The realities of doing a ski season

Thinking of doing a ski season? I’ve had a few months off to reflect, and let hindsight work its magic. All that follows is from the perspective of doing a season as a chalet host, as part of a chalet couple. The things I found good:

  • Making friends.

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If your running a chalet, you have 10-14 guests arriving every week. Sometimes they are really cool people! There are also your fellow workmates, and the other 1000 + people who are working a ski season in the same resort as you, for the next 5-6 months. The opportunities to meet people and make friends are plentiful.

  • You can get reallllly good at skiing or snowboarding.

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With 5-6 months, you have enough time to take your time learning to ski or snowboard, well. And often the company you work for will provide free or low rate lessons.

  • You can eat looooads of good food! (Depending on the company you work for)

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If your running a chalet you may have a food allowance, but there are allllways leftovers. Think cheese boards, wine, duck breast and French bread!

  •  It’s really fun LIVING in the mountains with HEAPS of snow!

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Living in the snow is a whole different ballgame… who knew walking in snow was a skill in itself. Let alone walking in ski or snowboard boots!

  • You get to work, and live, in one of the most beautiful parts of the world!

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Living in the mountains is awesome!!

  • If your good- the tips can make it well worth while!

Dan and I were making an average of 300 euros in tips a week. But, we were prepared to go over and above our job requirements.

However, there are some big negatives involved in working a ski season. It’s up to you how much these negatives effect you. For Dan and I,  these negatives dominated our view by the end of our season. But hindsight is a beautiful thing.

  • The pay is low, the hours are long and the work is hard.

Running a ski chalet is hard work. We were working 9-10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Earning a very very small wage. The incentive is ‘the experience’.  After three months of working your arse off for an ‘experience’ the word starts to haunt you.

  • If your not snowboarding or skiing your options are limited to hiding in your ‘room’ or spending a ridiculous amount of money on a crappy coffee or overpriced beer.

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Food in the resort is expensive and a gamble on quality. With so much snow, getting places can be tricky. It can be very isolating.

  • You do eventually get bored of snowboarding or skiing.

Before our season, Dan and I swore we would go out EVERY day and make the most of being able to. But 3 months later and we’ve done every run… It becomes a struggle to go out boarding or skiing as much as you intended and it becomes… God forbid… Kind of boring!!!

  • Don’t expect to learn French if your working a ski season in France.

The ski resort we worked in, La Tania & Mèribel were primarily English. If you attempted to speak French at the local cafes & shops, they would kindly ask, in their broad Londoner accent, if you could please speak English.

  • The company we worked for didn’t favour going the extra mile or good reviews.

More, ‘team spirit’ and ‘party hard’. So if your entering the industry with any hospitality experience you will be sorely let down and find yourself working in modern day slavery conditions. But hey, it’s all for the experience!

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