Though the sun is high in the summer sky snowheads will be counting down the days until the first snows touch the mountain tops in the Alps. But working travellers needn’t confide their job search to Europe. North American ski resorts will also begin welcoming holidaymakers in November and will have need of a temporary intake of workers from then until the end of the ski season in early April to serve beers, cook breakfasts, clean rooms, hire out skis and staff ski lifts.
Many jobs will be taken by Americans from other parts of the country but demand for staff is such that the net for employees is cast even wider, though ever tightening employment regulations provide a headache for HR managers.
The main barrier to finding a job in an American ski resort for international applicants will be getting a work visa. Vail Resorts, for instance, welcomes employees from different cultural backgrounds but is realistic in their advice that dealing with numerous government agencies, ever changing legislative regulations, and unpredictable economic conditions in the US “can make it challenging for Vail Resorts and other employers to guarantee the outcome of any visa petition.”
One option, open to students, is to obtain a J-1 Visa in advance through a Work and Travel programme such as www.ccusa.com, www.ciee.org, www.workuse.com or www.we-tag.com. As this is a summer programme South American and Antipodean students can high five each other that their summer holidays coincide with winter in the USA. Large resorts actively participate in job fairs in South America, particularly in Argentina, but also in Peru.
Applicants from the North might be able to get a 12 month J-1 visa through the Internship USA programme with IST Plus. H-2B visas are another option but it should be noted while researching this piece we found a distinct lack of companies accepting applications this way.
After using their advice above it makes sense to begin with Vail Resorts, who run 11 ski resorts across five states, with the majority of staff, 12,000 people, employed in Colorado in mountain, retail and hospitality roles.
Find employment information at jobs.vailresorts.com.
Aspen Skiing Company
Probably North America’s most famous skiing area, popularised in John Denver songs and the writings of Hunter S Thompson, Aspen Snowmass is a winter resort complex in western Colorado of four skiing and snowboarding areas on four adjacent mountains. A free four mountain ski pass is one of the perks offered to staff.
Find employment information at www.aspensnowmass.com/we-are-different/employment.
One of the biggest challenges working in an American ski resort is finding affordable housing, so a chance to be one of the 120 people housed in Alyeska’s 20,000 square foot fully furnished employee housing complex is a real boon. Located in the glacial carved valley of Chugach State Park, in Girdwood, Alaska, Alyeska Resort is a small employer compared to the two companies listed above, but still has numerous positions including bar tender, front of desk, lift operator, spa receptionist, massage therapist and retail clerk.
Find employment information at www.alyeskaresort.com/info/jobs/jobs.aspx.
Image courtesy Ridge Tahoe Resort Hotel