You may have read some of my previous savvy travelling posts such as immersing yourself in another country with a working holiday and ridesharing in Canada/America with Kangaride. Another way I think is a great way to experience a new place with little investment is to do a ski season. Although the work was seriously hard, we had an amazing time living in a beautiful part of the world and made some great friends along the way.
For the winter of 2017/2018 my husband and I did a ski season in the French alps (Morzine). We wanted to have a ‘couples’ job so decided that chalet hosting would work best for us. Some of the information in this post may not be relevant anymore as I believe the laws changed the year after we did our ski season but hopefully this post will still be useful to some.
How to prepare for applying
The first step we did was to make a new CV with relevant experience to a ski season. For both of us, this was completely different to a CV we would use to apply for a job in our usual fields. I would never normally show my years of waitressing and bar work on my current CV but I could expand on those roles to show relevance for a chalet hosting position. Tom didn’t have anything relevant so did a days work experience to add to his CV and to have something to talk about during interviews. It is also good to write a personal statement that explains how your interests will help you embrace the role, e.g. how you love to cook or entertain. We were told by our employers to not talk about how much you love to ski in your applications!
How to search for jobs
I always like to apply directly to companies rather than through a recruitment agent. First of all, I think it shows initiative and also gives you a better chance of having your application seen by the company. We looked for jobs on Silver Swan Recruitment and then found the names of a few smaller companies and applied to them directly. We were so lucky that we had an interview and were offered a role at the first company we applied to. Start applying as soon as the previous season ends (end of April), we did this and had secured our jobs by the beginning of May.
Things to take with you
There are some obvious things you should take when going to do a ski season such as warm clothes, ski gear etc. For our role as chalet hosts, I found the following items really useful as our chalet was not as well equipped as we’d hoped:
- Sharp knives – ours were blunt so we purchased our own, don’t bother trying to cut 20 onions a day with a blunt knife!
- Music speaker – music helps to create a nice atmosphere in the chalet so we found having a speaker that either us or the guests could link to really handy
- Mandolin – I think it’s a fact that everyone loves dauphinoise potatoes; a mandolin will save you lots of time and your guests will love you for the indulgence at dinner
- Garlic crusher – similarly to the onion chopping, save lots of time by taking a garlic crusher
- Deck of cards – in case any of your guests forget to bring some cards, have some handy for evening games!
Tips for a chalet hosting role
As I’ve said before, chalet hosting is tough. Some days we would sleep the whole break between our split shifts. There are early starts, late finishes and long days. Two days a week we would often not get a break at all. Sunday was our ‘changeover’ day and Friday was our shopping day so we rarely had a break on these days. My top tips for a chalet hosting role are:
- Cook in bulk. If you can be flexible with your meal planning, cook the same meal for your current guests last night as your next guests first night so you are prepping the same veggies etc. for two nights of meals
- Make double and freeze. If you don’t like the idea above, you could always make double of a portion of soup etc. and freeze it so for the next week you only have to defrost and serve!
- Prep in the morning. We used to prep as much as we could in the morning so we weren’t in a mad panic right before service
- Learn your resort. Guests will appreciate local knowledge such as good ski runs for beginners or experts, good restaurants for their free night etc.
Would I recommend a couples ski season?
Yes. I would recommend a ski season to any couples wanting an exciting challenge that want to travel on a budget and aren’t afraid of hard work! We got paid £120 a week each but would make on average €150 a week in tips (between us). We used our tip money to spend on going out and enjoying ourselves and we hardly touched our actual wages over the five months we were there. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am aware the laws have changed so hours and wages may be slightly different now but I hope this article was still helpful.
Have you done a ski season as a couple or individual? Do you have any other tips to share for a chalet hosting role? Or where to look for ski season jobs? Let us know!