Work in an Australian ski resort
When you think about Australia you might think of beautiful beaches and the never-ending outback. Now add great ski fields to the equation. So if you’d like to experience working a ski season in Australia, read on.
The snow season
The season officially begins on the long weekend in June (the second weekend) and ends on the long weekend in October (the second weekend) but it does depend on the white stuff as the season can be extended or reduced if the white stuff disappears. Most of the resorts are open year-round as during the warmer months many hikers and mountain bikers visit the mountain areas.
Qualifications required to work in the snow
It will depend on the type of job you are doing as to whether you are required to have a qualification. If you want to be a ski or snowboard instructor then you will definitely need a qualification. If this is you contact the governing body, Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors (APSI) www.apsi.net.au. The website is very informative and clearly advises they do not employ instructors but can provide a list of current instructor job openings.
There are many other positions available in the snow resorts. Accommodation need staff at front of house to take bookings, cleaning staff to clean rooms and change bed sheets with the outgoing and incoming of new clients, etc. The bars, coffee shops and restaurants also require staff as bartenders, baristas and wait staff as well as chefs of varying levels. Staff are also needed to work in the hiring of ski equipment, the maintenance of the ski equipment, selling ski lift passes, child care and medical assistants.
Major Australian snow areas
Reproduced from the travel guide Endless Winter by Sharyn McCullum
Australia has two major resort areas, one in Victoria and one in New South Wales. Most recruiting for the upcoming season starts between January and April however as employers try to ensure they have staff for the beginning of the season however, positions can become available at any time to due a dumping of snow or people leaving cause the job wasn’t what they thought.
Victorian snow resorts
The Victorian ski resorts are spread in a relatively wide area North-east of Melbourne around the Alpine and Mt Buffalo National Parks. The resorts are mostly at the top of windy roads so be prepared that you will very likely not leave the village often during the season. They are between 160 and 400km away from Melbourne and include:
Mt Hotham www.mthotham.com.au is around a five and a half hour drive away from Melbourne or a shorter flight for those who wish to fly. It is Victoria’s highest ski resort and is at the heart of the Great Alpine Road region. Along with Hotham’s range of snow sports, Hotham Village has a massive array of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and accommodation options to suit a huge range of budgets. Employment information can be found on the website.
Falls Creek www.fallscreek.net.au is about a four and a half hour drive way from Melbourne. Falls Creek is located entirely above the snowline so cars are not permitted in the village so visitors either stay on the mountain or at nearby Bogong Village or Mt Beauty and travel 15 or 30 kilometres respectively to the resort each day. Employees of the village usually live and work on the mountain, giving them an opportunity to experience resort life. Available employment is listed on the website.
Mount Buller Alpine Resort www.mtbuller.com.au is only a three hour drive from Melbourne making it a very popular weekend getaway. It rises to an altitude of 1805 metres above sea level and is a great all season alpine resort. There are 25 ski lifts capable of moving 40,000 people every hour. There are around 7,000 beds available in the resort’s accommodation and a further 2,300 beds in nearby towns such as Mansfield, about a 45 minute drive away. So if you are unlucky in find work in the resort, Mansfield might be an option. Check out the website for employment opportunities.
Mt Baw Baw www.mountbawbaw.com.au is 173km east of Melbourne making this relatively small resort only a 2.5 hour drive away and thus a very popular day-tripping and weekend destination. As with other ski resorts ther is on-mountain accommodation and all the associated facilities a visitor requires including cafes, restaurants, etc. Check out employment on the website.
Lake Mountain www.lakemountainresort.com.au is a premier cross country ski and snow play area and thus very popular with families. Lake Mountain is about a 2 hour drive east of Melbourne. It does not have on-mountain accommodation making employment limited. However, employment might be found in the nearest town of Marysville which has ski hire, cafes, restaurants and a variety of accommodation.
New South Wales snow resorts
In New South Wales the ski resorts are about 500km away from Sydney (about 4-5 hour drive). Many of them are connected to Jindabyne, the village at the base. They include:
Thredbo www.thredbo.com.au is Australia’s number one year round alpine resort and employs many full-time staff which increases drastically when the snow falls. It offers on-mountain accommodation plus has restaurants, cafes, bars and ski hire where you might find work. Check out the website for employment opportunities.
Perisher www.perisher.com.au incorporates a number of mountain resorts and employs a lot of people during the ski season. Check out the website for employment details.
Charlotte Pass www.charlottepass.com.au is at 1760 metres, the highest resort in Australia and is snowbound for most of the snow season. There are no cars or buses but ski lifts are right on your doorstep. Check out the website for employment positions.
If you miss out on a position at either Perisher or Thredbo then you might be lucky in the town of Jindabyne which is the largest town nearby and which the resorts are connected to. There are a number of places here where you can begin your job search.
You may wish to contact a recruitment agency for a position in the snow. Try www.snowystaff.com.au.
Pay rates are governed by the Alpine Resorts Award 2010 which dictates minimum pay rates for those in the snow industry. Entry level seasonal rates are from $AUD18.82 an hour. You can check out the award at www.fwc.gov.au/documents/modern_awards/award/ma000092/default.htm
So if you would like to work a season in the Australian snow then you have a lot of choice of resort areas to choose from. No matter which snow field you decide on enjoy your working holiday in the Australian snow.
About the author: Having grown up in New South Wales Sharyn McCullum went to the snow fields a number of times, particular Thredbo. Now that she is currently living in Melbourne she goes to Mansfield and Mt Buller on a regular basis. She particularly enjoys snow play with her family and apres ski.