Working a season - What's in it for me?

By adamrowden, 20 Jul '12 at 09:35

Most of the jobs we arrange are with tour operators, who have literally thousands of jobs available. A company like Crystal Holidays for example has over 1000 vacancies to fill alone.

To understand what you can get out of it and what's expected of you, it is very important to realise that working a ski season is not a soft option. There is time to ski and party, but there is a lot of hard work in between.

50-60 hours per week
On average the working week is between 50 and 60 hours, and in many cases you are effectively on call at all times. It's just one day off a week and resort managers may not even manage that.

Career potential
Despite all of this staff regularly come back for more. It's estimated that 30-40% of reps and chalet reps return each season - that's why Natives exists - because it's addictive. The fact is that despite the hard work, you do get more efficient over the season and it is a great lifestyle. Indeed for some, there is a career path, which can lead through resort management to an eventual senior management role in head office.

Only £50 a week?
How much? Pay varies by company and by job. While wages might not seem a lot, you should remember that companies will pay for your travel, accommodation, lift pass, ski equipment, insurance and much of your food. In fact once you are out there, it often comes down to vices - drinking, smoking and shopping!

Remember as well that there are various ways to boost that income. If you want to save money from a ski season you can and you can certainly have a higher quality of life than in the UK. There have been many staff who've come home at the end of the season with a very decent amount of savings from less than five months' work.

The Bottom Line
If the bottom line is important to you, you should be aware that these are typical salaries. Again, bear in mind that they vary tremendously across companies, countries and whether you are a first year or not.

Chalet host/rep - £60 per week
Nanny - £70 per week (but usually only one day's skiing!)
Resort rep - £120 per week
Maintenance Man - £60 per week
Plongeur - £50 per week (but most time on the mountain)

Non Tour-Operator Employment
Natives also arranges recruitment for a number of bars and hotels across the globe. These are completely different from tour operator jobs. You will be paid the local equivalent, which may even include overtime. You may have to find your own accommodation, or pay a basic rent for provided accommodation. You are unlikely to have lift pass, insurance or equipment provided for you.

Typical wages are difficult to assess as they vary widely. However, barmen and waiters can earn well. Ski Instructors can earn from £4 - £20 per hour, including uniform and lift pass. Bear in mind that qualifications are a long running issue - for many European countries you have to have passed their own exams.

If this hasn't put you off then visit our Job Search or Job Finder areas now and send us your details. It truly is an unforgettable experience and you'll have trouble finding a member of the Club des Saisonniers to say that it isn't!

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