Want to spend more time skiing or snowboarding? Do you dream of living and working in a the mountains? In this guide to the best jobs in a ski resort we look at careers for skiers and snowboarders that will earn you money and allow daily slope time.
Best jobs in a ski resort
The goal of this guide is to provide ideas of professions that give you the chance to get out on the snow every day. We’re not talking about doing a season-long repping job or one winter of chalet hosting. We are talking long term career options that exist in ski resorts around the world.
Importantly these careers all offer the chance to ski or snowboard every day. Afterall, what is the point of living in the mountains if you can only get out on the slopes once or twice a week?
So we’ve thought about the skills, training required and salary levels each career offers. We’ve also considered – the most important factor – how much slope time these best jobs in a ski resort will provide.
Top 13 careers for skiers and snowboarders
We’ll start at the less skilled end of the spectrum – with jobs that you can do without years of training or study. Working towards the kinds of careers that require real dedication.
Bar and waiting staff
There’s no getting around the fact that working in a bar involves unsociable hours. But in a ski resort this maximises your available slope time. You might be serving drinks to happy holidaymakers all night, but the mornings and afternoons are yours.
Bar and waiting jobs are at the lower end of the pay scale but they require no training or previous experience. If you work in the right bar tips can be good. If you put the time in, team leader and management positions come up more frequently than you might think.
Is this really a job? Ask five years ago and you would have said not. But it’s a brave new world. As careers for skiers and snowboarders go this is new and rather niche requiring minimal training or experience.
You just need an internet connection and more social media followers than you can shake a ski pole at… Companies will then be lining up to throw money at you. Or at least, that’s what we’re led to believe.
You’ll be self employed, so there is no regular income to rely on. Also you’ll probably sell your principles and occasionally your dignity to cash in. On the plus side, you’ll have an incredible amount of free time to go skiing or snowboarding.
Most reps only get one day off a week – and usually spend it hungover. But career chalet hosts will have free time each day. You need to be organised, not hungover and work hard to achieve it.
As host you are expected to cook breakfast, afternoon cakes and dinner. Plus clean and tidy the chalet each day. While the above are not easy, you can fit in two to five hours of skiing or snowboarding most days.
How much time off you get depends on the company you work for and the guests you have. Companies like More Mountain in Morzine are particularly good. They ensure their hosts – usually couples with prior experience – get plenty of time on the snow.
Not all careers for skiers and snowboarders need to be physically working in a resort. These days there are many freelance and remote working options to choose from. They give you the freedom to work your own hours, so if it is a powder day postpone that deadline!
Web-dev and coding, writing and editing, PR and marketing, photography and videography plus all kinds of design work can be done freelance. If you have the skills, and are confident of getting clients, freelancing is easily one of the best jobs in a ski resort.
A ski resort is an ideal place to be a massage therapist. In what other environment are you surrounded by people who are doing six hours of hard physical exercise every day?
Skiers and snowboarders pick up injuries and generally have plenty of aches and pains after a day on the slopes. As they want to be fit and ready to do it again the next day they turn to professionals for help.
Becoming a massage therapist involves around a year of training. I know because my wife went through it and is a massage therapist in Newhaven. We very nearly moved to the Alps after she finished the course – I wish we had!
Once you’re qualified you have lots of options. Get a job in a spa, set yourself up in your own space or go mobile. And skiers don’t want a massage during the day, so you get plenty of free time to ski or board.
There are different levels of being a chef, some which require way more training than others. It depends on the establishment but experience counts for a lot. Which means there are plenty of opportunities in kitchens in ski resorts around the world.
If you can cook, are willing to put in long hours, and like the pressure of a commercial kitchen, this is a good way to make money. And it can be an exciting career. But if you work in a restaurant you won’t get much time to shred.
Ideally you will want to be a chef in a larger chalet or small hotel that doesn’t serve lunch. This gives you time off after breakfast until you need to start preparing for dinner. In the right role being a chef one of the best jobs in a ski resort.
If you are a dedicated park rat you will know what makes a good feature in a snowpark. From that you can learn how to shape and maintain the park for the guests to enjoy.
It is not the best paid job in the world, but you are out on the snow most of the time. Plus of course you’ll need to test the features you’ve created before you open to the public!
With piste grooming happening after the slopes close it is the perfect job for those who want to spend all day skiing or snowboarding. Of course the hours are unsociable and you might not have the energy to hit the slopes first thing.
Piste grooming jobs can be very specialist and quite well paid. But it is all about your experience. To get started you normally need some experience driving bulldozers or similar. Usually the training happens on the job and you’ll spend time on a low salary while you learn.
Ski or snowboard instructor
The beauty of becoming a ski or snowboard instructor is you are on the slopes all day every day. The downside is most of your time is spent teaching. Imagine the frustration of having a beginner group on the best powder day of the season…
That said becoming a ski or snowboard instructor is all about doing your time with the learners. As you get more experienced you will teach higher level skiers and snowboarders. Eventually you will get days when it feels like you are skiing with your buddies.
There are courses to become a ski or snowboard instructor that take about 10-12 weeks. However they are very basic and you’ll start at the bottom. There will be days without clients, then you are free to ski or board to your hearts content.
Ski Patrol / Pisteur and mountain rescue
What many people do not realise is that ski patrol and mountain rescue are highly trained with vast amounts of experience. You have to be a very good skier and have done much of the same safety training as mountain guides.
Of course there are different levels of patrol person. But those setting off avalanche bombs, performing rescues and checking safety are not new to the role. Pay is good but the work is demanding and can be stressful.
While you are out on the slopes most of the time, it is not spent doing what you wish. You’ll get to have some fun fresh tracks on a powder days but you’ll also help fit barriers and take injured people down the mountain.
Winter sports mountain guide
The BASI ISTD Level 4 (or equivalent) is needed to guide in the mountains for off-piste skiing and snowboarding guide. The exact course vary around the world. But we’re talking years of training rather than months. You will also need to be able to ski or board to a very high level.
You’ll learn to climb, tour and deal with glacial terrain learning a raft of mountaineering skills and safety expertise. However once you are qualified the world of snow sports is your oyster. Easily one of the best careers for skiers and snowboarders.
Of course, the ultimate way to have a life on the slopes is to find someone to pay you to do it. Put in the thousands of hours of practice required and you might get sponsored. You can also make money by placing well in competitions.
It might be a dream for most, but someone has got to do it. Whether you’re on the competition circuit or a brand ambassador, just imagine waking up every day knowing that hitting the slopes is your day job.
But it is not the longest of careers. Funding and sponsors can come and go and injury stops many careers before they have started. Without doubt the best jobs in a ski resort but career and income security are not very high.
Work part time
There are scores of other permanent jobs available in ski resorts. From cleaners to hotel staff and medical officers to retail. Unfortunately many of them don’t offer you the chance to hit the slopes every day.
However if you work part time, or job share, then you’ll have plenty of time to shred. From tourist board, to transfer driver and liftie to childcare there are opportunities in almost every career you can think of.
Landing a career in a ski resort
To give yourself a good chance of getting one of the best jobs in ski resorts, it’s all about arming yourself with skills. This may involve academic qualifications, gaining relevant experience or learning a new language.
However, if you’re willing to put in the work, there are plenty of careers for skiers and snowboarders. So the dream of being able to live, work and play in a ski resort can become your reality.
We hope you found this guide to the best jobs in ski resorts useful. Are there any other careers for skiers and snowboarders we have missed? Let us know in the comments. Check out out guide to adventure travel jobs for more ideas.