor them to fill many positions. This is the main obstacle that a traveller will find in his job search.

Also, as we have seen before, if you have more experience in luxury hotels, look for more exclusive ski resorts. If this is not the case, it is unlikely that you will find a job in the hotel industry in this type of station.

To find a job, one must already identify which stations are best suited to their experience and aspirations (large or small resort, family resort or more luxurious?). Once this selection is made, the ideal is to go to the websites of each station: an Employment section is always available. You can check job offers that are already online or contact the municipality or the tourist office for additional information, especially if people has already been hired in the past. Specify that you are a foreign worker with a valid work visa and that the employer will not have to complete additional procedures (unless it is Russian or New Zealand). Focus on your knowledge of international tourism, even in the domain of several languages, it is an advantage compared to the locals! However, you must speak a correct level of French to find a job in contact with the public and customers. Send your CV in person (if you can) or by email. CVs and cover letters must be customized according to the work being sought in order to make the most of the opportunities!

When to search Take an inventory of the stations that interest you as soon as possible. In general, the vast majority of job offers for the winter season are online in September and October (for contracts of up to 5 months, from December to April). Also participate in forums and trade fairs that recruit seasonal workers. There are usually late summer in the largest cities of the Alps and the Pyrenees. Youth Information Offices and Points are organized, for example, and you can go to their facilities. There is a second hiring season for the summer season, usually in May. Summer contracts do not last more than 2 months (July – August). The number of hires is obviously minimal compared to the winter season.

Links to find work and get in touch with other temporary workers

The seasonal contract

When working in some ski resort positions (for example, in the hotel and catering industry, this is not the case in stores), you will not have a standard employment contract. This will be a seasonal contract. The seasonal contract is particular in the French Labor Code. These are fixed-term contracts (such as fixed-term contracts), but do not entitle you to a precarious premium (a bonus of 10% of your gross salary, paid at the end of a fixed-term contract). There will be many hours worked, and there may be many overtime and few days off. That is why it can be economically advantageous to work in ski resorts. To know the advantages of your position, read your contract (the benefits are also indicated on the payment receipts), but above all, find out when you submit the application or if you keep your profile.

Related reading : What to wear for après ski / 11 tips to save on your ski budget

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