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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Working at a Ski Resort: What Job is Right for You?

By Claire Botsy

Working at a ski resort offers you more than a free pass to ride the mountain. There are a lot of different jobs available for you if you're considering making the jump to full time ski mountain man or woman. Of course there are perks to every job depending on what you want to get out of your winter season - here's a review of the various jobs at a ski resort.

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Ski Instructor: One of the highest paying jobs on the mountain, but that’s usually after a few seasons, getting certified, and establishing regulars. While getting paid to ride may seem awesome, there are also days when you may not even strap in to your board. Ski schools have many departments and you may work the boot room the entire day or serve food to grubby little kids.

Rental Department: Working anywhere on the mountain entails being ready for fluctuating work schedules, but working rentals requires a very easy-going demeanor. From being slammed in the morning at opening to having no business for four or so hours and getting slammed again with returns as people come off the mountain, the rental department deals with a lot of change. You gain knowledge of equipment in this department and learning to tech skis is a valuable skill.

Demos: Get ready to deal with some of the most cash heavy customers on the mountain. Sure, you get to work with the best equipment that is on the market, all the newest and shiniest tops and bobs, maybe even get to ride them yourself. Knowledge of equipment and knowing how to set someone up with the best ride possible makes this job fun for anyone who loves talking bindings and camber on a daily basis.

Season Pass/Lift Ticket Office: If you are not a snow-junkie and do not want to ride everyday, maybe just once in awhile, then working in the confines of a warm, computer-run, office is best for you. Season pass office deals with lift tickets of all kinds. Be prepared for the unprepared customer who was not aware of the jump in prices since 1975. These positions demand that you are sympathetic to the customer and want to get them the best fitting offer possible, from the local park rat to the weekending family.

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Lift Operations: On sunshiny days when the warmth of the sun allows you to wear sunglasses instead of a ski mask you will praise your choice of best-job-on-the-mountain. The majority of the time though, you have to deal with people using other people’s passes, kids falling off the lift, and shoveling snow, lots and lots of snow.

Maintenance: This department requires cruising around the village and resort at all hours of the day making sure everything is in ship shape, which includes picking up trash of course, but also interaction between several different departments.

Park Staff: Do you ride park everyday regardless of the conditions? Would rather a perfectly sunny day lapping the park over a pow day? Know how to make your own kickers and how to hit a box of any shape or size? Spend the day (and night) maintaining the park and changing it up as you please as a member of park staff, remember, someone has to test those massive cheese slices and downhill rails.

Mountain Patrol: A cross between an EMT and an extreme rider, these guys have extensive medical and mountain knowledge. These are guys saving you from avalanches and unsafe riders alike. Mainly these guys are skiers, but snowboarding mountain patrol are becoming more prevalent.

Snow Removal: A very irregular job with, debatably, horrible hours. You take your orders from Mother Nature, so if a massive storm is coming through you know you will have to be ready at 3AM to get the resort ready for customers. If you get your sleeping pattern sorted you can get first chair after your shift!

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