Is your dream job on (or near) the slopes?
If the 9 – 5 is getting you down and you’re longing for the peace of the mountains and crisp crunch of the glistening white slopes, maybe it’s time for a change of career.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the roles you can do in the snow and ski industry, with some offering the possibility to transfer over to the summer season.
From cooking and daily cleaning to shopping, stock control and budgeting, you’ll be responsible for keeping things running smoothly and efficiently. Whether you’re in sole charge of your own chalet, or working as part of a team in a larger property, you’ll need to be friendly, outgoing and enthusiastic.
Not confident about your cookery skills? You can enrol on a week-long course and at the end of the week you’ll know how to satisfy the appetites of the hungriest holidaymakers.
What do you do as a chalet host?
Being a chalet host can mean a number of things. It can mean that you are cooking breakfast, cake and dinner 6 days a week, plus cleaning, shopping, budgeting. Sometimes you will have a set menu to do, other companies will want you to design your menu.
It’s important to check (a) what the perks of the job are – make sure you get a lift pass, kit and insurance thrown in, and if you are working in a large ski area, check whether you get the whole area lift pass, or just a local one; (b) will they tell you where you are to be employed before you go – you may want to have an idea whether you will be somewhere with lots of nightlife or not; (c) can you use company vehicles to get about on your day off?; (d) do you want to work alone (chalet of 8-10 guests) or with others?; and (e) some chalet hosts live in, some live out. How far away is the live out option? What will the accommodation be like?
Meal times are a highlight of many peoples’ chalet holidays. In some of the larger buildings, you’ll be catering for up to 30 guests, and you’ll make sure they’re an event to look forward to. You’ll create the menus, manage the budget, control the stock and be a charismatic member of the chalet team.
Resort Managers – Chalets
As a Resort Manager you’ll be responsible for the smooth running of a number of chalets across a resort. Whether you’re preparing chalet accounts, negotiating with local suppliers, or ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and H&S, you’ll always find there’s plenty to do. It’s a key role with loads of responsibility, which is why someone with extensive experience of working in chalets or tour operations is usually preferred.
You’ll definitely need experience in handling budgets and administration, and you’ll be someone who really cares about every customer’s experience. A real stickler for good service, you’re someone who constantly wants to raise standards in your work.
Hotel Managers/Assistant Hotel Managers
To do this role, you’ll need a strong background in hospitality to keep things running smoothly, efficiently and within agreed budgets. Key responsibilities will be staff motivation and retention, stock control, admin, accounts and health & safety. So you’ll need lots of initiative, as well as diplomacy skills and an approachable personality. A working knowledge of the local language and sound IT skills would be very useful too.
Club Hotel Chefs
Whether you’re an experienced Head Chef, recently qualified or somewhere in between, you’ll enhance your skills working in a Club Hotel. At the highest level, you’ll be supervising a large kitchen team, drawing up menus, managing budgets, and making sure health & safety standards are maintained. Lower down the scale, there will still be plenty of scope to add your own ideas for ways to improve breakfasts, afternoon teas and 3-course evening meals.
After a hard day on the slopes, skiers and snowboarders look forward to coming back to their hotel. Your job will be to ensure your hotel lives up to their expectations. You’ll clean, tidy, serve meals and, possibly, drinks. In short, provide help wherever needed.
Working on a shift basis, you’ll help the chefs with food preparation, cleaning, stock rotation and washing up. And in the evenings, you’ll take responsibility for the security of everyone at the chalet, doing everything from regular fire checks to routine cleaning and preparation tasks.
If you have at least 6 months’ sports or massage therapy experience, and an appropriate qualification, you could set up a portfolio of treatments for customers at one of the resort hotels. Typically it will be your responsibility to provide a wonderful service and market it to customers and staff.
You’ll be the life and soul of the bar, whether it’s an intimate hotel bar or a lively public venues. You’ll create the atmosphere, have a sixth sense for when someone needs serving, help promote events and be the guru customers turn to for holiday tips and advice. Of course, there’s a serious side to the work too. (And, as someone with bar experience, you’ll know this.) You have to be reliable and diligent about both ensuring cash and stock is secure and maintaining a high standard of cleanliness.
A reliable worker with an eagle eye, you’ll help fix anything that goes wrong in the resorts. One day it could be a blocked toilet, the next a broken door handle. As well as pre-empting problems before they occur, you’ll be expected to get stuck into all those simple jobs that need doing round the resort – like shovelling snow or putting a lick of paint on a chalet door. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a qualified technician or simply a jack-of-all-trades enthusiast, as long as you have the right attitude, this could be very well be the fun working holiday you’ve been looking for.
If you have an appropriate qualification such as an NVQ in childcare, this could be your passport to a job abroad. You can typically choose to work for short or long periods throughout the season in a mountain resort, and in a team or on your own. In a crèche or club, you’ll work with other nannies providing a stimulating and caring programme for children aged 6 months to 12 years. In a chalet or villa, you’ll be providing the same sort of care for a small number of children independently, using a toy box of goodies to ensure fun-filled days. Do well here, and you can build a long-term career, transferring to the summer resorts ‘off season’.
Resort Manager – Tour Ops
As a Resort Manager, you’ll make sure customers receive an outstanding service. You’ll be responsible for everything – from sales and operations, to staff issues and budgets, to third-party relationships – so expect to face new and interesting challenges every day. It’ll fall to you to ensure everything runs smoothly in your resort, and that customers have a holiday of a lifetime. It’s a big responsibility, which is why a professional with a proven track record in customer service, team management and resort operations is often preferred. If you can also bring a positive attitude, calmness under pressure and a sense of humour, you’re likely to get a foot in the door.
Life’s a riot when you’re a Rep. Skiing, snowboarding, socialising – you’ll get to experience it all in some of Europe’s nicest resorts without having to part with a single penny. That’s not to say it isn’t hard work, though. You’ll be expected to make sure that your guests have the holiday of a lifetime – and that’s a big responsibility. Whether you’re making welcome visits, helping out on the slopes, selling extra packages or dealing with resort admin, you’ll always find there’s plenty to be getting on with. Organised and practical, you’ll have a winning way with people and some previous sales and customer service experience under your belt already.
What’s it like working as a resort rep?
Things vary a lot between companies – some work loads, others get of time to ski. As a rule most work an enormous amount with a lot of 5am starts and late nights. The reps for company I worked for got to ski very rarely (whereas I skied every day) and ended up making a lot less money (as they were nver tipped by clients). Choosing the right company is a bit hit and miss – the higher end ones will often expect higher standards but the lower end ones will stretch you more widely.
Most days you would have to spend an hour or so working during the day, but rest of day is yours to ski, and then working from 6 to midnight. I skied Mon – Fri for 4 or 5 hours each day … could have done more … but I got in plenty of partying too !! You’ll have a ball no matter where you go ! Definitely among the best 4 months of my life !! And although the pay is cr*p … I never had less money worries in my life … all your accommodation and bills are paid for … sweet talk the bar – staff / customers and you will have a lot of drink flowing your way … so only food to worry about !!
A crucial behind-the-scenes player, you’ll perform a wide variety of admin tasks at a resort. From completing the accounts, to paying suppliers, to arranging airport transfers with military precision, you’ll prove absolutely invaluable. It won’t all be office work, however – you’ll also have a hand in meeting and greeting customers at the airport and hosting the après ski programme. It’s a role with amazing variety, so expect to face new challenges all the time. To succeed, you’ll need to combine a real flair for admin and organisation with a bright, outgoing personality. You’ll be keen to make new friends and enjoy the slopes in Europe’s nicest resorts.
Purchase Ledger Assistant
A key member of the on-site finance team, you’ll make sure that all the suppliers are paid on time and that all costs are recorded on the appropriate ledgers. As this is essentially a data-processing role, you’ll need to have an excellent eye for detail and a clear and accurate way of working. You’ll be comfortable with using Excel and familiar with accounting systems in general. A real team-player, you’ll be keen to bring your skill and enthusiasm to the job.
It’ll be your mission to make sure all financial transactions are properly managed and recorded. You’ll manage both the accounting data and cash flows, usually for more than one resort, and give the Resort Managers vital assistance in these areas whenever they need it. Not surprisingly, then, you’ll be someone with a proven track record in accountancy, either from a professional practice or a commercial setting. An excellent Excel user, you’ll have the confidence and credibility needed to take on this highly responsible role.
Hotel, Bar or Chalet Accountant
You’ll provide financial support in one of three key areas: hotels, bars or chalets. You’ll monitor and manage all income and expenditure within your given area – with a view to maximising each resort’s profitability. Whether you’re producing monthly reports, performing reconciliations, or training Managers in accounting systems, your contribution will be absolutely vital. A part-or-fully qualified accountant, you’ll have the confidence and credibility needed to meet this exciting challenge head on.