Guest Author - Carol Viau
Working at a ski area can be a fun and rewarding experience. It is also a great
way to get free lift tickets (or a seasonís pass) for you and possibly your family. The type of benefits you receive will likely depend on the job you choose.
Generally, in North America, full time employees receive ski passes for themselves and their families. If they work year round for the ski area, they may also receive other benefits, such as health insurance. Part time employees receive ski passes too; however, the offer of family passes for part timers depend on the resort.
Let us look at a few of the many options that are available for full or part time employment.
Parking attendant may not sound like a glorious job, but at some ski areas they
are done working by noon (or earlier), and get the rest of the day to ski. They are usually provided a ski locker at the mountain and a ski pass.
Lift attendants arrive to work early and depending on the ski area, may be assigned to a specific lift for the season, or rotated around. They might work at trams or gondolas. This job is also provided a ski locker and lift pass. Lifties tend to work for a certain amount of time and then they get a break to ski (while on the clock). Sometimes they can even get a few runs in before the lift opens to the public, as they may have to do a little shoveling at the lower and upper lift station if it snowed the night before. If a ski area has night skiing, one could possibly work a night or two during the week to get ski benefits for themselves and/or for the family.
Food and beverage workers run the restaurants located on the mountain. This is another way to get in some work and skiing on the same day. Workers often take the lifts up to get to work, and they get to ski down when finished, in addition to skiing some during the day.
Snow groomers only work nights, often in two shifts. The early shift will start around 4:30 or 5pm and the late shift will start at 11pm or later. This job is for the night owls. This allows for a half day of skiing (possibly more) depending on when the shift starts.
Ski Instructors are probably the highest paid employees on the hill during the day. While the pay may be a little low for beginning instructors, it jumps significantly with a couple seasons under the belt. Some areas allow part timers to work only holidays and peak periods for a season pass, others may require more of a commitment. Tips are an additional benefit of ski instructing.
Ski hosts are another department of larger ski areas. They require employees to stand by ski maps, answer questions, help the public and do orientation tours. Depending on the resort, it might be a paid position or a part time volunteer position that also allows for a ski pass.
While these are just a few of the many jobs resorts offer, it is important to note that most ski areas donít pay high wages. People work at ski areas for the free ski pass, the camaraderie with co-workers, the skiing and the fun social setting. You will often find people that have worked at a ski area for a very long time, as it can be a very rewarding experience.