Work a New Zealand snow season

Whenever you are in New Zealand, the ‘land of the long white cloud’, you are never too far from a ski slope so this is good news if you wish to work in one.

The New Zealand Snow Season

The season runs from June through to October and sometimes into November. The call for workers begins around January though resorts are hiring most of the year round. Most of the resorts advertise in the major newspapers or undertake recruitment through their websites.


Qualifications required – general – to work in the snow in New Zealand

It is preferred you have some experience in the field of employment where you are seeking a position, ie. pulling beers and mixing drinks in a bar, making coffee to work in a coffee shop, waiting tables to work in a restaurant or cafe, selling lift tickets, etc. Employers aren’t interested in training travellers as they know you are really only there for one season. Some of the luxury resorts may not even consider you without extensive experience or a formal qualification but having a friendly personality and being able to convince an employer you can do the work will stand you in good stead.

Qualifications required – ski and snowboard instructors

Foreign Ski and Snowboard instructors may wish to contact the New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance (NZSIA) about joining to allow them to use their qualification in New Zealand. The site also has some useful employment links.

New Zealand ski areas

New Zealand is made up of two major islands, the North Island and the South Island. There are 16 ski centres spread over both these two islands.


The main ski area on the North Island is Mt Ruapehu a semi active volcano. This huge mountain is New Zealand’s largest and most developed ski area with over 1,150 hectares of skiable terrain. Its two major ski areas are Whakapapa on the northwest slopes and Turoa on the southwest slopes and both are within a World Heritage National Park. It is about a sixty minute drive between resorts. The resort caters to 400,000 skier and snowboarder visits each year and employers around 700 seasonal workers.

Most of the ski activity occurs on the South Island where there are three major ski centres. Queenstown is the major city at the bottom of the mountains and is the heart of what is considered to be New Zealand’s premier ski region. Queenstown has been voted one of the most beautiful towns in the world, surrounded by ski-scraping mountains that are capped in snow during winter. This incredible scenery often lures tourists to Queenstown year after year. The town offers visitors an abundance of accommodation, retail outlets, restaurants, bars, etc. and at the end of a hard day skiing or snowboarding you could enjoy Queenstown’s famous apes ski. If you don’t find work in one of the resorts in New Zealand you may be lucky in this town.

Queenstown is the stepping stone to some of the best ski slopes in New Zealand. Deep power snow is common in these parts with ski areas offering outstanding terrain for all levels of skiers and snow boarders. You can easily ski three great areas: Coronet Peak is just 18km away, The Remarkables and Cardrona only some 30km away, wile some 90kms away, Treble Cone is another great ski area. Each of these resort areas require numerous staff to run efficiently.

If staying in Christchurch you can take shuttle buses to the Canterbury Plains ski fields with the best known ski slope here being Mount Hutt nestled high inside the eastern rim of the Southern Alps. Mount Hutt itself is a big bowl-shaped mountain. The steep off-piste sidewalls and the renowned South Face cater for advanced skiers and shredders.

Useful websites to find employment in New Zealand snow resorts

If you want to try other types of work after the snow season is over read our blog on a New Zealand working holiday.

About the Author: Sharyn McCullum ( has travelled extensively around the world. She enjoys immersing herself in places and discovering what they have to offer like activities, local foods, etc. She currently calls Melbourne home.

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