Working a ski season in the French Alps

I am definitely too old to do a ski season. This is what I was telling myself about a week before I started it anyway. Pushing 30, leaving a successful, professional job behind and with nearly all my friends climbing high on the career ladder, starting families and paying off their mortgages it did seem […]

I am definitely too old to do a ski season. This is what I was telling myself about a week before I started it anyway. Pushing 30, leaving a successful, professional job behind and with nearly all my friends climbing high on the career ladder, starting families and paying off their mortgages it did seem to most people around me a radical thing to do. Except it wasn’t, it seemed like the most natural and easy thing for me to do. Snowboarding is like meditation for me and I needed to clear my head, let loose a little and decide what I wanted from my future. I only looked for work with smaller chalet companies because I wanted to work for a company focused on providing good customer service and experiences, that didn’t see staff or guests as disposable and plentiful. Because I was so convinced that I was too old and hadn’t worked in hospitality since I was student (nearly a decade ago) I took the first Chalet Host job I was offered working in an 18 bed chalet with another host and a chef in Val d’isere. I was a bit concerned about this because Val d’isere is a big party resort and having spent new years week there the winter before I was afraid my liver would not cope!

Highlights and Thoughts

I absolutely love being a seasonaire in Val d'isere. The work will not seem difficult if you have ever had a full time job before, Yes there can be lots to do, guests can be demanding, you will end up picking up unsightly things off the floor and cleaning off suspicions looking fluids off shower doors but each time you look out of the window and see the mountain, the reason why you are here will remind you that life is bloody good!

Finding the right balance will enable you to get the most out of your ski season, don’t party all the time, don’t ski hard all day and obviously don’t work all hours unnecessarily. Balance those three aspects and you will have a whale of a time.

Most companies provide you with return flights to the UK.

We have 5* accommodation compared to some of the other seasonaires I have spoken to. Three of us share a 1 bed flat. I sleep on the sofa in the lounge and all my belongings are stored in the kitchen cupboards. I know this sounds ridiculous but one of my friends lives in accommodation that has been nicknamed The coffin… enough said!

I work for a great company called Ski Bonjour. They have 9 Chalets in the Espace Killy area. I have been very happy working for them. For me they have the right balance of encouraging their staff to provide a friendly, informal but very high quality service.

They are also focused on making sure that we get enough mountain time and even treated us to a staff day out in the Ski resort of La Thuile in Italy. I feel like I really landed on my feet working for them.

If you are thinking about doing a ski season stop thinking and do it. Don’t let anything hold you back. I wish I had done it sooner. Best decision I’ve ever made!

They say you cant just do one ski season but I already have other plans for next winter. I dont know maybe doing a season at 32 might be pushing it but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t already been considering my options. I have had such a great time here I would recommend Val d’isere to anyone considering a great holiday or ski season.

A standard day involves waking at 7am to be in work by 7.30am. Set up and serve breakfast until 9am. Then clean the chalet top to bottom and set up afternoon tea. We are usually finished by 11am at the very latest but sometimes guests will hang around and slow you down. Then we hit the mountain. We return to work at 7pm clear away afternoon tea, set up for dinner, serve dinner and are usually done by 10pm. Plenty of time to enjoy the night-life Val d’isere has to offer in abundance …. or go to bed with a good book … obviously I hardly ever do that !! 😉 The only day we cant ski is change over day on a Sunday. We get 1 full day and 2 half days off a week according to French employment law.

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