Plenty of time for skiing when you work and ski Australia
When you think about Australia you think of sunshine, beautiful beaches and the never-ending outback. Now add great ski fields to the equation. What you say, ski resorts? Yes, ski resorts. There are some high mountains in Australia that get plenty of snow offering winter sports. Many Australians and overseas visitors enjoy these ski fields every snow season. And the resorts need staff to ensure all the visitors enjoy themselves. So if you love the snow and want to work a snow season in Australia, read on. In this post I will give you the lowdown on how to find a snow job in an Australian ski resort.
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Why Work a Ski Season in an Australian Ski Resort?
Well, why not is my answer! Every winter thousands of people of all ages head to the snow in Australia to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and the apres ski! There are a number of reasons why you would want to spend a whole season there.
- Have extended time to enjoy the snow
- Meet new like-minded people
- Gain valuable work skills and experience
- Make contacts to work and ski in other countries like Canada, Scotland, New Zealand or in Europe.
The Snow Season is When?
The snow season in Australia officially begins on the June long weekend (Queens Birthday weekend – usually the second weekend). It ends on the long weekend in October (Labour Day long weekend – the second weekend) but this does depend on the white stuff. Yes, this is the Southern Hemisphere winter we are talking about when the Northern Hemisphere is in summer mode. This means you will have a solid 4 months of snow time, maybe more in the Australian ski season. Most of the resorts are open year-round to cater for the hikers and mountain bikers that visit during the warmer months but minimal staff are usually required.
High season is most of July when there are school holidays. Expect to work long, hard days during this time however, you still will get plenty of time for riding your board or skiing too!
What and Where are the Ski Resorts in Australia
Australian Ski Resorts are mostly found in NSW and Victoria – map reproduced from Live Work and Play in Australia
The mountains where you find the resorts are in The Great Dividing Range, the highest part of Australia. It was formed millions of years ago when two tectonic plates, the Australian plate collided with parts of South America and New Zealand and were pushed against each other forcing them upwards. Now, the Great Dividing Range is the most extensive mountain range in Australia being some 3,500km in length. They provide great hiking, mountain biking and in winter time – skiing and snowboarding.
Some say the snow in Australia isn’t as good as elsewhere in the world. Well there aren’t as many high mountains in Australia as say, Europe, so runs can be shorter. Plus the snow tends to be wetter and heavier than other places in the world. But any good skier or snowboarder will adapt to the skiing conditions. And these things make a season working in The Australian ski resorts unique.
The premier ski resorts in Australia are found in Southern New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC), with some in Tasmania. Check out my map which shows you where they are.
What Jobs are Available in The Australian Ski Resorts
The positions available cover a broad range of skills but are mostly in and/or related to the hospitality industry. You have two options, you can work for the mountain or you can work for a private organisation at the mountain. Jobs include:
- 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
- Hotels and ski chalets: housekeeping (chalet staff), front office, room service and bellhops;
- Office: reception, reservations, word processing and payroll;
- Retail: sales assistants and cashiers;
- Other: ski-lift operators, attendants and technicians, ticket sellers, nannies, medical staff, public parking attendants, snow-makers, groomers and shovellers, rescuers. Also medical staff and childcarers are required.
- Ski and snowboard instructors.
How Much Will I Earn?
Ski resort jobs in Australia pay competitive wages. Each job will vary slightly but you can expect to earn the minimum wage of between $19-$23 per hour plus penalty rates for working at night, on weekends and on public holidays. Plus there are perks of the job.
Perks of the Job if working for the Mountain
There are a number of perks when working for the mountain, Including things like:
- Free ski pass
- Free or discounted lessons and rentals
- Discounts at the resort owned restaurants, bars and shops
- Events and parties for staff, including themed nights out, race days and dinners
- Access to employee housing
If you gain a job working for a private company your biggest question will be, will I get a free lift pass? Some employers don’t include one as they can be expensive. But instead you may get accommodation included along with your salary.
What about Accommodation? Where Will I live While Working a Season?
Good question! If you work for the resort you will probably have access to employee housing. Expect to be sharing a room with another employee in a house share or hostel type of situation. Rent may or may not be deducted from your pay each week so confirm this before hand. By no means is the accommodation 5-star but the main thing when doing a ski season is the people you live with. So long as everyone gets along you will have a great season.
Qualifications to get a Snow Job in an Australian Resort
It depends on the job as to whether you need to be qualified. Many employers take on people with a ‘can do’ and ‘happy to learn’ attitude on the job mentality however, having skills that match a job will stand you in good stead. For instance, barista skills to work in a coffee shop, retail experience to work in ski hire, office skills to work on reception.
Some jobs though you will need to be qualified. Doctors, chefs and ski and snowboard instructors. Foreign ski and snowboard instructors wanting to instruct in Australia should contact The Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors APSI www.apsi.net.au to see if your overseas qualification is recognised in Australia. Note: APSI is not a recruitment agency but can advise contacts on who may be hiring. Many of the resorts will sponsor qualified ski and snow instructors to fill the demand not filled by local instructors.
Working holiday makers are very welcome to work in the Australian snow resorts. Read more about an Australian Working Holiday here.
When and How to Apply for a Job
Applications for ski resort jobs in Australia open early February each year and close in April. If you miss this cut off don’t worry, as you can still apply for a job up until the season. Most employers like to have their staff in place for the beginning of the season however, many drop out in the early weeks as sometimes the job isn’t what was expected. Plus, if the snow is really good, employers may need more staff.
Before you apply for a job firstly, choose the resort you wish to work in. Once you know where you want to work, you will be able to apply for a job. Jobs can be found on the mountain (meaning the resort) and with private organisations, such as the small businesses on the mountain. To apply for a job on the mountain check out the websites following.
TIP: if you don’t mind where you work, register and apply for a few resorts. Also apply for a few positions and see what you get shortlisted for.
A great way to discover where you might like to work is through the ski brochures available from travel agents. Inside the brochures you will find a lit of the runs, the services there and accommodation options. There is no harm in contacting the businesses mentioned in the brochures directly.
How do you find a Job in the Australia Snow Fields?
- Answer ads in the newspapers and on social media
- Employment websites like Seek and Indeed
- Through the resort websites – see those mentioned following.
- Snow travel brochures
- Contact Employment National (Australia’s national employment service). To work in the NSW slopes contact Cooma Employment National (02) 6452 1788 Jindabyne Employment Service, Razerback Plan, Gippsland Street, Jindabyne 2627, (02) 6457 2190. For work on the Victorian slopes try Wangaratta Employment National on (03) 5722 1477
- Arrive and simply ask
- Pick up a copy of Alpine News and Snowy Times which provide information on what’s happening in the ski areas.
Thredbo has the highest ski lift according to this!
Here’s a little about each resort to help you choose where to work.
Thredbo is Australia’s number one year-round alpine resort. It has the longest runs in the country. It employs about 200 people full-time and about 750 when the snow falls. Thredbo has a great acres ski scene within its cute village with over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes. There’s also plenty of shopping and an indoor aquatic centre. Apply for Thredbo Jobs here https://www.thredbo.com.au/about-thredbo/jobs/#snow-thredbo.
Perisher Blue incorporates four mountain resorts with over 3000 acres of skiable terrain. You have Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggins and Guthega. It employs some 140 permanent year-round staff that swells to 1300 during the snow season. While there are some dining facilities and accommodation at Perisher, the village is small and most visitors choose to stay in Jindabyne. Many workers also choose to work and find accommodation in Jindabyne too. However, will usually ride the Perisher Ski Tube to work on the mountain. Apply for Perisher jobs here. https://www.perisher.com.au/perisher-jobs
If you miss out on a position at either Perisher Blue or Thredbo you might be lucky in the town of Jindabyne which is the largest town in the area. There are a number of places here where you can begin your job search. There is a noticeboard at Nuggests Crossing outside of the IGA Supermarket. Another option is to contact Snowy Staff www.snowstaff.com.au at shop 34b, Nuggets Crossing, Tel: (02) 6457 1950 and register with them.
Some online resources to find a job in the NSW Resorts include:
- Jindabyne Job Guide
- Jindabyne Notice Board
- Thredbo Notice Board
- Looking to Live Around Jindabyne
- Perisher Valley Job Guide.
There are three main Victorian ski resorts. Most workers live in the base villages eliminating the need to drive to work like you do in the NSW resorts.
Falls Creek is about a four and a half hour drive away from Melbourne. The last hour up the mountain is extremely windy. Falls Creek is located entirely above the snowlike and cars are not permitted in the snow-filled village making it a pedestrian-only village. The resort is a one-stop village for the season, meaning everything is on the mountain – accommodation, supermarket, shops, eateries, skiing – yes everything. Workers usually stay on the mountain or at nearby Bogong Village or Mt Beauty and travel 15 or 30 km respectively to the resort each day. Employees usually live and work on the mountain. Apply for Falls Creek Jobs here. https://www.fallscreek.com.au/employment
Mt Hotham is about a five and a half hour drive away from Melbourne or a short plane trip. Mt Hotham is at the heart of the Great Alpine Road region. Along with Hotham’s range of snow sports Hotham Village offers a massive array of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and accommodation making this a great place to find work. Apply for Mt Hotham jobs here. https://www.mthotham.com.au/discover/more-options/employment
Mt Buller Alpine Resort is only a three hour drive from Melbourne making it a very popular weekend getaway for Melbournians. It rises to an altitude of 1805 metres above sea level and is one of Australia’s best all-season alpine resorts. There are about 7000 beds available at the resort in hotels, commercial lodges and clubs with the resort hiring around 800 winter seasonal staff. If you don’t secure work in the resort you may secure work in the town of Mansfield about a 45 minute drive away. Apply for Mt Buller jobs here. https://bullerjobs.com.au
Lake Mountain is Australia’s premier cross country ski resort and very popular with families. Lake Mountain is about a 2 hour drive east of Melbourne. It does not have any on-mountain accommodation, just a ski hire shop for clothes and toboggans. Many families come here for snow play. If you don’t secure work here try the nearest town, Marysville which has pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, ski hire and a variety of accommodation.
Some online resources to find a job in the Victorian ski resorts include:
- Falls Creek Staff and Locals
- Falls Creek Ride Share
- Carpool to Falls Creek or Mt Hotham
- Mt Hotham Community Page
- Mount Buller Community Board
- Mount Buller Job Search
- Mt Buller Ride Share
Other Snow Resorts in Australia
There are also smaller resorts in Australia where you can find a job. Charlottes Pass in NSW for instance and down in Tasmania at Ben Lamond.
The Reality of Working a Ski Season in Australia
I don’t want to burst your bubble before you start your job in an Australian ski resort but. The romantic notion you may have of working in a fantastic job, skiing and snowboarding to your heart’s content and partying every night may not be what you expected. Here’s some home truths.
- Hours can be very long and hard
- There may not be as much snow as you were expecting – so a lot of the snow is man-made
- You may get cabin fever – yep, snowed in!
- You may never have been this cold before, so wear appropriate clothing when you go out.
- Expect hefty prices. Particularly food as all food is trucked in. If you want to leave the mountain with your hard earned cash, be frugal. Check out my recipe website – Travellers Fare – Recipes for Backpackers and Travellers.
- You need to survive the drinking culture – every night is a drinking night and no matter how bad the hang over is, you need to make it to work. No-one can drink every night and make it to work, I suggest pace yourself, break it up and give yourself some nights of chilling!
Good Luck in Finding a Ski Resort Job in Australia
So, there you have it, my lowdown on how you can get a snow job in an Australian ski resort. If you have done a season or are planning to do one, I would love to hear about it.