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Working at a Winter Sports Resort

By Laura Blake

Posted: 10th July 2014 14:38

Planning a working holiday in Canada?  You’re likely to want to hit the slopes at some point; Canada’s cold climate and mountainous landscape makes it the perfect place to try your hand at skiing or snowboarding, whether you’re a complete amateur or nearing professional status. 

Unfortunately winter sports resorts are not generally all that pocket friendly, and we know that when you’re away from home, splashing out thousands of dollars is not viable for most budgets.  However, the massive influx of tourists into the Canadian resorts during peak season means that there’s loads of seasonal work available, and you should get involved!  Many resorts will provide your board and even food as a part of your wage.  The bonuses of working at a winter sports resort are obvious – catching the fresh powder before work, joining the après-ski parties when your shifts are over.  Plus, the people that you work with here are likely to become friends for life – can you think of a better way to make the most of the Canadian winter?

Skiing/Snowboarding Instructor

Probably the most obvious job going at a ski resort would be to teach!  There are a variety of courses on offer to get you on your way to becoming an instructor, and some of these even guarantee a job on completion.  These can often be completed before arrival, but make sure that your course of choice is an internationally recognised qualification if you do choose to do it at home.  It’s a competitive field and you’ll need to stand out from the crowd to land one of these prized positions.

Lift Operators (‘Lifties’)

This job requires some manual labour and the ability to stand in the cold for the whole of your shift.  You’ll need to scan lift passes, answer questions from the guests, help with loading and unloading from the gondolas, and make sure that the lift station stays clear of ice and snow.  You have to be willing to work in all weather conditions – this is the biggie – but other than that, as long as you’ve got good communication skills and love working in customer service, and will be able to follow the strict safety requirements, this is one of the jobs you can jump right into out here.

Childcare

Lots of families visit the mountains, but young children might not be able to keep up with their parents on a full day of skiing.  Most resorts will provide a crèche or day-care service so that the rest of the family still gets to go off and enjoy the slopes.  There are also kids clubs that you might be involved in running, keeping the children entertained – it’s a tough job!  There are a variety of diplomas or certificates that you’ll need to be able to fill these roles – just babysitting your younger siblings isn’t good enough – but this will definitely be a rewarding and fun job to get your hands on.

Hotel Workers

The hotels on the resorts get packed during peak season and there’ll be a lot of extra staff required to deal with the crowds.  Some previous hotel experience is generally preferred, but working in a hotel can mean anything from cleaning the rooms to manning the front desk – maybe you’ve already got the experience that’ll make you an ideal candidate!  Some smaller resorts might have a few members of staff who multi-task, performing all roles from delivering room service to changing light bulbs, whereas bigger companies will probably hire specifically for each position. 

Bartenders and Restaurant Servers

Just like anywhere else in the world, hospitality staff make your dining and drinking experiences run smoothly.  If you like customer service roles, you can juggle plates like nobody’s business, and you can make a mean margarita – or more appropriately, a snowball – then this is the position for you.  Plus, hospitality people always know where all the best parties are – fact.

Chefs

You might be creating the next Michelin-starred dish, or hauling out large scale buffet feasts, but either way, working as a chef can be a hot and stressful job – good thing you’re in Canada, where the winters will cool you right off with temperatures reaching an icy -30o! If you don’t have any experience, you might be able to pick up an entry-level position as a kitchen hand (read: peeling potatoes and washing salad), but if cooking is your vocation as well as your career path, here’s the role for you.

Useful Resources

Sunshine Village – Banff, Alberta

http://www.skibanff.com/employment/

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/employment/jobs-at-whistler-blackcomb/index.aspx

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/resort/employment

BUNAC Work Canada Ski Resort Placements

http://www.bunac.org/uk/work-abroad/work-canada/extras/ski-resorts

Season Workers ski jobs and courses

http://www.seasonworkers.com/skijobs/resorts/ski-jobs-canada.aspx

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