Wednesday, 20 February 2019 - About The Summit | Rss
The Summit

Working a ski season just got serious

Gap year workers move aside for the professional 'seasonnaires'

It was not so long ago that working a ski season was a rite of passage for the “Gap Yah” generation as they worked a few months in the Alps before heading off to Uni. Of course some never quite made it back to University as they enjoyed their winter season so much that they found a summer job just so they could get back to the Alps for another winter.. and another.. and another! Many went on to work  “seasons” for 5 years or more before they decided to get a “proper job” back in the UK.

Well all this has changed in the last few years as the recession has spawned a new generation of “career seasonnaires” who are heading to the Alps for more than just the opportunity to ski or snowboard in their time off.

The pre-University “gappers” are still there in big numbers, but they are now competing with graduates and all kinds of career changers who have swapped their day jobs for the season worker lifestyle. This new breed of seasonnaires are more focused on progressing their career within the snowsports industry than partying the night away every night.

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For example, Neil Barrett has swapped his job as a PE Teacher to work as a Resort Manager for the past 6 years. His winter and summer seasons have taken him from working as a Resort Rep in Austria to his current role as a Resort Manager in Canada. Every year he has progressed into a more challenging role and he carefully plans his next summer season well before he arrives for his winter season.

“As a Resort Manager my role involves people management, negotiating with suppliers, budgetary control and training. It’s way more challenging than my teaching career and I love the fact that I get to travel and work abroad in fantastic winter and summer locations. It sure beats working in a classroom”.

Two years ago Amy Burton struggled to get a job after graduating from Exeter University. She then decided to return to the world of seasonal work that she thought she had left behind when she worked as an “Elf” during her gap year in Lapland.

“I spent four months job hunting after graduation but was getting nowhere fast and it was so demoralising when so many companies were not even acknowledging my applications. I applied to work a season as a Childcare Assistant and got snapped up within days of applying. Originally I thought I would just work a winter season and then come back to the UK, but then I realised there were all these other graduates who were working consecutive seasons and looking to step up their role and responsibilities each season. I also realised you can earn quite well if you progress up the ladder within a resort team so I decided to give it a go. 4 seasons later I have no regrets and I’ve just landed an awesome Summer Job in the Italian Dolomites!”

Ski industry employers have welcomed this subtle broadening of the demographic and career focus of the average seasonnaire. They value the skills of more experienced applicants and often find them more reliable. Neil Barrett comments:

“In resort we need hard-working flexible staff who will just get on with it. We need people who will make it through the whole season and not get burnt out by burning the candle at both ends. ‘Work hard – Play hard’ is fine as long as they always make it to work on time and deliver for our guests!”

So don’t be surprised if your Chalet Host has more than just a passion for the mountains this winter. It’s a sign of the times that working a winter season has never been such a serious career option! is a job site specialising in winter and summer seasonal resort jobs. Applicants can search by type of role, location or season and then apply online direct to employers. As well as featuring vacancies form over 160 snowsports employers, the site also includes useful resources on the type of jobs available, tips on how to apply and resort worker guides for various ski resorts.

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About Andrew Bird

Andrew heads up the ResortWork team at 247 Media that works directly with over 200 snowsports employers. He has been working in online recruitment within the travel and leisure industry since 2001. Prior to that he spent 12 years running an activity ho... read more