Jobs at Ski Areas
Every winter people flock to the mountains for some good old-fashioned downhill recreational fun. To ensure people have a great time skiing and riding, it takes staff who are dedicated to the mountains. It takes enthusiastic, professional snow lovers both on-snow and off-snow to create unforgettable ski vacation experiences for guests.
Working in a ski area is not your typical 9 to 5 job. In fact, living and working the skiing life is a lifestyle...doing whatever it takes to carve a turn on perfect corduroy, get powder face shots on a blower day, or shredding an untracked tree line. It may mean putting in late nights at the restaurant or bar, working 20 days straight in ski school, waking up early to start the lifts, driving snowcats that groom the piste all night long, or using explosives to keep the steep terrain safe. The cool thing about working in a ski area is that on your days off, you get to go skiing.
The question for anyone aspiring to work in a mountain town is what do you want to do? Do you want to work full time or part time? Are you looking for entry-level work or trying to advance your career? Do you want to be on snow everyday? Are you a good teacher? Do you want to work with people? Are you a handyman or mechanic? Are you interested in first aid? Do you have marketing skills? Are you a salesman? Do you like hands-on work? All of these questions can help you figure out what job is best for you.
Ski resorts employ people to do all sorts of things.
Think about all the people it takes to run a ski resort. The list below describes only a few of the opportunities available at ski resorts worldwide...
Did you know? The National Ski Areas Association represents 329 alpine resorts and 400 suppliers. Last year, there were over 60 million skier visits in the United States.
- Ski Patrol - Ski patrol rides the first chairlift in the morning and they are the last ones off the hill at the end of the day. They keep the resort safe by marking hazards, mitigating avalanches, performing first aid, and lending a helping hand to guests.
- Ski Instructor - This professional teaches beginners how to stop, takes big shots on mountain tours, or gives expert instruction on how to rip bumps. Every day is different and every day is on snow.
- Snowboard Instructor - There is nothing better than boarding every day. Snowboard instructors teach beginners to experts all over the mountain and in the terrain parks.
- Adaptive Instructor - It's amazing when people with disabilities are out on the slopes, but how do they learn to manage their disability and snow sports equipment? It takes a talented adaptive instructor.
- Lift Operator - Lift accessed skiing is what makes skiing so popular. Without the lift operator starting the lift bright and early in the morning, you'd have to walk up the hill. Lifties help people on and off the chairs from first chair to last chair.
- Terrain Park Crew - Terrain parks are growing in popularity and nearly every resort has some sort of park that includes pipes, boxes, rails, and other features. The terrain park crew manages and maintains those features and keeps the park safe.
- Groomer - Untouched, freshly groomed corduroy snow is fun for all ability levels. Groomers operate snowcats that smooth the snow. They may work all day or all night, but they also get plenty of time to ski and ride.
- Ski Tech - Ski and snowboard equipment has to be properly tuned for it to perform well. Bases need waxing, edges need sharpening, and core shots need filling. This hands-on job allows for lots of on-snow time and lots of late night p-tex burning.
- Bootfitter - Ski boots have an uncomfortable reputation. Ski boot fitters grind boots and create custom footbeds to help alignment and to ease pressure points.
- Ticket Sales - Without a ticket, you can't get on the lift.
- Ticket Scanners - A ticket scanner validates your pass or ticket before you get on a chairlift.
- Lift Mechanic - Chairlifts and snowcats are big machines that operate in cold weather. No resort is complete without a properly trained mechanic to tinker with the big toys.
- Food and Beverage - Every ski resort has on mountain dining and restaurants in town. Chefs, servers, cashiers, bussers, managers, and bartenders are all hot jobs.
- Hotel Gigs - Working in a hotel is a great way to log days on the hill. Front desk, housekeepers, valets, masseuses, concierges, and bell boys work in every resort hotel.
- Childcare - Not all children are able to ski, yet. Many resorts offer day care so mom and dad can ski during the day. Babysitters are always needed so parents can go out on the town.
- Retail Stores - Someone has to sell Patagonia clothing, local t-shirts, Burton boards, Volkl skis, or Go Pro cameras to the consumers.
- Marketing Opportunties - Organizing events, running social networks, and making sure people have heard of your resort is key for a successful business.
There are tons of winter gigs available in every ski town. Don't think that ski resorts only offer seasonal winter gigs. There are definitely opportunities to make places like Telluride, Big Sky, or Stowe your year round workplace. Events take place all summer. Summer concerts, conventions, sports, and mountain recreation keep mountain towns bustling year round. Many snow lovers are passionate about the winters, but truly rave about summer in the mountains.
Did you know? Only about 2% to 3% of the US population skis or snowboards. On average, those 7 million people ski about 8 days each season.
Do you have your eye on a job that fits your personality and goals? Are you destined to work on-snow or would you prefer to work behind the scenes? Now it's time to take a look at one of the more popular ski resort jobs - ski instructing...