Winter Ski Resort Jobs, USA

Working a Ski Season – You have probably heard of someone who has spent the season working in a winter ski resort job. Sure, you heard about how glamorous it was and what a fantastic time these individuals have but is it all fun and games?

Well like most jobs, a ski resort job is a JOB! So there certainly will be challenges and you will not be having the same experience as guests who are visiting the resort for a week or more of relaxing and having fun on the slopes, but if you do your research well and are careful in the resort jobs you apply for then you could land a fun job which still allows you to spend plenty of time on the mountain.

Most people when considering working a ski season want to spend as much time as possible on the mountain. If this is the case then some of the best winter jobs to apply for include, mountain guides, ski school, mountain safety and maintenance. The only issue is that several f these positions require certain skills and experience. Another alternative it to look for opportunities in bars and restaurants, if you are lucky you can land several more lucrative evening shifts and then also have more time to have fun on the snow during the day!

Normally seasonal staff working at ski resorts in the USA will work 6 days a week with 1 day off per week, pay and hours can vary a great deal depending on the positions you are working and the qualifications that the position requires.

Most people working in resorts end up finding basic entry-level positions such as lift attendants, customer service staff lift tickets sales jobs.

When To Apply – Most resorts will be operational from November time until April or even May in some parts of the US. Resorts will however start their recruitment process way before this and will often start taking applications as early as June or July for the following ski season. It is a good idea to apply early and follow-up on you application several times through emails and phone calls to show the recruitment team that you are serious about securing a job in their resort.

International Applicants – Working in a ski resort is a great opportunity to spend an extended period of time in a great location and often people will travel from all over the world to fill these jobs. In the USA international staff looking to work a ski season must come from the southern hemisphere and will be allowed to work in the US on a 5 month temporary J1 exchange visa. It is a little bit of a funny system with northern hemisphere applicants being able to apply for the visa in the summer months. This is why many resorts, especially on the west coast will have a lot of resort workers from Chile, Argentina, Peru and other countries from this region.

Top 5 Destinations For Ski Resort Jobs in the USA

So here you go, here are our unbiased top 5 destinations if you are looking for a ski resort job in the United States…

1 – Crested Butte, CO – OK so this may be a little surprise and isn’t one of the mega resorts out there but spending a season working at Crested Butte, is a wonderful experience. The resort is located in Colorado and is usually overshadowed by some of its more well known neighbours but this resorts has a fantastic reputation for having great conditions all season long. The resort is a lot smaller than many of the major resorts around the USA but this creates a more intimate feel, where you can really get to know a lot of the locals and quickly make friends in the resort. They are also very well known for looking after their employees and offer all kinds of great benefits.

2 – Heavenly Ski Resort, CA – When they decided to call this resort Heavenly they came up with a very appropriate name. The views from the top of this mountain over the beautiful Lake Tahoe certainly are breath taking. Located on the state line between California and Nevada this resort has the lot! Great snow conditions throughout the season. Plenty of different options when it comes to potential ski season jobs. A whole host of entertainment options away from the slopes with bars, restaurants, casinos and much more. It is also conveniently located easily driving distance to numerous other resort which are dotted around Lake Tahoe.

3 – Vail, CO – Well if you didn’t know Vail is the largest ski resort in the United States and each year it attracts international visitors from all over the world. With fantastic skiing and a great resort center, Vail is one of the best places in the US to land a ski resort job. The numerous hotels, bars, shops and restaurants employ hundreds of season workers during the winter months. Vail is also located near many of the other top resorts in Colorado so on your days off it is always fun to try out a different mountain for the day.

4 – Stowe, VT – If you like your ski resorts to have a little bit of history then Stowe is a great option when applying for a winter job. Located in Vermont, Stowe is one of the oldest ski resorts in the US and it still has so much character today, even with the many modern buildings that have been constructed in the resort. One of the other great things about working at Stowe is that if you fancy a day away from the mountains then you can venture over to the wonderful city of Boston and spend some time exploring.

5 – Mammoth Mountain, CA – Most people think southern California is just beaches and surfers but it is also home to one of the most fun ski resorts in the US. Mammoth Mountains offers year round outdoor activities with hiking and mountain biking in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The resort is a great place to work with all kinds of great housing opportunities for seasonal staff, multiple job opportunities at the various businesses in the area and convenient access to LA and San Diego, so that you can spend the morning skiing and the afternoon surfing!

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Where Are the Best Ski Resorts in Chile?

Ski Chile and experience some fabulous ski resorts perched up high in the majestic Andes mountain range. It is a great destination for a ski or snowboard holiday because you can combine powder skiing with an interesting culture.

Chile is a long narrow country spanning 4,300km (2,600 miles) from north to south yet it averages only 180km (111 miles) wide. It’s the land of startling diversity in regards to its geography and climate. From hot arid deserts in the north, to the chilly (OK, pun intended!) expanses of Patagonia in the south. There are at least 20 ski resorts located in the southern half of the country. As you move further south, the mountains get smaller however the climate gets colder. The most northern resort (and one of the highest) is Portillo, which is 164km northeast of Santiago, close to border of Argentina. Portillo ski resort is world renowned, and is recognized in photos by the distinctive yellow Hotel Portillo set amongst the magnificent backdrop of the snow covered Andes and enormous frozen lake.

Also near Santiago are the ski resorts in the Three Valleys (Tres Valles): the modern and massive world class Valle Nevado, and the interconnected La Parva, El Colorado and Farellones ski resorts. To the southeast of Santiago is little Lagunillas, a non-commercial ski resort. Nearby is Chapa Verde, 145km from Santiago.

About five hours south of Santiago near Chillan is Termas de Chillan (Nevados de Chillan), a hot springs resort that resides on two active volcanoes. Further south is the small family resort of Pucon Villarica. This ski resort is also situated on a volcano, and is popular with snowboarders due to the natural half pipes formed by lava flows. Other southern resorts include Antillanca (adjacent to Bariloche in Argentina) Antuco, Lonquimay, Llaima, and El Fraile. And way down south is the Cerro Mirador Resort.

The lift systems at the Chile ski resorts are fairly average, especially when compared to USA ski resorts and skiing in Canada. Undertake a good pre-season fitness regime, as your quads won’t get much rest on all those surface tows (although they will get a long rest on the slow chairlifts). The ski resorts nearer to Santiago have acceptable lift and facility infrastructure, whilst the more southern resorts are lacking. The upside of the lack of glitz is the lower cost.

The Andes is the second highest mountain range in the world, and it’s still rising. The summit of Aconcagua which is only 15km from the border of Chile, sits at 6,950 metres (22,841 feet). Thankfully the ski resorts aren’t as high, but those around Santiago still rise to around 3,650 metres. These elevations are fantastic for the views and snow quality, but are not quite so good for the ability to breathe for the first day or so. These northern ski resorts are above the tree line, and as you move further south the elevations are lower which affords some tree skiing opportunities. Average annual snowfalls are generally around the 6-7 metre mark, except for Termas de Chillan that receives a bountiful 10 metres annually. The snowpack is coastal, so it’s reasonably stable, and considering the cool temperatures, the powder is reasonably dry. That being said, Chile ski resorts sometimes also suffer from horrendously icy conditions.

The weather can be very kind and provide lots of sunny days, but considering that many of the resorts are very exposed, nasty weather can close the resorts and access roads for days at a time. This may put a quick dampener on your ski vacation, but when the bluebird day arrives you’ll forget about it and enjoy skiing bliss once again.

There are various heli skiing and heli boarding opportunities in Chile. These are typically situated at the upscale ski resorts such as Portillo, Valle Nevado, and La Parva. All the operations provide single day heli skiing packages, and most provide single runs options.

There is only one formal cat skiing operation in Chile (and South America). The Arpa cat ski operation is located about 100kms north of Santiago.

Chile is a great place to have a winter vacation in summer (of course this only works for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere!), or a winter vacation in winter! The ski season begins in mid-June and runs to October. However the best skiing conditions in Chile are generally mid July to early September, but the busy Chile holidays are during July.

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