Sarah’s Short and Sweet Guide to Snagging a Job in the Alps for the Winter

Needless to say doing a season is not for the faint hearted there’s a lot of hard work involved just to get a few more hours on the mountain, and let me tell you working on a hangover is not fun.  There’s a lot of toilets to scrub, dishes to be polished and arses to be licked; but if your game, then without a doubt it will be the most fun filled 5 months of your life.

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Gaining skills, exploring and making memories 

First things first…

  • Research some jobs

Common jobs in the alps include:

    • chalet host – you will ALWAYS be responsible for keeping the chalet clean and tidy whilst making your guests as comfortable as possible.  You will also be responsible for serving breakfast and dinner and making sure afternoon tea is set up for the guests return.  Depending on company you may be required to cook breakfast, afternoon tea (a cake) and dinner for your guests.
    • chef (chalet, hotel, restaurant or cafe)
    • bar staff
    • kitchen porter
    • driver (you generally must be over 21 and have a full clean driving license)
    • waitress (the host country’s language will be required to some level)
    • Hotel staff
    • Nanny and childcare staff (often require qualifications)
    • Resort reps – responsible for a little bit of chalet management, guest satisfaction, ski passes, coach ferrying
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You’ll get to work with some of the funniest people you’ll ever meet

There are obviously other jobs available but these are the most common “seasonnaire” jobs.

  • Once you’ve decided what job to go for it’s time to have a look at some companies.
  • Apply for as many companies as possible.
  • Think about whether you want to go to a particular resort (think about researching resort specific companies so you definitely go to a resort you want to go to), whether you want to work for a big or small company and what you want to get from your season.
  • “Big” companies include, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski VIP,  Crystal, HotelPlan Ltd. (Esprit, SkiTotal, Inhams), SkiWorld (but has a small company feel)
  • “Smaller” companies – you will have to research for yourself.  The same goes for in resort bars.  GOOGLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.
  • Chalet, bar and driver jobs are the best for mountain time, in theory… lots of bar staff end up not actually skiing that much because they end up sleeping all day after late shifts the night before. Chalet hours are always split shifts and change over day is the one day a week you will learn to dread.
  • Think about the hours you want to work as well, this may determine what roles you apply for.
  • Check out natives.co.uk this is/was the season bible for all jobs mountain located.  They also run cookery courses which some companies will request you do to get your role in a chalet.
  • Also something to bear in mind is, especially with Chalet work (can you tell this is what I did yet?), researching the company will be very important.   There’s a lot of very luxury companies out there nowadays and that comes with it’s own issues.  The pay may be better, the company probably treat their staff better, but they expect more of you as an employee.  This usually means more demanding guests because they expect a higher level of service which in turn means you get less mountain time.  Usually you get tipped better though.  But who does a season for the money?
  • Now we are ready to apply.
  • Make sure your CV is up to date and easy to read.  Most recent things nearest the top please.  This will help you to fill in application forms too.
  • Tailor your covering letter to what the job role requires.  No point telling them how great you are at cash handling if your going to be a chalet host.  Read the descriptions and go from there.
  • Get someone to check both your CV and your covering letters.  Please, please, please do not send off your applications with grammar or spelling mistakes, it is not endearing.  It just makes you look stupid.
  • Now time to send them off! Good luck!
  • When the time comes for interviews.  Make an effort with your appearance.  You are the face who is going to be representing them after all, and they want that face to look tidy, clean and professional.  Most importantly, BE BEST YOURSELF.
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And if your lucky you’ll get to play with views like these
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