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Ski season advice needed!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi Folks - apologies if this isn't the right place in the forum, please let me know if not!

Thanks for taking the time to read, I really appreciate any input you may have!

I'm planning to ski a season next winter (2020-2021) after graduating and was hoping to get some advice.

Ideally I'd like to prioritise ski time as much as possible and it appears the typical chalet and company rep jobs involve lots of work during prime skiing hours.

I appreciate that I will need to do my share of work, much of which will be in ski hours, but I've been told when out in resort it becomes apparent very quickly which lucky skiers have struck the best deal, ideally I don't want to come out of my season regretting the choices I made if possible.

My questions are as follows:
- Does anyone have any advice/suggestions on job roles or other tips on how to make the most out of a season?
- My degree is in Computer Science and I have 1 years' experience working in a few areas across IT, are there IT roles to be found on a mountain, which allow for plenty of ski time?

From my research, it seems work in a rental shop as a ski technician would be ideal:
- Does anyone you have any advice/contacts on how best to train as a technician - I can't seem to find any official qualification online, but I've seen Anything Technical and The Piste Office recommended frequently
- Or any advice/contacts with regard to landing a job in resort before heading out?

I'm not particularly picky about resort or country, I'd just like to be skiing as much as I can!

Any advice or guidance (related to the above, or otherwise) you may have would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!

-Edd


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 10-09-19 19:59; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
so not 2019/2020 then, this is your final year then you graduate in the summer of 2020?

Most people in resort work pretty hard it seems. Did you consider IT work in a town near the mountains and skiing weekends / days off ? Obviously some language skills would be an advantage and of course, it somewhat depends on Brexit what will be possible next season.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Welcome to Snowheads Edd.

Basic rule for working a season: you can party a lot, or ski a lot, but not both.

If you're more interested in skiing than partying, then get an evening job such as bar work or kitchen porter in a restaurant or hotel. You are unlikely to find an IT role. Ski tech might be a possibility but it’s unlikely a hire shop would be willing to train you on the Wintersteiger (or whatever) machine. It’s a pretty awful job anyway - ski wax is disgusting stuff.

Do you speak a foreign language?
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Quote:

so not 2019/2020 then, this is your final year then you graduate in the summer of 2020?


Yep - Beginning my final year of Uni now and will be graduating Summer 2020!

Quote:

Most people in resort work pretty hard it seems.


I'm more than happy to work hard, I've just been told that some jobs allow for far more ski time than others

I think IT work in a nearby town could be a good option, but I think it could also take away from the seasonaire experience

Unfortunately I am a bit lacking in language skills - I know a little bit of French. But that's definitely something I can work on once it's a bit clearer where I might be able to spend my season.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks Mike Smile

I'm definitely more interested in skiing than partying!

I speak a little French but as above it's definitely something I can work on in advance of a season

Quote:

If you're more interested in skiing than partying, then get an evening job such as bar work or kitchen porter in a restaurant or hotel. You are unlikely to find an IT role. Ski tech might be a possibility but it’s unlikely a hire shop would be willing to train you on the Wintersteiger (or whatever) machine. It’s a pretty awful job anyway - ski wax is disgusting stuff.


Thanks for the advice, I didn't expect there to be much by way of IT work in a resort really but thought it was worth asking the question. An evening job seems like the best bet, perhaps bar work is the way to go as it's likely a bit more social Smile
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Edd wrote:
Thanks Mike Smile

I'm definitely more interested in skiing than partying!

I speak a little French but as above it's definitely something I can work on in advance of a season

Quote:

If you're more interested in skiing than partying, then get an evening job such as bar work or kitchen porter in a restaurant or hotel. You are unlikely to find an IT role. Ski tech might be a possibility but it’s unlikely a hire shop would be willing to train you on the Wintersteiger (or whatever) machine. It’s a pretty awful job anyway - ski wax is disgusting stuff.


Thanks for the advice, I didn't expect there to be much by way of IT work in a resort really but thought it was worth asking the question. An evening job seems like the best bet, perhaps bar work is the way to go as it's likely a bit more social Smile


Have you considered remote IT support? might be very connection/work space dependent, however could be something to do in the evenings to earn money.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
graduate in time for the southern season?

presumably the only job that gives lots of ski/board time is a instructor and even then your limited to your classes ability
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ummm. Well, let me make another suggestion. How about you get a job and save some money. You'll be looking to move jobs within a couple of years, probably. So you then try and leave the old job in, say November, and take up a new job in late April/May the following year. You should be able to rent a studio for, say £8K for the season, then add skipass and subsistence. Let's say you'd need £12K. If you could save a bit more, you might also consider qualifying as an instructor all in the one season, which would be a nice thing to have under your belt, and demonstrate to a prospective employer you have a sense of direction that's not just qualifying as (another) Azure implementation specialist. A lot of employers won't be worried about a break like that - their main concern is if you hide it or appear to have done absolutely nothing with the time. Of course, the challenge will probably be that if you can end 2 years of working with £12K in a savings account, then you might well by eyeing a car or a 1st flat etc. rather than a winter season. But at least you'd have the choice.

If you have a Bank of Mum & Dad you could alternatively ask to borrow the £12K for a season qualifying as an instructor, then pay it back. With interest rates so low, offering to repay it +10% is actually a good deal for them. This satisfies the desire to do this before you get started on a career, but without having to write off most days to a job in the resort. If you get a good job in IT then paying off £12K over, say 3-4 years, shouldn't be too onerous (but it may mean deferring buying that car or moving to your own place until it's paid off).

If you can fund a 'full-time' holiday/instructor season, then there is also possibly some sort of 'hybrid' approach: you might spend your spare time doing some IT training (Azure, AWS, any of a load of app platforms, sys admin, cybersecurity etc. etc.) that would give you an edge over other jobseekers in the market. So that you emerged form your 5-month or so break with some extra skills that you might not bother to develop if you are already working all day, full-time. This would mean that the break is not so much of a halt to your career, and gives you some extras for your CV. The question would be, of course, whether you would be able to apply yourself to it, or would prefer to be out partying and socialising in the resort.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 10-09-19 17:02; edited 1 time in total
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there are plenty of remote worker positions esp in it or design if you do a google search, that and one off jobs on the many work boards where a company just needs some assistance
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While studying at university, get a job servicing skis at your local Decathalon or the like. That way, you have experience when looking for jobs in resort.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Edd, For maximum ski time the best job is kitchen porter / night porter. Have a look at the job description on Skiworld website.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
keep an eye on this site for jobs

http://jobs.natives.co.uk/
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
No one has mentioned the obvious yet, so I will.

If Brexit goes ahead and assuming you are a British citizen, you will need a work permit to work in the EU. Alternatively as a tourist you can stay for up to 90 days within a rolling 180-day period.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@cad99uk - thanks, I'll take a look Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@SBP

Quote:

Have you considered remote IT support?


I think this could be pretty ideal, do you have any experience in the area or any idea how one would go about landing a remote working position?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Here is another solution - Mrs SL is an IT engineer. 25 years or so ago she told her boss she was quitting to go skiing for the season or perhaps forever! Some shock and negotiation followed, which resulted in a permanent 9mth contract that allowed her to ski for 3 months a year - she is still employed by the same organisation and still works a part-year. Does not have to worry about work when skiing. Good IT skills are still in short supply; employers are becoming more flexible; a good balanced contract results in loyalty. Why not test the water with potential employers?
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Judging from replies, think @LaForet is your better SME
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@LaForet

Thanks for the reply. I have set money aside from work in the past (last year I worked an Industry Placement Year between my second and third years of uni)

This is an interesting approach, I have thought about this quite a bit and you're right, having saved money for what could one day be a deposit on a flat, it's hard justify parting with it purely for a holiday.

I've been considering looking for IT contracting work through the summer, with the goal of using that money to fund a season in the winter with minimal working. I'm not entirely sure how feasible it is to expect to be able to land contracting work fresh out of university, even with some 2nd and 3rd line support experience. The only real advantage I have is that I'm not tied down geographically.

I may well be mistaken, but from my research it looked as if becoming an instructor didn't seem worthwhile. I think it would be enjoyable but it seems the difference in pay between instructors and other basic resort roles is minimal and the costs involved make it unlikely to pay for itself in better earnings in resort.

As @bowsaw said, when skiing as an instructor you're limited to your classes' ability so for me personally, I'm not sure how much more enjoyable it would be than working in a kitchen, bar or IT role.

I hadn't thought of trying to further my career through independent learning while on a season and that's definitely an approach that could work.
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@Ski lots

That sounds ideal, do you have any advice on how best to approach employers to negotiate something like this?

I expect your wife has a great deal more IT experience than me and so has far more chips to bargain with than your dime-a-dozen graduate Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

do you have any advice on how best to approach employers to negotiate something like this?

provide them with such exemplary service for a few years that you make yourself indispensable??
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Different value of desperate clearly.

Get a short term contracting role Summer to December. Prove your value and when you quit you might get offered say 20 hours per week remote working but that's dream time. Plus once skiing is your job, you'll resent the commitment of a couple of days per week working plus a couple of late nighters.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

Different value of desperate clearly.


Yeah I could've worded this better - changed now, thanks for the advice regarding remote working, I guess I just need to work hard at a job and hope the opportunity presents itself Smile
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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!
@Edd, Pam W is of course right, but is less true then it once was - see today’s UK employment figures. It will depend on how skilful you are not just at IT, but at selling yourself as a package. It would mean being paid less and not just pro rata, but you will also pay less tax. You are also having to take a risk in asking up front for what you want. There is more and more flexibility in the employment market.
Ironically I would not look at getting any instructor qualification in these circumstances - employers are unlikely to know most folk with qualifications do not work in the industry it would therefore suggest you are not committed to the IT world.
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@Edd, Pam W is of course right, but is less true then it once was - see today’s UK employment figures. It will depend on how skilful you are not just at IT, but at selling yourself as a package. It would mean being paid less and not just pro rata, but you will also pay less tax. You are also having to take a risk in asking up front for what you want. There is more and more flexibility in the employment market.
Ironically I would not look at getting any instructor qualification in these circumstances - employers are unlikely to know most folk with qualifications do not work in the industry it would therefore suggest you are not committed to the IT world.
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I think realistically, not that you shouldn't consider some of the advice already given, it's easiest and most practical to look at the natives website and apply for an advertised seasonal job. An alternative would be to join a ski seasonaires Facebook group and pout yourself out there.

I did 2 seasons in a bar and worked a 6 day Rota which meant I was working days shifts some days and night shifts on others, split roughly 50/50. I would really recommend that as it gives you great exposure to everyone in the resort so you'll find ski buddies as well as other 'benefits shall we say. It's just a lot if fun and you get to ski a lot.

Chalet host is similar but more hard work and probably less fun in some aspects. Saying that, it will give you great skills and possibly set you up for an entirely different career. You can probably ski 6 days a week as a chalet host and once you master your routine, you can be out on the slopes by about 10/ half 10 most days. Changeover day is a no go.

In terms of eligibility, to work in a bar you'll need experience and ideally some basic language skills e.g. A level or a good GCSE grade. Chalet hosting is probably easier to get into but it would be advisable to take a summer cookery course which may even land you a job.

Hope it works for you. It was the best two winters of my life and hasn't held me back career wise.
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Look online for full time remote working positions.

If you really want to maximize skiing, you probably want a night hour support position.

Also look into if you can get a 10x4 setup so you can ski 3 days full day.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
HP in Meyrin (Geneva) does graduate programs.
If you just skied weekends and holidays somewhere nearby (St Cergue, Leysin, PdS, Verbier, Grand Massif, Cham Valley etc..) you could clock up around 50 days.
You would also have the benefit of a reasonably well paid job (around 5000 CHF per month), and a step on the career ladder.
There are lots of other graduate openings around here so just check out Graduate Jobs in Geneva.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Edd, For maximum ski time you'd be best off concentrating on the large, high resorts that have a long season (end of November to start of May).
This may not be possible if you are hired by a UK tour operator as first time staff rarely have any choice in where they are sent. One way around this would be to target tour operators who only go to a specific or limited range of ski areas. Another would be to choose a resort & get work with a local employer, or save money and 'bum' the season (ie don't work).
Jobs that maximise time skiing:-
Ski bum (naturally - your time is your own).
Weekend transfer rep - though do take into consideration that the weekends are the quietest days on the slopes.
Weekend apartment cleaner.
Ski host - though you will only be able to ski where & when guests can/want to.
Ski instructor - though they spend a lot of time stood still, and again only ski to the ability & requirements of their pupils.
Night work - but check the hours - you need to sleep sometime!

After that the list becomes a bit less definite as the hours you have available to ski largely depend on how the role is organised and/or how efficiently you can complete the required tasks.
Examples:-
Bar/restaurant/shop work - often allowing three or four days on the mountain depending on the split of day and night shifts.
Chalet/chalet-hotel work/resort rep etc with a tour operator. Early season people new to roles like these don't get much mountaintime, but as they become more experienced/efficient it rises.

Things to bear in mind if employed by a tour operator re ski time:-
How long is their season? Even in resorts with a long season many don't book guests in at the start and end. In fact many only do from Christmas week to Easter week (and Easter is early in 2021 - 4th April!).
If the tour operator is supplying your lift pass, when do the staff get them? It is not unknown for TOs to require proof their staff can 'hack' the job before going to this expense.
What days can you NOT ski during an average week (such as changeover day, shopping day).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There was a post to one of the BASI Facebook groups a few weeks ago advertising for people with decent computing skills to do part time work, and they were pitching it as a role that was suitable to do remotely from a ski resort without adversely affecting ski time. Pay was £15 per hour. Hours would likely be variable though, and probably no guarantee of income, which may mean it isn't sufficient for your needs, but there are definitely alternative ways to earn money while still being in resort.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
're being a ski guide. I know that's been banned in France and people have been arrested for it (long story for a different thread but basically it's not an option).

Honestly, the bulk of the jobs and the easiest eay in will be in the chalet business or bar work.
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Edd, remote IT stuff is definitely possible, my son has just funded a Winter season skiing in Japan followed by 3 months travelling, by doing remote contract coding work, having graduated last July with a computer science degree. He billed 2-3 days work per week.
However, the intro to the coding was via a friend of ours, and he did start doing some work for them the previous summer, and then properly as soon as he finished finals (actually, there was a bit of an overlap...), so by the time he went off in November he had proved he could do the work, and then provided he joined the Skype conferences and submitted the code on time, it didn't matter where in the world he was.
I guess it depends how good your coding skills are! But you'd need to start looking now.
On the other hand, both he and his sister both did conventional chalet host seasons and managed to ski every day that they wanted to (which was most), for at least a couple of hours, except changeover days. And then my son did another season where he found a room in a seasonnaire chalet, borrowed the money from the Bank of M and D to pay for it up front, and found jobs in resort basically cleaning and doing changeover day airport runs.
So lots of ways of doing it.
One thing to bear in mind is which resort,as it takes longer to get onto the slopes in some resorts than others - Belle Plagne was the best, our daughter could be on the slopes 15 minutes after finishing shift!
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
This just popped up in my news feed. Forget working! Squirrel your nuts!!

https://www.newschoolers.com/news/read/How-Ski-Bum-Guide
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Edd, FWIW my son had the same idea as you. He travelled to an Austrian ski resort (no prizes for guessing which one) in late November and just went round a few hotels and restaurants, asking if they had any work for him. He didn’t speak any German (or any language, other than English).
A big hotel offered him a job as a waiter and started training him up - told him he had a promising future snowHead He stuck it for two or three weeks, but the job involved early starts and long hours. He had another offer of kitchen assistant work in one of the village restaurants, so he moved on to that - lots of washing-up, etc.
His shift was from 14.00-22.00, so that left every morning for skiing (or, as the season progressed and his social life took off, recovering from the night before). The 22.00 finish enabled him to participate fully in the late night apres-apres, of which he discovered there was plenty! He got a day off per week, which enabled him to ski all day.
He was the envy of the other seasonal workers, not only because of his shift pattern, but because he was paid a living wage in addition to being provided with accommodation (in a Mitarbeiterhaus - apartments designated for seasonal workers) and also his meals. His wages (about EUR 1,200 per month 7-9 years ago) were essentially beer money, and, though he normally seems incapable of saving, he actually managed (more by accident than design) to save a couple of thousand euros by the end of the season.
He told me that it felt like “living the dream”, and he returned to the same job for two more ski seasons after that first one. He picked up a smattering of German and, after his first season, was given a warm welcome by his employers the following year. After the third season it all went a bit sour, for reasons I won’t go into (but may have involved highly contentious allegations of too much late night partying).
However, while it lasted, he was having a great time and earning considerably more than other seasonal worker friends - especially those employed by British chalet and tour operators - and also, from what I could gather, more than the ski instructors.
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@WindOfChange,

Thanks for your reply!

This could be an ideal compromise and allow for both progressing my career and getting lots of ski time, definitely worth considering Smile


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 13-09-19 11:29; edited 1 time in total
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@Ryunis,

I really appreciate your input - You're 100% right, I think a role from a site like natives would be the most simple/practical option.

I've sort of assumed (possibly wrongly) that the more straightforward ways of landing a seasonaire job (e.g natives roles or crystal/inghams ski rep) are likely to be the worst in terms of ski time/pay/accommodation quality balance. Do you think this is the case or not?
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@kieranm,

Something like this could definitely work if it came around at the right time with enough hours, thanks for the tip Smile
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Kenzie,

This is really helpful, thank you!
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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!
@karin,

Thanks for the reply!

It seems the consensus here is that to successfully land a remote working position, I'll definitely need to have proven myself to an employer beforehand.

Perhaps the best approach then, is to apply for graduate roles in the UK, with the plan to work from June 2020 to November, then attempt to engineer myself a remote role?
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@tatmanstours,

Sounds like he nailed it Smile

Leaving it until you're in-resort to look for work sounds rather risky though!
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@Edd, I suppose the points to take away are that, if you choose the right resort, there are jobs to be found, that they don’t necessarily expect you to speak the local (or any other) language, and that it can be worthwhile to explore other options in the resort in case the first option doesn’t suit you.
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