So…you’re thinking about doing a snow season?!
Firstly, what a banger of a decision you’ve made! WOOHOO!💥 No matter where in the world you decide to do it…the vibes, the carnage, the fun and the life you’ll live for those 6 months are going to be the best times of your life, trust me!
I mean, your bank account probably won’t love you, but does it ever?! Yes winter seasons are bloody expensive, with a lot to think about before you even arrive. So much money to drop on rent, a season pass and all your gear, plus making sure you get your visa sorted…but then you gotta think about a job too!
To make it easy for those of you who are preparing for a snow season and don’t know where to start…I’ll elaborate on the top 5 things to think about, plus the best ways to go about them. With a few tips and tricks in between, you’ll be ready to go in no time! 🏂
1.Think about a job
So either you’re like us and have been travelling previously to your ski season, which means your probably, at this stage, dead broke. Or perhaps you’re going straight into it and have a bunch of money saved up, ready to go. Whatever your situation, you’ll most likely wanna think about getting a job for your winter season ahead. (Like I said, they’re expensive)
For our first ski season, part time work was all Bryn and I were after. 3 or 4 days a week tops. Something to get us by, without a job taking up more time than the mountains. I mean at the end of the day, you’re here to shred right? Now coming into our second season, this time around we need the money more than we need the mountains. I’m full-time freelancing which is rad because I can set my own hours (check out my portfolio HERE guys!) and Bryn? He’s labouring Mon-Fri. This willl quieten down in the thick of winter so he’ll jump on any plumbing and cleaning work he can get.
Here’s the best seasonaire jobs (in our opinion)…these get you enough time up the mountain to become pro…almost 😜
⁃Nannying/babysitting. Perfect if you love working with kids, this is good work with lots to be had.
⁃Restaurant/bar work. This work typically comes at night, so that means your days are free to shred the mountains! Woohoo! Our flat mate last season worked 5 nights a week and she got the most days up the hill for sure! Personally I couldn’t do it…think I’d end up “burning the candle at both ends” as my mum would say.
⁃Cleaning. The bees knees for snow season work. Generally pretty easy, mindless, part time work that doesn’t take up too much brain power. Bryn and I had two cleaning jobs last season. The first involved cleaning a Chalet every Saturday and the second was looking after some Airbnb properties (check ins, check outs, cleaning and/or laundry)
⁃Hospitality or retail. This could be in a cafe, a ski hire shop, a clothing store etc. Providing you get ample time off to ride, this is an option also. Keep in mind that if you’re doing a European winter season you’ll most likely have to speak some of the language too. BONJOUR CA VA?! 😎
⁃Chalet hosting. Now this one is quite the common seasonaire role, but just be aware that there can be some long hours involved. You’ll often be on call, you’ve got to be there for breaky each morning, clean the chalet, do the laundry, drive the guests and sometimes cook too, depending on your skill set. Although you get a chunk of each day free to ride, it can end up being a pretty full time job. If you wanna be a ski bum like us, then maybe avoid this one.
⁃Snow clearing. Typically a more blokey job, there will always be snow to clear during the winter seasons. Plus this is an early morning gig, which means you’ll be ready to ride the pow when the lifts open!
⁃Transfer driver. If you’re comfortable with driving guests/goods in a snowy town then this could be good for you. Just make sure you get the right hours that you’re after, this job can be pretty demanding time wise.
But how do I find these jobs?
As a rule of thumb, once you’ve chosen the ski resort where you’ll be spending your season, google the shit out of it. Hotels, restaurants, bars, clothing stores, construction companies…EVERYTHING. Find out which stores are hiring and email in your CV. Even if you can’t see any job openings on the website, email them anyway.
Secondly, go on Facebook to see whether there’s a page dedicated to the ski resort. In Chamonix, we’ve got Chamonix Job Offers and both Bryn and I, plus a lot of our friends were able to find work on here.
Thirdly, many people arrive without a clue where they’ll end up working. So yes, the old fashion walk in, woo the manager, hand in your CV with a banging personality to match will do the trick too.
Lastly, I would suggest to just get talking to people. If you’re a tradey, make it known to your mates, locals and acquaintances. Bryns got a bunch of random work because people know he’s a plumber + everyone seems to trust a kiwi tradey?! Talking to people is key.
Pro tip for ya – don’t be fussy. You don’t do a ski season to get a career focused job that’ll look wicked on your CV. No. You do a ski season to get on the slopes as much as possible (and have a hell of a party life too 😝). So don’t be fussy with your work. Take what you can get and do the job well.
2.Think about accomodation
Accomodation can feel like a bit of a panic but honestly…it always works out. There are a few different accomodation options for a ski season and these are as follows:
-Studio apartment. Perfect for a couple or for someone who likes their alone time. Currently Bryn and I are in a little studio apartment in Chamonix and basically this means everything is sort of in one room. These work out relatively cheap between two, but if it’s your first season, it’s probably not the most social option.
-Shared flat. Cool for a group of mates or two couples. This was what Bryn and I did for our first season and was a good way to meet people. Our two flat mates, Charlotte and Hester were also from NZ who we didn’t know, but we very quickly became mates. Our place was a little bigger with a huge balcony so many a party was thrown there. Fun times 🍺
-Accomodation organised through your job. Here’s a good option for people coming by themselves. A lot companies will also provide accommodation with their job offer. One of the bars in Chamonix provides accommodation for those who work there so they’re a pretty tight crew as you can imagine. Literally work, sleep, shred together plus A LOT of partying and mischief too.
-Shared chalet. These are the big, beautiful, wooden chalets that are dotted throughout ski towns in Europe. Also known as big houses with a lot of rooms. People always join forces and go in on a chalet to rent for the winter. People probably pay a bit more for these, although they’re not all high end mansions. None the less, these are full of all sorts of people, ages, cultures and abilities.
-Shared room. If you’re coming with a mate and want cheaper rent, or if it’s just you but ya can’t afford a room to yourself, then getting a shared room is a good option for you. Super super common during ski seasons, you’re actually pretty lucky if you’re not sharing a room. Our flatmates last winter shared a room (2 singlet beds) and quite a few friends this season are doing the same. Just make sure you’re relaxed and chill with this sort of situation, we’ve seen a few people fall out because of it.
But how do I find my accomodation?
Firstly get on your friend google. Google anything like ‘seasonal accomodation in Whistler’, ‘ski season accomodation Colorado’ or ‘best places to find seasonal accomodation in Queenstown, New Zealand’. This should bring up the local buy & sell. For NZ it’s ‘TradeMe’, in Canada/USA its ‘CraigsList’ and in France it’s ‘LeBoincoin’. These websites have whole sections dedicated to finding accomodation and/or flatmates for the winter season.
Secondly, jump on Facebook and see if there’s a page dedicated to accomodation in the town you’ll be moving to. In Chamonix we have Chamonix Share and Rent Accomodation and this how most of us have found accom for the winter months and longer. There’s Facebook pages dedicated to everything these days so make sure you take advantage of them.
There are also accomodation (and job) boards in every winter town so make sure you check it out frequently.
Lastly, make sure once you’ve arrived and are trying to sort everything out, ask to see whether companies are offering accom with work.
Oh and best of all…TALK TO PEOPLE.
2.Think about a visa
Alrighty, so obviously once you’ve decided on where you want to do your season, you need to apply for a visa. (Unless you have a passport for the area you’re in, in which case you’re a lucky bugger.)
For NZ and AUS citizens, we get 90 days in Europe without the need of a visa, so if you’re looking at only 3 months then boom this is you. I’d deff say there’s a higher percentage of you that wanna stay for the entire 5/6 month snow season so getting a visa is pretty important. People overstay all the time and so far, no one I know has been caught out but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Whatever the location of your season, look in advance (and I mean like 6 months in advance) to check out the visa requirements etc.
4.Think about all your gear
For the third time already, I’m about to tell you that ski seasons are expensive. Not just the season, but everything you need to be wearing to actually go shred.
-Board or skis
-Polls if you’re a skier
-Helmet (optional but don’t be dumb)
-Neck warmer (optional)
-Thermals (long sleeve top, bottoms & socks)
-Avalanche gear (optional)
All this alone can crack a gaping hole in the budget. Luckily we had most of our gear already (thank god) so it was just a matter of pre-packing it into a snowboarding bag before leaving the country, then organising with trusty mum to get it sent over in November. Getting it sent over was also pretty damn expensive but we used ParcelMonkey which was a door to door service with no admin.
Don’t stress about getting your gear over there either – you’re moving to a town fully equipt for snowy, winter months so you’ll 100% find whatever you need in the town you move to.
5.Think about your ski pass
Something to keep in mind when all the prep begins is really more of a budgeting tip, but definitely something to think about is your ski pass and how much that’s going to cost you. Check when they go on sale (there’s generally early birds) and make sure it’s the pass you want.
You’ll get winter season passes, annual passes and passes that give you wider areas. For example in Cham we have the “Le Pass” which gives you a limited number of mountains in the Valley (so not ideal) and then the “Mont-Blanc Unlimited Pass” which gives you all the mountains in the Valley, a few others in the French Alps, a mountain in Italy and discounts to a mountain in Switzerland. (Def the better way to go!)
All up for our first season, this cost us 1000Euro each! This season, because we’re last season ticket holders, we were able to get ours for 650Euro (phew 😌) So definitely don’t forget about this when planning and budgeting for your snow season!
So…there ya have it, our top 5 things to think about when preparing for a snow season!
And trust me guys…the insane amount of fun you’ll have will beat any amount of money you’ll ever spend, so what are you waiting for…GET INVOLVED!
Got anything to add or any questions?! Fire them through 🤗
Leah | FREE & ADDICTED
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