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Bourg St Maurice season in a campervan

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all

Our first post on the forum me and my gf both 28 are currently on with our self build motorhome which we will be setting off to travel Europe this summer 2019 if you are interested our Insta page is the username for this forum. We will be looking at resorts to do a Ski season 19/20 and will be looking for jobs whilst we are there. I have a few questions so if anyone can shed some light or advice on any of them it would be much appreciated. I would like to add that the motorhome will be of a high standard with boiler etc so heat is not an issue.

Our predicament is.... we will be looking for jobs, however from the people we have spoken to say that most jobs offer accommodation with said job which we don't not want as that was the point in the van in the first place to save money.

- Is there any places in BSM to park a van, will it be safe? ie from thieves when we leave it to go ski for the day or to work etc. Also where would this sit us with the locals/authorities if there are not designated spots to park.
- Would we be best taking a generator to top up batteries when needed as all of the campsites that I have seen are anywhere between 10-16 euro per night which works out just as expensive as renting and appt.
- If we were to get a job that didn't offer accommodation etc then I've heard ski passes can be really expensive so its a case of trying to juggle everything.
- we are open to any ideas but BSM has sounded like the most plausible at the moment as it does not get heavily covered in snow, the funicular is a short ride to piste and there is plenty around.

Thanks in advance peeps
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’m not sure about the winter but in the summer this is a motorhome aire spot:

Dropped pin
Near 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France
https://goo.gl/maps/3wEF5BuiQus
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I was just about to check the facilities there on the camperstop app but I appear to have deleted it!

I’m sure someone more helpful will be along in a minute.
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Wild camping if i remember is not allowed in France (and many other euro countries including Italy), you may get away with a night or 2 but generally its not allowed. You can camp on private land with the landowners permission (unlikely for free in a ski resort) or at an aire or a caravan/motorhome park. The latter offers long term pitches but they cost and are not cheap often. Also they can have rules regarding genny use though don't quote me on that.

The free aire certainly on motorways and off main roads are fine for a stop and rest, but i wouldn't want to leave my vehicle with all my stuff in one long term as they are more of a target. This is more of an issue on motorways etc but have read stories of Brit vehicles being target by thieves.

Also from knowing a few people who work in resorts, jobs are not as easy to get as you think, certainly not ones that allow much ski time. Infact i have a mate who is a ski tech in Italy, and he hasn't boarded yet this year (and not cos of the lack of snow), he said to me he won't go out till March when the season slows down. Now how much would that suck...going to the Alps (i assume your main motivation is to ski or board) and not get the time to do so. Often jobs are badly paid, and as you said include board and food which you don't need, the idea is to get people into the resort lifestyle...its not for the pay.

I read a blog about a ski seasonaire once who said in a resort basically you have a triangle of things that govern you:

SKI (or board)
WORK
PARTY

....now choose 2 (as thats all thats realistically feasible!)

On a positive note, what an awesome thing to do, i envy you and hope you work it out!!! Could you perhaps not do less time but not work?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I think there are definitely places where you can park a van/camping car in a number of ski stations for the season -- I know there is a park in the Cham valley just to the north of town, semi hidden in the woods. But I suspect it's something that's kept on the down low. So...you might need some insider knowledge.

As for a job, I assume you're British. Things may be quite diffierent after March 29. And, do you speak French? You may be able to find something "on the black" as they say here, but keep in mind that unemployment in France is around 9 percent right now and probably double/triple that for young people.

Basically, it's certainly doable, but I think you'd need to spend part of this summer lining up jobs...
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Thanks for the reply guys. We are not decided at all on how long we will do etc. We are open to the option of a shorter season maybe dec to end of Feb but that would rule out the chance of getting a skii pass included in working arrangement.

How much are the passes exectly. Do you buy for a month, week or what.

We are open to the idea of working Switzerland if that would be better suited. We do want to do skiing/boarding that is for sure. The main reason for work is so not to dip into our savings for the following summer (ideally be able to save a little but sounds unlikely) our choice from the two would be skiing/work. We like the odd night out but mostly have quiet nights and eat out now and then.

The idea is be self sufficient and not spend our savings while experiencing a different lifestyle.
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My ex and I lived in a van for a season. Read into that what you will Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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no.strife_vanlife wrote:
How much are the passes exectly. Do you buy for a month, week or what.

Best value for money, in terms of cost-per-ski-day, is to buy a Season pass: this year at €957 for Les Arcs, or €1047 to cover La Plagne as well. (For comparison, a typical holidaymaker buying a 6-day pass will pay €269 / €305). There are usually a few discounts available as well (buying in advance etc).
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I wouldn't restrict your view to France.
The Aosta Valley in Italy has a season pass at around 1000€ for the whole valley (Courmayeur,LaThuile,Pila,Cervinia,Monterosa + a few smaller stations)
In Austria there are some season passes that cover huge areas of the country eg. the whole of Tyrol or the whole of Salzburgerland (not a fast food chain)
The Dolomiti Superski pass covers 1300km of piste and was 810€ this year if bought before Xmas. 870€ after.

Insulation is key!
An extra inch or two all round could save you hundreds of £ through the Winter. It will also keep you cooler living in a tin box in Summer.
I don't know how ostentatious your van will be. I tend to go for the stealth thing myself but I'm not looking to live in it long term - just overnighting really.
Anyway, from a stealth perspective, better insulation also means not having to run the heater so much, which in itself can attract attention.
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orange wrote:
My ex and I lived in a van for a season. Read into that what you will Very Happy


Any info on how you did that. What resort, where you parked exactly and experience of how you found it.

How did you get to and from the piste. As much info as you can give would be really helpful.


Thanks for the other replies. €1000 for a season is quite expensive but didn't expect much else. Can anyone shed some light on jobs they may have had + what hours and how much they earned. Jist trying to get an idea of where we would be money wise and what sort of hours we need to be looking at working.

Thanks peeps


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Mon 7-01-19 7:44; edited 1 time in total
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admin wrote:

Insulation is key!
An extra inch or two all round could save you hundreds of £ through the Winter. It will also keep you cooler living in a tin box in Summer.
I don't know how ostentatious your van will be. I tend to go for the stealth thing myself but I'm not looking to live in it long term - just overnighting really.
Anyway, from a stealth perspective, better insulation also means not having to run the heater so much, which in itself can attract attention.


We are open to all resorts like we said but have a few wedding in France beleive it or not while we are over there so would save us travelling a day or so and also crossing borders.

The insulation will be ample check out our Instagram @no.strife_vanlife you can see how the build is going and maybe give some insight that would be helpful.

As far as a stealth camper goes that was my initial intention but the more stuff I put on ie solar panels and rooflights, roof extractors the more it looks like a camper. The van will have a propane boiler with blown air heating so this wont bring much attention.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
There is a camping site just on the edge of Bourg, as you head on the road up to Séez. It's on the right.

People do use it in the winter and there are campers parked there.

It's a long walk to the Funicular in boots and carrying skis! If I was living in a camper in winter, it would be in Feurteventura.
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bar shaker wrote:
There is a camping site just on the edge of Bourg, as you head on the road up to Séez. It's on the right.

People do use it in the winter and there are campers parked there.

It's a long walk to the Funicular in boots and carrying skis! If I was living in a camper in winter, it would be in Feurteventura.


Hi

Do you know whether there is a charge on the site? Like I said we are not stuck on BSM. Just would like some good skiing and basically what is going to be best financially.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
no.strife_vanlife wrote:
bar shaker wrote:
There is a camping site just on the edge of Bourg, as you head on the road up to Séez. It's on the right.

People do use it in the winter and there are campers parked there.

It's a long walk to the Funicular in boots and carrying skis! If I was living in a camper in winter, it would be in Feurteventura.


Hi

Do you know whether there is a charge on the site? Like I said we are not stuck on BSM. Just would like some good skiing and basically what is going to be best financially.


Looks to be £100 week in the ski season. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g635844-d2073028-Reviews-Camping_le_Reclus-Seez_Savoie_Auvergne_Rhone_Alpes.html

Be very careful where you park if not on an official site. The car park near our apartment looks free and is for short periods but anything resembling a camper will be closely watched and get towed away.
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Hey, this thread seems a bit negative so far. Certainly around Grand Bornand there are plenty of places to park a self sufficient camper van, including right next to the pistes in a dedicated camper van area five minutes walk from the lifts or down in the valley in a corner of the railway station car park at St Pierre en Faucigny - the later even has electrical hook up available. Plus in LGB and La Clusaz there are camp sites that are open through the winter. Suggest you download a couple of the apps that show such places as the details do change. Good luck!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@gvj, seems that you have a similar set-up to what we have in Les Carroz. There is a permanent - winter - camp set up near the Spar. As far as I am aware they are all working the season. There is a bus stop for getting up the village/gondola. They also allow camper vans in the car park opposite our place and the ski bus stops if requested. But as @bar shaker, says, I think if you tried to camp there long-term you would get moved on.
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We bought a van when our kids were small and we lived in Northern Italy. One of the best resources was this website and having just checked, some of my reviews are still on there. It lists the BSM Site but I would recommend Italy and Austria as having the best options. http://www.motorhomeski.com/

Our absolute top favourite is the one in St Anton and you may have more opportunities for employment there too. http://www.motorhomeski.com/places-to-stay/austria/st-anton The great thing here is that the full season price is good value and you get a Wooden cabin with your pitch that has shower, washing facilities and drying room.

This site is a little less personal but has good lists. https://alanrogers.com/camping/skiing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@no.strife_vanlife,

Just so you know, most season jobs tend to be in the actual ski resorts themselves, rather than 'down the mountain'' That said, plenty of locals live low & commute to work. Places like BSM do have season jobs, but nowhere near the numbers of La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val D'Isere, Tignes, St. Foy & La Rosiere - all of which will have (mainly local) workers who commute from BSM.
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gvj wrote:
Hey, this thread seems a bit negative so far. Certainly around Grand Bornand there are plenty of places to park a self sufficient camper van, including right next to the pistes in a dedicated camper van area five minutes walk from the lifts or down in the valley in a corner of the railway station car park at St Pierre en Faucigny - the later even has electrical hook up available. Plus in LGB and La Clusaz there are camp sites that are open through the winter. Suggest you download a couple of the apps that show such places as the details do change. Good luck!


Hi thank you for the reply it's nice to hear that someone knows of ways this can be done. So when you say plenty of spaces are those free spots where you wouldnt get moved on or towed and also free to park there.

Which skii resorts would be next to LGB and st Pierre.

If we have to compromise on which resort we skii in then it will have to be done.

Do you have the names of the apps you mentioned. Thanks for your help
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panaga52 wrote:
We bought a van when our kids were small and we lived in Northern Italy. One of the best resources was this website and having just checked, some of my reviews are still on there. It lists the BSM Site but I would recommend Italy and Austria as having the best options. http://www.motorhomeski.com/

Our absolute top favourite is the one in St Anton and you may have more opportunities for employment there too. http://www.motorhomeski.com/places-to-stay/austria/st-anton The great thing here is that the full season price is good value and you get a Wooden cabin with your pitch that has shower, washing facilities and drying room.

This site is a little less personal but has good lists. https://alanrogers.com/camping/skiing


Thanks for the links I will be sure to check those after work. I am not ruling out Austria or Italy but does anyone have any info on how easy it is crossing borders as we need to be in France for weddings on certain dates as I mentioned. (Also brexit might affect this I know but hopefully not)

Could you give me a rough idea of season prices please if possible and also prices for the ski resort near to there


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 7-01-19 14:20; edited 1 time in total
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Kenzie wrote:
@no.strife_vanlife,

Just so you know, most season jobs tend to be in the actual ski resorts themselves, rather than 'down the mountain'' That said, plenty of locals live low & commute to work. Places like BSM do have season jobs, but nowhere near the numbers of La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val D'Isere, Tignes, St. Foy & La Rosiere - all of which will have (mainly local) workers who commute from BSM.


We don't mind a commute but I think we need to find somewhere where the van is viable and its actually going to save us money. I don't really want to be getting settled with a job via online and then getting somewhere, trying to park for free and getting moved on/towed and having to then pay €100 per week for parking/campsite
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@no.strife_vanlife, If you want access to power (unless you have a Genny) and washing facilities you'll have to pay a bit unless some friendly local allows you to hook up. But I'd work that out after you've secured some employment if I were you. You might want to consider the French Pyrenees as an option. The locals down there tend to be a bit less anal than the Haute Savoyard and more welcoming of the less conventional.

There are no issues crossing borders in 2019/20. If there is a deal, then no change during "Transition"; If no deal then you will enter the EU/Schengen zone when you leave UK and be free to travel/stay within it. The only issue might be length of stay 90 Days/ 180 days etc. But we'll not know until we know.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
panaga52 wrote:
@no.strife_vanlife, If you want access to power (unless you have a Genny) and washing facilities you'll have to pay a bit unless some friendly local allows you to hook up. But I'd work that out after you've secured some employment if I were you. You might want to consider the French Pyrenees as an option. The locals down there tend to be a bit less anal than the Haute Savoyard and more welcoming of the less conventional.

There are no issues crossing borders in 2019/20. If there is a deal, then no change during "Transition"; If no deal then you will enter the EU/Schengen zone when you leave UK and be free to travel/stay within it. The only issue might be length of stay 90 Days/ 180 days etc. But we'll not know until we know.


I'm putting a shower in the van so washing facilities are not essential. Will need access to water to refill tank and would need somewhere to empty grey water. The toilet is chemical toilet but will try and use this for emergencies only if we can help it. If not it should only need emptying once or twice over a 5 month period.

That's good to hear about brexit.

Can anyone shed any light on what wages you can look to expect over in France, Italy, Austria?

I am a joiner by trade and also a commercial diver (not that that will help in the mountains but you'll be surprised some of the jobs I've been on).

This forum is very prompt for replies. Thanks to everyone for the advice so far.
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no.strife_vanlife wrote:
Kenzie wrote:
@no.strife_vanlife,

Just so you know, most season jobs tend to be in the actual ski resorts themselves, rather than 'down the mountain'' That said, plenty of locals live low & commute to work. Places like BSM do have season jobs, but nowhere near the numbers of La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val D'Isere, Tignes, St. Foy & La Rosiere - all of which will have (mainly local) workers who commute from BSM.


We don't mind a commute but I think we need to find somewhere where the van is viable and its actually going to save us money. I don't really want to be getting settled with a job via online and then getting somewhere, trying to park for free and getting moved on/towed and having to then pay €100 per week for parking/campsite


€100 per week sounds like a good price. If it was me then I'd be saving throughout the summer to afford the camp site fee. The resorts [justifiably] aren't keen on wild camping in their car parks, especially when these travellers aren't bringing revenue towards the upkeep of their resort.

Some of the proper sites offer competitive rates for seasonairres and having your van parked in a secure location with onsite amenities such as toilets and showers offers obvious advantages to wild camping. One of the biggest problems with wild camping is trying to dry wet ski gear.

The small site at Saint Jean d'Aulps offers cheap season rates with good access to the Portes du Soleil. Most of the other sites, listed on MotorHomeSki, will cost more than €100 per week. There are resorts which have dedicated car parks for Motorhomes but they're not intended for long-term stay.
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I've seen campers parked on the coach park behind the cinema at Bourg. Certainly a few years ago one was parked for over a week.
There is a height barrier but I've never seen it shut although I've only ever visited in the winter.

I know lots of people who wildcamp in France - a good site to join might be Wildcamping.co.uk , as a member (small charge) you'll get access to their database of spots Inc France

I think the main problem will be the length of time you will want to stay in one place.
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This forum is very prompt for replies. Thanks to everyone for the advice so far.
Just remember snowHeads when you get out there and keep us informed on how it's going snowHead
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La Plagne has a modern camper van facility literally right beside the piste up at Plagne Villages.
https://www.la-plagne.com/hotellerie-de-plein-air/1/751396-caravaneige-de-plagne-villages.html
slight drawback its €22 a day... and a maximum of 30 days

It also has a new facility for seasonaires to park their vans just below Plagne 1800, but I can't find any details anywhere.
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panaga52 wrote:


Our absolute top favourite is the one in St Anton and you may have more opportunities for employment there too. http://www.motorhomeski.com/places-to-stay/austria/st-anton The great thing here is that the full season price is good value and you get a Wooden cabin with your pitch that has shower, washing facilities and drying room. .


We've stayed here - it's very expensive. Bear in mind if you stay on sites most charge per kw for leccy.
The site mentioned above charges the elec to heat the private bathroom to the pitch so it's a cost you can't avoid.
Also, the site is in a very steep valley, overshadowed for most of the day (in Jan only 45 mins of sun). There is a site on the other side of the river that is, imo, a better option.


Edit - the full season price may be better value for money, apologies to Panaga I didn't read the post properly.
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€100 per week doesn't sound very reasonable to me. Fair enough if you are going for a week or two but spanned over 5 month it's alot. Of money

Drying skii gear won't be a problem. I am running a heating duct into the bottom of the shower and and extractor in the ceiling will act as a drying room.

I will have a look into wildcaping.com and maybe look for somewhere where has 2 or 3 locations not far from a resort/ our work and move between them and pay for the odd week here and there on a real site.

Can anyone give and approx weekly wage or hourly for different common jobs?
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@no.strife_vanlife, French National Minimum wage is 1,498.47 EUR per month.
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no.strife_vanlife wrote:

Can anyone give and approx weekly wage or hourly for different common jobs?


Work on the basis of minimum wage and you will be about right. It's unlikely to be any more, unless you are bringing very good skills (experienced chef, maintenance skills, PSV licence etc).

The Alps are a much more expensive place to live than the UK and unless you are taking several grand with you as a financial buffer, I would question your ability to do this. Also factor in that unless you are based in one place and buying season passes, your lift passes will be approx €50 a day each.
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@no.strife_vanlife, €100 per week for 5 months =€2000. Agreed that this is a wedge of cash. But it's all relative. Studio apartments of around 25 sq. mtrs were going for up to €10,000 as the season got underway and demand outstripped supply.

Admittedly this is in one of the more expensive high altitude resorts but I just want to put you in the picture. I have a converted van in the UK and I can overnight in places for a tenner without hook up but this is a different world.

Also consider things like seasonal travel insurance for yourselves. Vehicle insurance and possibly breakdown or accident recovery for an extended (90+ days ) trip.
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I would recommend staying at Tignes Les Brevieres, we been out and stayed a couple of weeks there and a good friend has done 7 + weeks there. Lots of vans (some as big as coaches) pull up for the season.

It completely free and at the foot of the slopes. There is a water fountain in the centre of village for fresh water (fill up on way in and top when passing), there is a drain for toilet waste disposal but there is no electricity supply. Get good batteries, cheap led battery lights to hang up on night - we could easily go 4 nights. Then when you need a recharge head dow to BSM to the supermarket (also renew supplies) or go and park up at centre for the day (can't stay overnight) batteries then charged again.

There are a few bars, restaurants and shops in TLB so chance of a job too.
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Good campsite at the ski resort of La Clusaz. This is a "proper" French campsite so you can stay in a cabin but there were also Campervans and caravans there. There's also a decent swimming pool own all year round. We went last year and going again this year but we only use our T5 for traveling down in and staying overnight during that journey....we couldn't do a week with 2 kids and boards etc. I've no idea of the cost of the pitches but out of high season the lodges were very cheap compared to anything I've used before. The site is possibly ski in but certainly not ski out unless you're a cross country skier
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Thanks for the replies peeps. I will sure be looking into insurance etc closer to the time. We do have a fair bit saved and I understand €100 a week is not that much. We wouldn't mind paying it if we both landed a decent job but the idea is not to spend any of our savings so we have them to travel Europe the following summer

Bianchigray wrote:
I would recommend staying at Tignes Les Brevieres, we been out and stayed a couple of weeks there and a good friend has done 7 + weeks there. Lots of vans (some as big as coaches) pull up for the season.

It completely free and at the foot of the slopes. There is a water fountain in the centre of village for fresh water (fill up on way in and top when passing), there is a drain for toilet waste disposal but there is no electricity supply. Get good batteries, cheap led battery lights to hang up on night - we could easily go 4 nights. Then when you need a recharge head dow to BSM to the supermarket (also renew supplies) or go and park up at centre for the day (can't stay overnight) batteries then charged again.

Hi Bianchigray. Yes I saw this site on the motorhomeski website someone posted earlier and was going to do a seperate post about this. I see it also says it has a free bus route to the piste. This would be handy if it was early enough to make a commute to work. I'm thinking it would be best for us to try and find employment where you get the skii passes included. Otherwise it probly wouldn't be worth it for my Gf as she is not as keen a skier than me. Any ideas on getting such a job whilst staying in TLB?
Also as far as batteries we will have 2x220 ah deep cycle AGM batteries. I will be testing how long we have offgrid with this before we go although I know the temps will affect this it will give us a rough idea. We will also have 450w of solar but not sure how affective these will be through the French winter?

Thanks again
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Our experience was in the Tarentaise. Fully winterised can with 150ltr fresh and grey. Diesel heating and cooking etc. We dirtbagged it for 4 weeks then got an apartment. Showering impossible without mains water, cold -it’s a can remember and it was -20 some nights. Cramped and generally unpleasant. We parked the van, tarped it and worked all season and saved about equiv of 2 grand. Yes you can do it but for a whole season I would recommend you enjoy yourself and focus on the experience as well as saving what you can. Perfectly reasonable not to spend all you earn.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We met a number of season motorhomers whilst using our caravan in the Alps. Most did few days at a time somewhere near the pistes, then stayed a couple of days on a dedicated 'Caravaneige' where we met them, to fill water, empty waste, shower etc.

In the case of BSM there are a number of resorts easily accessed from the town (big campsite in the town, across the road from Supermarkets and walk or free navette to funicular up to Les Arcs), by road or funicular, which certainly used to have places a MH could park up for a few days at a time.

You might consider getting an evening job in BSM, and staying on the site there the days you work, skiing from there during those days, then taking off to resorts and being 'off grid' for the days off? I would think there is a fair amount of jobs available in BSM but others may know that better than me.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

I see it also says it has a free bus route to the piste.

Re this - you park literally at the bottom of the piste with a gondola and chair lift. The chair lift also takes pedestrians (free) up to Tignes Les Boisses (5 mins), from there, there is the ski bus which runs round the 'resorts' including Tignes centre. The buses run before and after the lifts.
Quote:

Any ideas on getting such a job whilst staying in TLB?

Not sure what type of job you're thinking of but there are loads of shops, bars, restaurants and accommodation around.
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no.strife_vanlife wrote:
I see it also says it has a free bus route to the piste. This would be handy if it was early enough to make a commute to work. I'm thinking it would be best for us to try and find employment where you get the skii passes included. Otherwise it probly wouldn't be worth it for my Gf as she is not as keen a skier than me. Any ideas on getting such a job whilst staying in TLB?


Tignes les Brevieres is not on the free bus route. Jobs which include a 'free' ski pass are generally either a) with a British tour operator or b) working for the lift company.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Bianchigray wrote:
Quote:

I see it also says it has a free bus route to the piste.

Re this - you park literally at the bottom of the piste with a gondola and chair lift. The chair lift also takes pedestrians (free) up to Tignes Les Boisses (5 mins), from there, there is the ski bus which runs round the 'resorts' including Tignes centre. The buses run before and after the lifts.


The chair is now gone. There is a bubble there now but it doesn't go up as high. Not sure what time it runs until.

The whole employment thing could change dramatically after March 29th. If companies must pay French minimum wage next season (likely regardless of Brexit deal) they will almost certainly not be giving out lift passes too. You may also need a work visa, to work in France.
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