Jan 14, 2013

Posted by in Front Page, Snow!

The Best and Worst Ski Resort Jobs

The Best and Worst Ski Resort Jobs

Ski resorts are known as a haven for the rich.  Just for the right to sit on a chairlift, you are likely spending $100 at anywhere decent.  Factor in hotel, restaurants, partying, and you are probably dropping at least a grand in a matter of a few days.

Yet the vacationers make up only a part of the equation.  All these  vacationers need people to drive them around, uncork the moet, and change the sheets.  Yes, there is an entire industry out there to service the whims and needs of those who can afford it.  Depending on where you go the jobs will be more/less glamorous and debaucherous (think Tahoe vs. Utah), but regardless of the area, there will be jobs that allow you to shred, and others that will make you cry home to your parents and listen to their “See I told you so” lectures of why being a ski bum was a bad idea.  Prove them wrong and seek out the best ski resort jobs, while avoiding the worst.


Room Attendant (maid) –  There is a reason that a large majority of people in this profession are immigrants from another country.  It’s mostly due to the fact that anyone with a choice avoids this job like the plague.  Even more so in a ski resort where you are cleaning up after everyone’s debauchery.  The phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” was probably coined by a room attendant that saw everything that stayed in the hotel room.  Eeeeew.

Lift operator (Lifty) – This might seem like the perfect job at first – being on the mountain all day, helping to run the machine that makes the resort tick – until you realize that everyone else on the mountain has either skis or a board on their feet.  You are stuck watching them go by time and again with their perma-grin from being so stoked.  Meanwhile you are earning minimum wage, needing a second job just to get by, and are lucky to get a ride down at the end of the day.

Ski Instructor – Another job that seems glamorous, but unless you have seniority in the ski school, they are going to dump you off with 5 year olds who begin crying the moment their mommy puts them down.  You are basically a glorified babysitter, but worse – at least babysitters can send kids to their room for a nap.  No such luxury exists for the rookie ski instructor.  Get used to saying “I don’t know where your mommy is, okay?”

Bartender (nightclub) – While the money for this job can be excellent, the reality is that you are dealing with drunk idiots until the wee hours of the morning.  This means that you will probably miss first chair most days.  If you don’t mind getting first tracks, then this might be a good job – but then why are you living in a resort?


Taxi Driver – This is good just for the sheer comedy.  Although you are working late, you aren’t exerting yourself too much, so you will be still be able to get up early.  The money is great as everyone is on vacation and tipping generously.  Most resorts have a relatively confined area, so when it’s busy you simply drive a couple miles each time and head right back to town for another great trip with great tips.

Bartender (restaurant) – The nightclub bartender fell into the “worst” jobs column but in a restaurant it’s excellent.  You are mostly dealing with higher clientele, and are finished at a reasonable time.  Your shifts usually top out at 6 or 7 hours, giving you the entire day to be on the mountain…. and maybe even a hot tub before work.

Patrol – While everyone is waiting for the upper mountain to open from avalanche closures, you are the one ensuring it stays closed.  You get to take as much time (and powder turns) as needed to ensure the slopes are safe.  No one will noticed if that last lap was simply a glory lap.  Best of all – you get paid to throw explosives without any fear of an adversary throwing explosives at you.  A ski resort is the only place in the world where hearing bombs go off in the morning is a good thing.

Houseman(woman) – If you need to get a job in a hotel, this is the one to get.  If someone needs an extra pillow or tube of toothpaste, you are the one who brings it to them. It’s like room service for all the little things that people need to make their stay special.  More often than not you get tipped, and your job becomes irrelevant when people go to bed, meaning you aren’t working crazy hours.

Freelance Writer – There is a bit of personal bias here, as the writer writing this is also a ski bum who makes his money writing.  Jealous?  If you don’t mind living on the bare minimum and have other social outlets, then go for it!  Just start writing as much as you can, and sooner or later someone will notice.  The internet makes it easy to get work outside your bubble.  You get to set your own hours, and enjoy the snow when it comes!  Just make sure your stuff is entertaining.  If you are at the end of the article and reading this, I will assume that you consider me entertaining.  So thanks for reading!  You just bought me breakfast!  Now off to enjoy the mountain!