Seasonnaires: Under the Spotlight

By natives.co.uk, 30 Aug '16 at 15:48

Few people who take the plunge to do a ski season regret it. In fact the majority are more than tempted to do a second (third, fourth and even a fifth!) The lifestyle, the people and, of course the mountains are unrivalled, but what about developing your career at the same time? We decided to interview some fully fledged Skiworld seasonnaires who have moved up the mountain ranks.

James and Steph both currently work in Skiworld HQ. After a couple of seasons under their belts they went on to be a Chalet Manager and a Resort Manager respectively for 2 years running.

Q. Why did you choose to do a season in the first place?
J. Originally a love of skiing, starting from a young age. I went on to do an instructor course when I left school. Then a bad break up spurred me on to do my 2nd winter season of many!
S. I always wanted to do a season and skied from a young age. I was part of the uni ski society and after finishing my degree started applying for graduate schemes - but quickly realised they just weren’t for me!

Q. What was your first job in the Mountains and why?
J. Originally Ski instructor- but the second stint I started as Resort Rep. It was very last minute but I decided to apply for that particular role as I enjoyed meeting people and got a buzz from problem solving and selling.
S. Chalet Host in La Rosiere – I love cooking but for me I really enjoy looking after people- I’m a real home maker. The sales side of being a Resort Host just didn’t appeal to me.

Q. Which is your ultimate ski resort and why?
J. Les Arcs- the skiing terrain is incredible, with amazing off piste across La Vanoise National Park. The bars and nightlife in 1800 is top notch, and with it being my first Skiworld season I have such great memories.
S. Meribel- it just has the nicest vibe for a season, a real community feel despite it being a big resort – and of course the three valleys to ski!

Q. What made you decide to do another season?
J. I knew very quickly that my season in Les Arcs wouldn’t be my last but I wanted a new challenge plus more perks (eg my own bedroom!) I got on really well with the area manager and he inspired me to want to do a more senior role for my next winter season.
S. I came home from my first season and started applying for jobs in London. One of my interviews was for a sales role within a ski company and part of the interview was to sell a holiday to La Plagne. They opened the brochure and the sight of mountains just made me know I wanted to go back for a second season (incidentally to La Plagne).

Q. How did being a manager compare to your first role? Was it what you expected?
J. Just as fun. The stakes were higher, and there was a different kind of pressure but I found it even more satisfying than my first season! It also helped that I had an amazing team in La Plagne.
S. It was definitely hardwork but I loved passing on my knowledge and experience onto the chalet hosts. I really liked that there was more freedom to the set hours of working in a chalet and how varied each day could be. I really liked that I still got to be hands on – working in chalets on occasional mornings or helping with dinner services.

Q. What would you say are the key attributes needed to be a chalet manager/resort manager?
J. As a Resort Manager you need to be quite a strategic thinker, a good critical thinker with the ability to handle any guest or staff issue thrown at you. As a leader I try to be inspirational and lead by example.
S. As a Chalet Manager you truly need to be a people person, with a caring nature- with both your staff and guests in mind. I think having a real eye for detail and impeccable standards is crucial as it’s something you need to instil into the chalet hosts.

Q. If you could pack one thing for a ski season, what would you choose?
J. Berroca!
S. Hand Cream. And loads of socks!

Some people disregard themselves for a managerial role but chances are your Resort or Chalet Manager started exactly where you did… we can’t think of a better reason to ensure your first season isn’t your last!

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