Things to Think About Before Starting Your Ski Season
Considering a ski season? We’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves…
To live in a place where others go for vacation has a lovely sound to it, right? In fact, it’s something that most people should only do once in their lives. Before the complexities of life push you along the merry-go-round of conventionality, try stepping back for a while, create your own version of life and give a ski season a go! But first, it’s time to do your homework!
First things first, pick a reliable company. The easiest way to complete a ski season is to of course go through a ski season company, we know that the list is endless and continuously growing, but research is key! Some may be more expensive, but sometimes the more money you put into it, the more you personally get out, including things such as more visa and process advice, accommodation to get you going … look passed the prices and really compare what these companies offer – getting advice from people who have done a ski season is also a good idea!
Next step, choosing a country or more specifically, a resort. With many companies you won’t get to choose specifics, but your research and reasonings into which country you would like to work and live in is important for your own benefit! The main choices include European countries such as France, Austria and Switzerland, bearing wider with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan – we know that they all sound great, so get your pros and cons list started and let’s cut down the list!
Many ski lovers also discover the fear of getting injured. Of course, hurting yourself whilst skiing is inevitable, it’s a highly dangerous sport, but don’t let your mind get the better of you – not everyone gets injured, it’s just bad luck! The best advice one can provide is to take it easy at first, no matter if you skied last week or if you haven’t skied in a few years, you need to ease yourself in gently regarding the slopes and the pace of others. Unfortunately accidents do happen on the slopes, but being scared of these is not going to change anything. You need to know when to take a break rather than hurting your own body more once its tired from a full days run, enjoy your days off ski free occasionally…you are there for a few months remember! Don’t fear, stay safe, get the skis on and get going!
What if I’m bad at skiing? If you think you’re going to be bad – then you will be bad. Simple as that, you need a positive attitude! Depending on your ski season job, you will have so much time to improve skills and techniques on the slopes, and all ski instructors will be there to help. Ski lessons are highly recommended to season workers as this helps you progress faster and grasp the basics before being confident enough to go off by yourself. Even if you are a good skier but have not skied in a few years, take a lesson to regain confidence and learn the slopes, what’s stopping you?
Possibly the most important part of working a ski season is the actual role of work that you will be doing every day. Again, with many companies you may not get the chance to choose specifics, but to benefit everyone, ski season jobs vary widely and may include jobs such as bar, reception or maintenance work, drivers, nannies, chefs, reps and chalet staff, along with the chance to become a ski or snowboard instructor. This means your ski season jobs weekly schedule may vary also, for example one week may consist of working in the morning, hitting the slopes for a few hours and then heading back into work mode for the evening shift, and the next day would be the opposite, allowing you the best of both worlds!
So now you have your initial list to get going:
Pick a reliable company / compare companies offerings
Choose your desired country / possible resort
Find a job that you enjoy and WANT to do
The last point in the list is …
Know your limits and be head smart
We know that you may have dreamed of this ski season for a few years now, but wind the gears down! This process takes time and patience, getting placed with your favourite resort is not as easy as you think!! Especially if going for instructor roles then planning in advance is key.
Ski seasons are the definition of “work hard, play hard”, and you genuinely need to work really hard to be able to play at all. Although if you gain the opportunity to complete it, embrace every gained benefit. These personal benefits may include motivation and determination, building self confidence and working as part of a team – skills that future employers will love! You will grow as an individual while having the experience of a lifetime.
We have made a small pros / cons list for your enjoyment – because we have realised there are a lot of things you need to think about before starting your ski season!
You will get to ski everyday or every second you have off work – giving you the ability to do something you love, improve your own skills and catch the great conditions morning and night
You will be living your dream / getting to do something you love / your hobby every day
The nightlife included – from après to after hours, many bars and restaurants offer “locals” prices which hopefully won’t use up all of your weekly salary!
The sense of community during a ski season – ski towns are small towns everywhere, meaning the local workers and everyone doing a ski season will become a knitted community
Try to make as many friends from around the world as you can
Make the most of your skiing time
It really is hard work. You need to work hard to play hard
The hours may also be long and you may actually be too tired to ski at the end of the day. The plus side of this is that you are there for 3-4 months, take one week off skiing? Probably for the best to avoid injuries or accidents, you have many more weeks to go, just don’t waste them all!
Your salary might be smaller than you hoped. Although in general ski resorts offer necessities such as food, accommodation, travel, discounts on ski equipment – this is why researching and comparing companies is near the top of the list!
Some ski countries may be classed as expensive. Your wage may be low while prices are high, but if you bag a good resort which pays for most of the necessities, your wage is just beer money at the end of the day! Don’t worry about the bank balance until you get back home… right?
Complain – the hours might be long but you are achieving your dream? Look at the view from your window, grab your skis for a quick ride and you’ll be fine
Over pack!!!!! We cannot stress this enough. The only packing essentials are ski gear (duh!), socks, socks and more socks, and painkillers (no one ever tells you that paracetamol costs £5 as opposed to 18p in the mountains) and you’ll need them for the hangovers!
Bring your high heels. Snow plus stilettos do not mix, also avoid bringing that dress you planned to wear with them!
So, if your case if filled with a million pairs of underwear and ski socks, then your more than ready!
All in all, working a ski season isn’t at all like the film ‘Chalet Girl’ … unless you’re secretly a good chef and professional ski jumper, but when its good its good, so appreciate every minute, that’s why you are here! When the sun shines, lift your chin towards it. When the snow falls, tuck your chin into your collar and ride through it. When you find yourself at the top of a peak and the view opens up momentarily, just for you, stop and look at it. Nothing lasts forever.
And if you fall down a whole mountain and survive it? Hey, you live and you learn… there is always next winter!
By Jessica Hughes