It is little over a week since we spotted winter staff on Facebook taking a break from cleaning after the last set of guests for this season, but already ski companies will be turning their attention to finding workers for winter 2016/17.
Recruiting will begin in earnest in May but the first ski season jobs posted to our Jobs Abroad Bulletin have already been published, applied for, and maybe even filled.
Whether you want to find work in luxury ski chalets in Courchevel, a hotel job in Zermatt, or get behind a bar in Mayrhofen there is no need yet to worry that this is all a little too soon or that earning a living over the summer season is still to be considered first. Recruitment for the winter carries on into the early autumn. There will be drop outs and last minute additions to the team, but to give yourself the best chance of landing work in the Alps now is a best time to start looking at job boards and sending in your CV.
What Do Chalet Hosts Do?
The chalet girl is the seasonaire we most readily picture when we think of working on the slopes, but dispel the long outdated image of Hooray Henriettas – even if both Sarah Ferguson and Sophie Wessex are thought to have once worked as chalet girls.
Ski companies will expect their employees to put their customers first, second and third before they are able to enjoy themselves. The modern chalet host can be either male or female and as skilled manipulating a scouring pad – and perhaps a spanner – as a spatula. A unifying love of skiing is what attracts a foreign legion each year to staff Europe’s winter playgrounds, whether they be gap year students, nine to five career breakers or hard core regulars returning season after season.
Protecting the chalet owner’s bottom line means getting to know supermarket deals to create quality meals from scratch and to a budget is as important as stretching your own wages via intimate knowledge of the resort’s 2 for 1 drinks offers.
It’s hard work with early starts to make breakfast, prepare snacks and three course evening meals. Cleaning and scrubbing – pots and toilets, surfaces and the jacuzzi – make up the rest of the working day. Most chalet staff report the most important thing to do is get up on time but hosts should also be friendly, outgoing and adaptable with an eye for detail. An EU passport and a UK National Insurance Number and UK bank account tend also to be required when working for British based companies.
Most chalet staff have sole charge of a small chalet but larger chalets are often staffed by couples – usually either an established couple or two friends able to live and work together – one to cook, the other assisting and acting as “front of house”. A third role involves working across several chalets combining helping chalet hosts in the kitchen with low level maintenance duties and clearing snow. Applicants for this job should be over 21 and have a clean driving licence.
In between the cleaning and cooking chalet staff are able to enjoy the hill themselves. Wages, accommodation, food and travel expenses, along with a season lift pass, equipment hire and insurance are provided in return for the work.
Getting a Job in the Alps
Image courtesy Matt Squirrell