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Chalet Host Vs Hotel Assistant

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So I'm planning to do my first season this winter. I would preferably like to go to Mayrhofen and be a chalet host buttt... with some research I understand that there aren't many catered chalets there thus if I go to Mayrhofen I will be working as a hotel assistant.
I have applied to SkiWorld as a chalet host - rejected their offer to go to La Rosiere.

I have applied to Crystal as a chalet host - I've been invited to an assessment day BUT I'm not sure if I want to carry on with the application because I don't fancy paying for the cookery course (I have no cooking experience even though I do know my way around the kitchen as I have lived at university for the past 3 years). I'm also thinking what's the point because it won't get me to Mayrhofen.

I have applied to Workaseason (Inghams) as a hotel assistant - I have an interview coming up and think this is my best bet of going to Mayrhofen with a company which pays for flights, accom, ski hire/pass etc etc etc.

My main question is, do you get enough time on the slopes working as a hotel assistant? I believe that chalet hosts do, but I was wondering if some days of the week you would be required to work throughout the day as a hotel assistant?

Thanks in advance!
(P.S. I'm new here)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome to snowHeads @YesStuart snowHead

Why are you so set on Mayrhofen? Just out of interest, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it Smile

And what is more important - more ski time, or being in Mayrhofen?

I've not personally worked as a hotel assistant, but yes, from what I've seen, there is more work throughout the day, and therefore less ski time.
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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?
@YesStuart,

Based on my experience back in the day, (1988)...

1. Rejecting any offered job is nuts. When I did my seasons there was so much competition I was on the cusp of taking myself off somewhere self funded and waiting for people to break their legs. YMMV.

2. Why so stuck on Mayrhofen?

Typically the question is not skiing, but doing your own skiing. I was a host and so I got 1 day a week skiing for myself ...- but 5 days a week skiing with guests. I rather liked that so I had a great time. Many of my mates didn't and would have preferred to be doing the washing up and having 6-7 days to do their own things.
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fixx: 1) I'd like to go somewhere I haven't been before - I've been on annual ski holidays since I was 4 (I'm 21 now) and thus have been to many of the big resorts in France such as Tignes, Les Arcs, Val Thorens etc... but never Mayrhofen.
2) I like a beer or two and I know Mayrhofen has a reputation for that including snowbombing.
3) I've been learning german for the past month or so and I'm really getting into it.
4) I decided on Mayrhofen back in June (I know that I'm very late in applying for the upcoming winter) so it's always been in my head... if that makes sense?

Now that I know I'll have less time on the slopes as a hotel assistant (thank you for this info).. that is making me think, should I go to another big resort in Austria and chalet host e.g. Saalbach? I've been to St Anton in 2013 but would rather go there than France.


under a new name: 1) SkiWorld had no positions available in Austria
2) see above

I assumed with chalet hosting, you could pick and choose whether you wanted to ski with your guests for the day? I've stayed in a chalet before where the host only skied with us on one occasion. I like both skiing by myself and skiing in a group, by myself I would really go for it with earphones in, in a group you have the social aspect which can be incredible at times.

Thank you both for your replies!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@YesStuart, what on earth did you assume a chalet host did for a living? Take the punters drinking and shag the least unattractive?
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under a new name wrote:
@YesStuart, what on earth did you assume a chalet host did for a living? Take the punters drinking and shag the least unattractive?

I've stayed in several chalets and the chalet hosts never skied with the guests. A couple of the companies had separate ski hosts who did that.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@sugarmoma666, what, then, did they do?
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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!
Frankly it's your first season- take whatever job you're offered. Very few catered chalets in Austria therefore not many chalet host jobs in Austria - you might get lucky if you hold out but you could end up with nothing🙁 Get a season under your belt and you'll have more choice next season if that's what you want to do.
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Hope your prospective employers aren't reading this thread because you're coming across as pretty entitled. You'd settle for St Anton? Ski bums around the world would sell their granny to do a season there.

It really doesn't matter where you do a season - you'll make the best mates and have the greatest time regardless. Unless of course you're the twunt who is known for moaning "wish I'd got Mayrhifen rather than this bumhole with you bellends"
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under a new name wrote:
@sugarmoma666, what, then, did they do?

Cooked breakfast, dinner and an afternoon cake. Cleaned the chalet. Skiied. In most chalets, the only day the chalet hosts weren't allowed to ski was transfer day.
We stayed in one chalet in La Tania where the hosts managed about 5 hours of time on the slopes a day - they were very organised. I've stayed in another chalet where the hosts were so disorganised that they didn't seem to manage to find time to ski at all.
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under a new name wrote:
@YesStuart, what on earth did you assume a chalet host did for a living? Take the punters drinking and shag the least unattractive?
Blimey, that's a bit over-dismissive!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@sugarmoma666, ah. Gotcha. Sorry. In my day Crying or Very sad that was called chalet boy or girl ...

My mistake.

@Hurtle, see my mistake above.
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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
[quote="under a new name"]@sugarmoma666, ah. Gotcha. Sorry. In my day Crying or Very sad that was called chalet boy or girl/quote]

Grade inflation innit?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Do a little research and have a bit of a rethink. Inghams don't run any hotels in Mayrhofen, so won't have any hotel assistant positions available there (in Austria, you're looking at either St Christoph or Kuhtai), but may have chalet assistant/host jobs still available.

Hotel assistant is not too dissimilar to a chalet host, you still have to clean and serve the guests, you just won't be as involved (if at all) in the food prep/cooking side of things. You still get the one full day off a week, and you will have a transfer day when you more than likely won't get out on the slopes. For a first season, it really doesn't matter where you end up, you'll have a good time, meet all sorts of people and get to enjoy the mountains. Go out with an open mind, don't get hooked up on a particular place, and just enjoy. Yes there will be days that suck, yes there will be times, especially at first, when you may want to jack it all in, but at the end of it all you'll have made some great friends, have some cracking stories to tell, and hopefully got better at skiing/boarding. As a returner in a second season you'll then have more scope to pick and choose 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:
@Hurtle, actually, in my day, there were a few who did just that...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@YesStuart, My son's experience may be helpful. A few years ago he was in a similar position to yours and had similar aspirations. He went to Saalbach at the beginning of the ski season and, almost literally, knocked on doors. He spoke no german but nonetheless managed to get two job offers, without any apparent difficulty. The first, which he jacked in after a couple of weeks, was as a waiter in a local hotel; it involved some intensive training, getting up early, putting on a black and white uniform, and working long hours - they assured him that he had a promising career ahead of him as a hotel waiter - he was too polite to tell them what he thought of that idea - clearly his and their aspirations were not compatible (his being to ski and party).

He then accepted the second job offer, as a kitchen assistant in a local restaurant. His shift began at 2pm and finished at 10pm ,which meant that he could ski every morning (and all day on his days off) and party for half the night. He made loads of friends amongst the seasonal worker community (from a variety of countries, including the UK) and enjoyed himself so much that he returned to do the same job for three consecutive winter seasons. He told me that it felt like "living the dream".

The advantage of being treated as a regular worker by an Austrian employer, rather than as slave labour by a British chalet company, was that he was paid a living wage in addition to free accommodation (a shared room in a seasonal workers' residence) and food at the restaurant where he worked; also free health insurance and a subsidised season lift pass. He is not known for being especially sensible with money, but he was able to save a few thousand euros by the end of the season and was considered by the other seasonal workers to be extremely fortunate, not only to be so well-paid, but also to have hours of work that allowed him all morning to ski or sleep off the previous night's exertions. I even remember making a couple of ski instructors extremely envious when I mentioned his conditions of employment to them - they commented that they wished they earned even half as much!

The downsides? Washing dishes and being ordered about by Austrian employers, who treat their kitchen staff with about as much sensivity and charm as Gordon Ramsay on a bad day, may not be everyone's idea of a spiritually rewarding employment. It is also possible to be led astray by the siren calls of those like to party harder than they ideally should, which can affect one's ability to wash dishes the following day. It also helps to have somewhere to stay whilst looking for work, and this might involve an initial outlay.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Do you know if UK based T.O. offer packages compliant with local legislation in terms of minimum wage and working time directive?
Back in 1988, I knocked on doors in France and CH, and got a Job as a barman in Morgins. I only worked evenings apart from changeover day, had 1.5 complete days off per week ( so 2 as it was only evenings ), I was paid Swiss min wage and had full employment protection. ( 4x the pay and more time off than the chalet staff )
So if you speak a bit if German or French you could land a job in CH where the min wage is around GBP3500 per month (after deductions you'll have about 3K, per month), and you'll get at least 1.5 days off per week - its the law.
How does that compare with Crystal and SkiWorld ?
More recently ( 2009-2011 ) I worked as a chef on a French campsite by lake Annecy (working evenings only), I got EUR2000 p.m plus tips, plus a mobile home for the Summer - the Eurocamp reps, got about 100 quid a week and lived in a shared tent.

Tatman is dead right - try to get a job with a local contract if you can.
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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?
Stayed a few times in Mayrhofen and it is great fun. The other way would, as mentioned, just do your research and try to find all of the UK based TO's who have chalets/hotels there.

I did a season in St Anton and its great - worked with Mark Warner there who have two large hotels and probably 50+ members of staff. Check out SkiVal too, lots of chalets there.

Knocking on doors is a nice idea but fairly daunting for a young person, particularly if you aren't fluent in German. Some of my friends have taken the approach of finding some cheap accommodation for maybe a month from mid november, and then just trying their luck - if it works it works, if it doesnt it doesnt. Remember that all companies have drop outs in the first few weeks, and then throughout the season as people get injuries.

Also, I'd advise to having an open mind, you will have a great time wherever you go.
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Applying in September, most companies will by now be well into their recruitment operations. And going through the major TOs who operate over multiple Alpine resorts, being assured of getting your primary choice of resort can be very hit and miss, especially for a popular resort like Mayrhofen. It would probably be wise to widen the search of other resorts you'd be happy to go to; or if 100% certain on Mayrhofen just to focus on employers who are solely based there.

Some of the advice about going out there and knocking on doors for a job is fine, this can tend to work. The downside is that it's pretty stressful for someone who hasn't done this type of thing before, and there's an obvious lack of certainty about accommodations and what not. Getting a job sorted beforehand will give a sense of security, and (if its a British TO) also some instant mates that you'll travel out to resort with and do training together. But it is obviously notoriously terrible for wages going that route, so swings and roundabouts. Personally, I previously worked 2 winters for UK tour operators and have no regrets going that way, it was a great thing to do.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
YesStuart wrote:
fixx: 1) I'd like to go somewhere I haven't been before - I've been on annual ski holidays since I was 4 (I'm 21 now) and thus have been to many of the big resorts in France such as Tignes, Les Arcs, Val Thorens etc... but never Mayrhofen.
2) I like a beer or two and I know Mayrhofen has a reputation for that including snowbombing.
3) I've been learning german for the past month or so and I'm really getting into it.
4) I decided on Mayrhofen back in June (I know that I'm very late in applying for the upcoming winter) so it's always been in my head... if that makes sense?

Now that I know I'll have less time on the slopes as a hotel assistant (thank you for this info).. that is making me think, should I go to another big resort in Austria and chalet host e.g. Saalbach? I've been to St Anton in 2013 but would rather go there than France.


under a new name: 1) SkiWorld had no positions available in Austria
2) see above

I assumed with chalet hosting, you could pick and choose whether you wanted to ski with your guests for the day? I've stayed in a chalet before where the host only skied with us on one occasion. I like both skiing by myself and skiing in a group, by myself I would really go for it with earphones in, in a group you have the social aspect which can be incredible at times.

Thank you both for your replies!


Having rejected an offer, are you really sure you want to do a ski season? With the larger TOs popular resorts tend to go to returning workers, rather than newbies. Restricting yourself to resorts you've not been to will restrict your job opportunities. If you really are 'fixed' on one or a limited number of resorts then research which TOs go to those resorts & what type of accommodation they offer their guests. From this you can 'target' your applications. I think you'd also be advised to state in your applications that you are only willing to take a role in your chosen resorts - that way you are unlikely to burn any bridges by rejecting offers.
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On the flip side, when we ran our restaurant in Avoriaz, we hired people who had the motivation to get off their butt and come out looking for work. ( Or the the case of a 3 hires, when their mums asked if they could have jobs next season, we told them to do a C&G in Food hygiene, learn a bit of French then come and see us ).
We did use Gumtree to fill short term vacancies ( to cover hospitalisation of staff ).
It was nice to see people in resort - not only does it show they are motivated, but also can organise themselves sufficiently to arrange the travel and accommodation, it gives them a chance to see the work environment and their prospective employees, and it shows hey are not phased by being away from home on their own.
All that being said we did not offer jobs to everyone who came to see us, normally people were only refused for 3 reasons:
1) all vacancies had been filled
2) the candidate did not have the requisite language skills for front of house, or kitchen experience
3) they had more then 3" of underpants showing, and communicated monosyllabically

As an aside, we did refuse one german girl's online application, who thought that the best photo to send with her CV was one of her bare chested showing off her pierced nipples. - Mrs. WindOfChange made an executive decision regarding that application Smile
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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In our neck of the woods the language barrier isn't much of a problem, as so many Austrians speak good English and the clientele is also cosmopolitan. Finding somewhere to stay for a couple of weeks, whilst looking for work, may not be too difficult either - there are plenty of British ex-pats who have rooms to let, and late November or early December isn't a time when there is likely to be any competition for such accommodation. Provided that the job-seeker is presentable and possesses reasonable inter-personal skills, there should be a good prospect of finding work in a major ski resort without resorting to working for peanuts in a chalet.
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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!
Neilson have a chalet hotel in Mayrhofen and do provide ski hosting from there. Pretty rare nowadays.

Mayrhofen is a pretty good resort for apres but the skiing is a little limited unless you want to use the coach to the glacier or the train down to the Zillertal resorts. The main Mayrhofen mountain fine for a few days but... Not my choice for a season.

You have three months before the season kicks off. Try taking a couple of weeks and go to Austria/Germany earlier by yourself and immerse yourself in the language. Backpacking rather than Octoberfesting
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