So, you have left university after three years of hard study, or perhaps you are yet to embark on that new chapter but fancy a change of scene before you do? Whatever your situation, if you are looking to gain some valuable life experience outside the confines of work and academia, then joining the ski season as a seasonal worker could be for you. |
That was me 15 years ago, and after doing my first winter season as a chalet host I was hooked! The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the skiing, and the opportunities a ski season brings are all priceless. Here is a seasonal worker’s guide to what is involved in working in a ski chalet.
Working in a chalet can seem daunting, as you are expected to work six days a week and look after anything from 6-40 people. Chalets that accommodate up to 8 people are generally managed by one host on their own, but larger chalets are run by a team that includes a chef, manager, assistant manager, and other staff, depending on the company.
A Typical Woking Day
Getting up bright and early is something you will have to get used to. I always picked up the fresh bread and croissants on my morning walk to the chalet. You will then be expected to prepare breakfast, clean up, make a cake for afternoon tea and, once the clients have disappeared for the day, you will go round the rooms and do a freshen up. There are loads of time saving tips that you will learn so that you can leave the chalet spick and span and ready for the guests to return to in the afternoon.
Setting up breakfast the night before is a good idea, as is making your cake while your clients are having breakfast. I would always get preparations done for my evening meal too, such as getting the dessert made. This all saves time so that you can get as much free time on the mountain as possible.
You return to the chalet around 6pm to prepare and serve the evening meal.
These days can be long but everyone is in the same boat and the after work relaxing with your co-workers at the local bar of coffee shop makes it worth it! Once the guests have left you are expected to clean the chalet from top to bottom. This includes changing the linen and giving the bathrooms, communal areas, boot rooms and outside areas a good clean.
Your new guests can arrive any time and once they arrive you will need to make them feel at home. Your resort rep will often come round to meet the guests and organise lessons, ski hire and lift passes.
What Other Duties Are Expected of You?
Someone in the chalet, be it you or another member of the team, needs to produce a shopping list each week that falls within the company’s budget. Shopping day requires a trip down the mountain to one of the big supermarkets. The aim is to shop for the whole week so you only have to go once. It can be quite a fun day though, as all of the seasonal workers are doing the same thing. Seasonal workers running the chalet alone are in charge of menu planning, shopping and budgeting.
Ski holidays generally run on a weekly or fortnightly basis and you usually only get one group at a time. Your main duties as a chalet host include cleaning, catering, and taking good care of your clients. You may well have to give a welcome speech outlining chalet rules, meal times, ski resort information, and information about the local area.
Spending time as a seasonal worker was invaluable to me and many of the friends I met. I fully encourage anyone thinking about taking the plunge to get on and do it. You won’t look back!
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best ski chalet accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, or tips for jobs as a seasonal worker, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the experience of a lifetime.
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