Since Chalet Girl hit the big screen in 2011 the prospect of seasonaire lifestyle has become more mainstream. Admittedly, the chances of winning a major snowboarding championship, landing a job with a multi-millionaire and falling in love with (plus the bonus of the feelings being reciprocated) his son are slim it is an experience that most will enjoy and certainly no-one will forget. Here are some of the reasons you should take the plunge, work in a ski resort and hit the slopes this winter.
Learn to ski. Or board. Or both. There is truly no other way to properly master snow sports without being one of those children who were strapped into skis the moment they could walk. The daily practice and the company of people of all abilities will push you to learn until you find yourself nailing those jumps, whizzing down black runs and maybe even completing a slalom. Not to mention, you will get to catch countless powder days and make the most of skiing off-piste, hopefully without getting stuck in snowdrifts too often…
It’s a myth that all seasonaires are fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds, hot off of the school press – I had been out of school for a whole seven months by the time I arrived! But I joke, you will find people from all walks of life living and working in ski resorts from the middle-aged chef who was having a bit of a mid-life crisis to the ski bums who come back every year. Moreover, living, sleeping (take that either way…) and socializing with the same crowd will feel like a nightmare at times but here and there you will make incredibly close-knit friendships and spark travel adventures for future dates.
And of course, you can’t forget the guests… Eclectic, fussy, drunken, hilarious, you will experience a bit of everything. My personal highlight would have to be a conversation that went somewhere along these lines:
Guest, proffering a freshly opened bottle of whiskey: “Would you like to join us for a drink?”
Me (bear in mind that at this point I was babysitting for other guests in the chalet): “I’d love to but I’m afraid I can’t drink in uniform.”
Guest: “Oh that’s fine; you can just take it off.”
Me: Looks guiltily at the guest’s wife who is sat next to him…
From the excerpt above you might have guessed that the nightlife is a pretty big part of ski resort life. In fact, it’s a massive part and hopefully, you get to know the bar staff well enough that they induce Happy Hour the moment you walk through the door as prices are rather inflated. Quickly, you learn to cope with very little sleep, almost daily hangovers and whatever local spirit are encouraged at the resort. The music may be cheesy, drunken stumble home involve falling into a lot of snow and cost a bomb if you accidentally take your card instead of cash but the party atmosphere is rife and there is always a fresh influx of people to swap stories with.
There are more options for ski resort jobs than you may think. Traditionally, chalet hosts cook, clean and generally make sure that their guests have a great time. However, if that’s not up to your street you can work in childcare, stock management, company repping (which essentially means sorting out all of the guests’ issues, bookings and so on and so forth), ski guiding, instructing, driving, bar work, cheffing the list is endless. Essentially, it means that you can be somewhere amazing, having an amazing time and doing an amazing job which pays you pocket money to have lots of fun!
Being in a resort all the time means that you can get involved in all of the extras which are put on. Mad, fancy dress rat races across the resort, skiing over pools of freezing water, you name it and it will happen. Plus, of course, are the parties and events like the X Games in Tignes (a huge snowboarding championship) or even just weekly fancy dress nights at the local bar.
With most companies, you get free lift passes, insurance and skis/boards included in your package. This saves you a fortune particularly when you consider that a weeklong ski holiday for a family of four can cost up to six grand – and there you are being paid to be out there having fun! Food and accommodation are unusually included, depending on how you go about landing a job so really your wages are pocket money for you to play with.
The Grim Reality
Surely, I hear you ask; surely it can be as snow clean as you put it? Well, no you are right. Its hard work, it can be dull and repetitive and for some people just isn’t their thing. Having said that the benefits majorly outweigh the cons and it is something that everyone should give a go if they have a chance.
Photo credits: Éole , aworldtotravel , 123_456 , juan carlos labarca
Jess spends her time traveling the globe according and wondering at the marvels she finds on SeeWonders.