Canada is known for having some of the best ski and snowboard resorts in the world. Places such as Banff, Jasper, Calgary and Whistler are universally known. So if you would like to spend time in Canada working in a ski resort you are in luck. Every year literally thousands of working holiday makers head to the Canadian ski resorts looking for work. Some line work up beforehand, while others find it when they arrive. And the good news is the resorts, from budget to luxury, need staff doing many jobs to cater for their guest’s whims. So if you are interested to find work at a Canadian Ski Resort, read on.
Types Of Positions In A Canadian Ski Resort
Most positions available at ski resorts are in the following categories:
Food and beverage: chefs, bar staff, waiting staff (including silver service), kitchen staff (dish washers, salad preparers, etc.) and fast-food service;
Hospitality: bartending, waiting, housekeeping (chalet staff), room service and bellhops;
Office: reception, reservations, word processing and payroll;
Retail: sales assistants and cashiers;
Other: au pairs and nannies, ski-lift operators, attendants and technicians, ticket sellers, medical staff, public parking attendants, snow-makers, groomers and shovellers, rescuers;
Ski and snowboard instructors.
Qualifications, If Any, Required To Get A Job
The qualifications to get work in a Canadian ski resort required will depend on the type of job you are looking for. If you are seeking a bar job then a qualification may not be required however, any experience would come in very handy. If you want to be a ski or snowboard instructor you will definitely need to be qualified. So before you start applying for jobs, consider what qualification/s and experience you have because some of the luxury resorts may not even consider you without extensive experience or a formal qualification. And arm yourself with a CV to give to prospective employers.
Foreign Ski and Snowboard Instructors may wish to contact the following about using their qualifications in Canada. Also, if you are interested to obtain a ski or snowboard instructors qualification check them out.
The Job Search For A Canadian Ski Resort Job
There are a number of ways to find work in a Canadian ski resort. Firstly, you should have an idea of where the ski resorts are. Canada is a large country and the ski resorts are widespread. You should have an idea of where you would like to work and also a job may be influenced by where you arrive in Canada. For instance, most Australians and New Zealanders arrive in Vancouver on the West Coast and find work in a ski resort in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. British and Irish citizens often find work in the East Coast ski resorts because they usually arrive in Toronto.
A great option to find work at a Canadian ski resort is to visit your nearest travel agent and pick up as many Canada ski brochures as possible. Travel brochures are an invaluable source of information. They provide maps showing where the ski resorts are. They also mention the average snowfall, the season dates, the number of runs and ski lifts (chairs, surface and gondolas) and whether snow-making facilities are used. As well as the amenities in the resort including restaurants, nightclubs, cafes and ski rental stores. Other information includes details of special events, when extra staff may be required and contact details of ski and snowboard schools. There are extensive accommodation listings detailing the type of accommodation, number of rooms and amenities offered and most importantly, the accommodation contact details. Use the information in ski travel brochures to your advantage.
Another option for finding work includes door knocking. You can use the information you secured from tourist brochures to target areas. The bigger the hotel the greater the number of staff they recruit and the more organised they usually are. Large resorts usually have their staff in place for the start of the season. Positions can and do become available anytime during the season. This is because people often leave, usually in the second or third week because life in the resorts isn’t what they expected. Also, many of the resorts are four season resorts. This means they are open all year round. So during the warmer months after the snow has melted they offer outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, fishing, rafting and the extremely popular mountain bike riding.
Some tips to finding ski work
- Be presentable, polite and well spoken. Resist the idea of arriving at a resort mid-season, with your backpack on, looking like hell after a long flight and banging on hotel doors demanding a job. This approach won’t work. Hotels are very organised and usually have their staff organised before the season starts.
- If organising a position before you arrive either ring or Email the hotel (website and Email addresses follow).
- Phone hotels if you have arrived in the area and speak to the human resources department.
- Introduce yourself and provide a brief outline of your experience and qualifications before asking when the organisation is recruiting and how they recruit. Then, offer to send your CV via email or fax or alternatively obtain the application form.
- Explain you are able to attend an interview.
When To Look For A Ski Job
The main Canadian ski season is from November/December to March/April but this depends on the white stuff. Sometimes the season starts earlier and finishes later. If you don’t have a position arranged for your arrival then it is advisable to arrive in September as many of the resorts run recruitment days to secure staff. However, as some resorts are open year round they are recruiting regularly.
What’s Included In A Job Package
Enjoy the fire at the end of a hard day’s work
A job package can, and will depend on the actual ski resort where you find employment. But in general, your job package can include accommodation, meals while on duty, a ski pass, maybe ski equipment rental and of course, a salary.
Canadian Ski Resorts
There are a number of ski areas in Canada – well there are many mountains! The most popular resorts where travellers find work are in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. However, work can also be found in other provinces. Following is a listing of resorts in the three most popular provinces along with their websites and contact details. Some websites allow you to apply for positions on-line.
Alberta is home of the Canadian Rockies where you will find some major ski resorts offering the traveller a variety of positions plus fabulous skiing and snowboarding.
Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada and one of the most popular. It is some 6,641 square kilometres and offers ski and snowboard enthusiasts a wonderful time. Within the national park most travellers find work at the major ski resorts of Lake Louise, Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village. Banff town is about an hour and a half away from Calgary by car. It has many hotels including family-run mountain lodges, budget motels and large luxury hotels where you might find work. Alternatively, try one of the many bars where skiers and snowboarders enjoy some apres ski.
Banff Mount Norquay is a main resort in the national park. The resort begins recruiting for winter staff in November. www.banffnorquay.com
Lake Louise is a major ski resort. It is a four seasons resort with positions available all year round. Winter position interviews begin in September. www.skilouise.com
The Fairmont Chateau is a huge luxury hotel in Lake Louise. www.fairmont.com/lake-louise/
The Sunshine Village Resort is another big employer in the Banff region. They hold an open day in the town of Banff in September. www.skibanff.com
Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. It is the largest city in Alberta with a population of around 950,000 people. If you miss out on a job in a resort you may pick up work in the city. And Calgary is close enough to the snow to keep up your passion of skiing or snowboarding.
Jasper National Park is vast and houses a number of ski resorts. The town of Jasper is also a good place to secure work as the town has many hotels and bars.
Marmot Basin is located in the Jasper National Park. It requires staff all year round. Marmot Basin does not provide accommodation for staff but will supply a list of rented accommodation contacts. Note that on their website they advise they have a very strict grooming policy. www.skimarmot.com
Other Alberta Ski Resorts
Castle Mountain Resort www.castlemountainresort.com
Fortress Mountain www.skifortress.com
Nakiska hosted the alpine events in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. www.skinakiska.com
British Columbia BC
British Columbia has the most and some of the biggest resorts. Whistler-Blackcomb could be a contender for the title of ‘world’s greatest ski resort’. Some of the coastal resorts are only 15 minutes away from downtown Vancouver therefore, if you don’t find work in the ski fields you could always find work in this major Canadian city. These resorts are divided into coastal, Vancouver Island and Interior BC resorts.
Only 20 minutes away from the centre of Vancouver are:
Whistler-Blackcomb www.whistler-blackcomb.com is the largest ski area in Canada. The resort comprises Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. There are three glaciers, 12 bowls and more than 200 marked pistes offering skiers and snowboarders endless enjoyment. The Whistler-Blackcomb area has over 7,000 acres of skiable area and 33 lifts with runs for beginners to advanced. Whistler Village is a major hub located at the base of the mountains and has over 4,700 bedrooms available, including family-oriented condominiums, B&Bs, hostels and luxury resorts. There are more than 200 shops within Whistler including arts and craft stores, gift shops, sport stores, rental stores and souvenir shops. Whistler is renowned for its cuisine, with more than 90 restaurants catering to many tastes. When the sun goes down the apres ski begins in the abundance of pubs, lounges and nightclubs. With all this available, this is why travellers choose Whistler-Blackcomb to seek employment. It helps there is an employment village office open all year and which holds a recruitment fair in mid-October.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Interior British Columbia
Apex Resort www.apexresort.com
Big White www.bigwhite.com
Crystal Mountain www.crystalmountain.bc.ca
Fairmont Hot Springs www.fairmontresort.com
Fernie Alpine Resort www.skifernie.com
Kicking Horse Mountain www.kickinghorseresort.com
Kimberley Resort www.skikimberley.com
Mt Baldy www.skibaldy.com
Panorama Resort www.panoramaresort.com
Powder King www.powderking.com
Red Mountain www.ski-red.com
Shames Mountain www.shamesmountain.com
Silver Star Mountain www.silverstarmtn.com
Sun Peaks www.sunpeaksresort.com
The two major ski resorts in Quebec, Tremblant and Monte Sainte-Anne are rated Eastern Canada’s best. They offer world class skiing and a unique cultural experience. For most positions you need to speak French.
Gray Rocks www.grayrocks.com
Le Massif www.lemassif.com
Mont Blanc www.ski-mont-blanc.com
Mont Garceau www.skigarceau.com
Mont Orford www.mt-orford.com
Mont Sainte-Anne www.mont-sainte-anne.com
Mont Sainte-Marie www.montstemarie.com
Mont Saint-Sauveur www.montsaintsauveur.com
Mont Sutton www.montsutton.com
Owl’s Head www.owlshead.com
Tremblant recruits around 1700 people every year to work at the resort www.tremblant.ca
As you have read, there are many Canadian ski resorts where you could find a job. And each year literally thousands of travellers arrive to be apart of the ski season. Now it is your turn.