Work and Ski Europe

by | Last updated Dec 1, 2023 | Europe live work and play, Work Abroad Backpacker Jobs

Europe is world-renowned for many of its ski resorts. A number of the resorts attract royalty and movie stars to their slopes year after year. Every snow season, thousands of people are required to fill ski jobs in Europe, so if you want to work and ski in Europe, this is great news. From ski lift operators to chalet staff to ski and snowboard instructors, the resorts require staff so they run smoothly and efficiently.

If you are looking to work a season in Europe, then in this post I will run you through the European countries where ski jobs are available so you can work and ski Europe. Plus provide information on the type of jobs available, visa requirements and qualifications required to work in the snow and list contacts so you can get a job. Without further ado, here’s how to get a job in a European ski resort this upcoming European snow season.

 

Why Work a Season in a European Ski Resort?

 

There are a number of benefits to working a season in a European ski resort.

  • You love the snow and just want to spend as much time in it as possible. Get a job in a European ski resort will afford you that opportunity.
  • Doing a season can be life changing and can become a time you never forget.
  • You will meet people from all around the world and maybe make friends you might keep for the rest of your life.
  • There are a variety of of jobs available and you could try something new, gaining skills that will help you in the future as you travel and work your way around the world.
  • Enjoy the ski resort benefits. Yep, a great reason to choose to work a ski season in Europe. Apart from being paid a free or staff discounted ski pass may be included.

 

Which European countries can you Work and Ski?

 

Snow can happen in many European countries. The most popular European countries with ski areas are Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Andorra. Within these countries are plenty of ski resorts that require staff. Have a look at the map following showing where some of the ski resorts are that you could work and ski Europe.

 

Map Of Central Europe, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland And Italy Showing Where Ski Resorts Are.

Visa Requirements to find a Ski Job in Europe

 

The legal options allowing you to work in Europe include:

  • If you are from a European Union (EU) Member State you can legally live and work in any other of the EU Member States. For more details visit the official EU website.
  • Not from Europe? don’t despair, as you may qualify for a working holiday visa or a work permit. I explain them now.

 

Working Holiday Visas for Non-EU Citizens

 

If you are from a country outside the EU find out if your country has a working holiday visa available with one of the European countries where the ski resorts are. Here’s an overview. Please note, contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate for more details and to apply.

  • Austria has a 12 month working holiday visa available for people aged 18 to 30 years from Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan. And there is a youth exchange program for Canadian citizens. 
  • France has a 12 month working holiday visa available to citizens aged 18 to 30 years from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia (4 months) and Taiwain.
  • Germany has a 12 month working holiday visa available to citizens aged 18 to 30 years from Australia, Brazil, Canada (18 to 35 years), Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan.
  • Italy has a 12 month working holiday visa available to citizens aged 18 to 30 years from Australia, Canada (18 to 35 years), New Zealand and South Korea.
  • Spain has a 12 month working holiday visa available to citizens aged 18 to 30 years from Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
  • Switzerland has a 12 month Youth Mobility Program with Canadian students aged 18 to 35 years.
  • Principality of Andorra has a 12 month working holiday visa available to Australian citizens aged 18 to 30 years.

 

Work Permit to work in a European Ski Resort

 

Work permits are issued to those who find a position sponsored by an employer. Many resorts will sponsor qualified ski and snowboard instructors to work for them as this is a specialised area. If you find an employer who will sponsor you they should take care of the paperwork. This is how many ski instructors and snowboard instructors have an endless winter – by being sponsored by employers from around the world to teach in their resorts.

 

When is the Ski Season in Europe? 

 

The European ski season runs from November through to April but this depends on the ‘white stuff’. Snow may fall early, or it may fall late and the season will be extended. Some resorts have year-round snow and are always open and require staff. During the summer months many resorts are open to cater to the mountain bike and hiking crowds.

 

Types of Jobs in European Ski Resorts

 

Ski resorts are like small cities offering many services and facilities to their clientele. Very similar to cruise lines which are floating cities. In turn, they require staff to ensure their services and facilities run smoothly and efficiently. And one of the reasons to work a season at a ski resort, as mentioned before, can simply be for the variety of work available. Jobs can include but are not limited to:
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, bellhops, drivers.
Office: reception, reservations, word processing, payroll, marketing.
Retail: sales assistants, cashiers.
Ski rental customer service, file, wax and mend skis.
Other: ski lift operators, attendants, technicians, ticket sellers, nannies, medical staff, public parking attendants, snowmakers, groomers, shovellers, rescuers.
Ski and Snowboard Instructors

 

Person Mending A Ski In A European Ski Resort.

Mending a ski – this could be you!

 

TIP: When approaching employers don’t apply for ‘any job’, apply for a specific position. This is because an employer will have a specific job in the ski resort to fill.

 

Qualifications and Experience Required

 

If you are wondering if qualifications and experience is required to work and ski in Europe – well, this will depend on the job! You can classify jobs in a European ski resort into two areas. Those that require qualifications such as Ski and Snowboard Instructors and then those that don’t. With a qualification to instruct you could be travelling and working season after season in different ski resorts around the world. Then those that don’t need a qualification usually get a job as staff working in the bars, hotels, restaurants, ski hire, selling ski lift tickets, nannying and in the retail shops. 

On saying that, having a qualification will allow you to find a specific job. This could be in hotel management, maintaining the ski equipment, child care or a medical qualification to be the resorts doctor or nurse. However, experience is often the best thing you can have to find a job in a resort. It is preferred you have some experience in the field of employment where you are seeking a position. Such as pulling beers and mixing drinks to work in a bar. Making coffee to work in a coffee shop. Waiting tables to work in a restaurant. Reception experience to check in and out guests. Knowledge how to fit boots in the ski hire shop.

Employers aren’t always interested in training travellers as they know you may only stay for one season. But, they also realise many backpackers are the ones who fill many of the jobs. Some of the luxury resorts may not consider you without extensive experience or a formal qualification however, a family-friendly resort may. Having a friendly personality is a must as you will be encountering many people from all walks of life. And you don’t necessarily need to be outgoing – many introverts get a job in the ski resorts too!

 

Do you need to speak the local language?

 

If you are wondering if you need to speak the local language to get a job in a ski resort well, it will depend on the resort. Many of the resorts may require you to speak the local language however, this can depend on how much interaction you will be having with the visitors to the resort. If you are checking guests in in a French resort with a clientele that is mostly French, then yes, you would need to speak French. However, many nationalities visit the ski resorts and so speaking a variety of languages, including English, German or Spanish will help you get a job. And if you are working in a kitchen with limited contact to visitors then not speaking the local language wouldn’t be a hindrance.

 

About the Work in a European Ski Resort

 

All people who come to the resorts in Europe to work and ski come because they want the chance to ski almost every day for five months on some of the best slopes in the world. Now the skiing has to be fit in around the work which can be hard with early starts and late nights. All the while never losing your enthusiasm or your smile, even when you’ve skied until nightfall and danced until dawn! But remember, you are there to work and need to balance your work and play, otherwise, you may not have any work. And without work, your play in the European ski resort may come to a halt.

There can also be different stages you will go through during your time working a season in Europe. There is the initial excitement about working in the snow. Mid-way through the snow season you can get ‘cabin fever’ if you are in a secluded resort. This is why some employers provide a week off during the middle of season. Lastly, you can be sad with the season coming to a close. And possibly frustrated if the snow continues to fall but you want to move on.

 

What’s included for you if you get a job?

 

If you get a job you will receive a wage for your work. Some employers provide accommodation, usually with other staff and you may get meals while on duty. You may also be given free or reduced cost ski lift pass and free or reduced cost of ski rental equipment. A uniform may also be provided for you to wear while on duty. But it depends on the employer as to the benefits they provide.

 

READ MORE: What to Pack for a Snow Holiday

 

Shovelling Snow In A Ski Resort.

Shovelling Snow – One job you could get in a ski resort – as long as you can work and ski – who cares what job you do!

 

Where to Work and Ski in Europe – Which country? Which resort?

 

The main ski and snowboard areas in Europe are in the countries of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Andorra. Here is a quick rundown on where you could be working and skiing in Europe next season.

 

Work and Ski Austria

 

Lech Ski Village Austria. A River Runs Through Lech In Summer And Freezes Ove In Winter.

Lech, Austria – a place to work and ski

 

For skiers, Austria offers a mix of old-world charm, chalet-studded villages, lift-linked ski areas, lively mountain huts, rustic wood-panelled restaurants and exciting nightlife. Some say Austrian ski resorts have some of the best après-ski Europe has. It is also a country where hospitality is deemed as important as great skiing. In fact, Austrians go out of their way to make visitors feel at home. All this makes Austria one of the skiing capitals of the world and an exciting place to work a season. 

The Alps cover most of Austria so there are plenty of ski resorts to find work in. Some of them are world-renowned including Kitzbuhel, which is a town rather than a resort, and where you find Hahnenkamm racecourse, the most challenging on the World Cup circuit. Also world-renowned is Innsbruck where the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics were held. Contrary to some expectations, Innsbruck is not an alpine ski village but a bustling city of over one hundred thousand inhabitants. It is nestled into a narrow valley beneath rugged mountain peaks making it an excellent destination for those who seek a European experience. 

The Austrian Alps have three major ski areas: the Northern Limestone Alps, the High Alps and the Southern Limestone Alps. The Northern Limestone Alps have many natural valleys and are home of resorts such as Lech, St. Anton and Kitzbuhl. While the High Alps are anchored by the Oetztal resorts of Sölden and Obergurgl and stretch to Innsbruck. Here you will find Brenner Pass and Grossglockner famous for their road, tunnel and bridge engineering allowing traffic to move north to south and vice versa. Finally, the Southern Limestone Alps form the border with Italy and Slovenia. All these areas offer lots of snow during the European winter months. And are great places in Austria to work and ski a season.

Austria is also a year-round ski and snowboard destination. In particular, Austria attracts many professional snowboarders who train at the world famous SPC camp. There are countless halfpipes, jumps and rails, so if you love snowboarding, then you may want to consider working a season in Austria.

 

Work and Ski France

 

Tignes In France Is A Snow Covered Village In Winter. A Great Place To Choose To Work And Ski In Europe.

Bonjour Tignes

 

The French have been on the slopes for a long time. This is reflected in the fact that many of the modern French resorts have been purpose-built for skiing. This means entire villages such as Avoriaz, Tignes, Courchevel, Flaine, La Plagne and Les Arcs have been created with skiing uppermost in the designers’ minds. The result has been thousands of apartments and hotels offering visitors the convenience of walking out their door, stepping into their skis and skiing some of the most extensive slopes in the world. In addition, the après-ski life is great and the food and wine reflect France at its best. With all that is on offer to people on ski holidays Europe, there is a variety of jobs to be found in the French ski resorts to service them.

The down side to working a season in a French ski resort can be the expensive cost of living. But this can be reduced if you find an employer that provides accommodation as part of your employment package. 

France has two main ski areas, the Alps and the Pyrenees. The French Alps have some world renowned resorts including Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix, Chamrousse, Les Portes du Soleil, Les Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Les Ménuires, Méribel, Val Thorens), Saint Gervais, Tignes and Val d’Isère to name a few. While the Pyrenees are home to Bareges/La Mongie, Les Angles, Luz-Ardiden, Saint Lary-Soulan and Superbagneres/Luchon. 

 

READ MORE: France Working Holiday Visa for Australians and New Zealanders

 

Work and Ski Germany

 

Ski Bavaria In Germany. Germany Is A Lot Flatter Than Some Ski Resorts.

It’s a lot flatter in Germany – great for cross country skiing

 

Germany is a rather flat country compared to its neighbours Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland. Thus working a season in Germany and finding employment, isn’t as popular as the other European ski countries. Most employers prefer EU passport holders with at least A level French or German. For those from Australia or New Zealand without an EU passport, Germany could be a good option because of the reciprocal working holiday arrangements in place. Germany has two main ski areas. Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the Austrian border and the spa resort of Oberstdorf in the Bavarian Mountains south of Kempten. If you don’t get a job in a German ski resort you could work in the major cities nearby. Then commute to the German ski fields to enjoy them.

 

Work and Ski Italy

 

Apres Ski In Italy Could Involve A Glass of Chianti or Two. Sitting On Top Of The World.

Enjoy a Chianti or Two in the Italian Alps

 

Italy has some fantastic skiing areas thanks to the Dolomite Ranges, often considered the most spectacular ski mountain area in the world. So who wouldn’t want to work a season in Italy here? Italy also has Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe straddling the French-Italian border. Plus, the Matterhorn on the Swiss-Italian border. 

Working in an Italian ski resort will allow you to enjoy not only the skiing but the Italian way of skiing. It could be said that no one takes skiing seriously in Italy. Italians are known to enjoy long lunches between 1pm and 3pm and ski around this pleasant time of the day. It’s more a lifestyle choice! Plus apres ski in Italian resorts is quite lively and is particularly enticing to solo backpackers looking to work and ski a season in Italy.

Italy’s ski areas spread from the French border in the west to The Dolomites in the east. Languages spoken in various ski areas include French, German and of course, Italian. As many of the resorts are owned and operated by European companies it will depend on who owns them as to what language will be spoken. For instance, in the French-owned and operated resorts you would expect to predominantly find French people staying. Thus the ability to speak French would be a great advantage to you obtaining work. If you only speak English you may be luckier finding a position through one of the establishments aimed at English speaking visitors. 

There are a number of resorts including Alagna Valsesia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Gressoney, Madonna di Campiglio, Santa Caterina and Val Tournenche to name a few.  You could start your search for a job in an Italian ski resort in one of these resorts.

 

READ MORE: Italy Working Holiday Visa for those non-EU travellers looking to work a season in Italy

 

Work and Ski Switzerland

 

St Moritz, Switzerland Train Station.

Arrive in style to Work and Ski in Switzerland

 

For many, Switzerland ‘is the Alps’ and the Alps is ‘skiing in Europe’. However, only part of the Alps is in Switzerland and this part is the home of Alpine skiing. Its skiing is excellent. Resorts efficient. Tourist offices well organised. Lift systems well run and its hotels exceptional. All good news for those wanting to holiday in a Swiss ski resort. Or get a job in a Swiss ski resort. Yep, Switzerland is a popular place to go and work a season. 

Switzerland has four official languages – German, Italian, French and Romansh. It is preferred you have some basic to extensive knowledge of one or more of these, though many are employed with only English speaking skills. This is because Switzerland has resorts for all walks of life. From family-friendly ski resorts to resorts preferred by couples to budget to luxury resorts. Switzerland has it all for all skiing abilities. The apres ski in Switzerland is pretty darn good too and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars if you want to get into the party scene.

Switzerland has some of the most famous ski resorts including Andermatt, Château d’Oex, Crans-Montana, Davos, Engelberg, Flims – Laax, Grindelwald, Gstaad, Interlaken/Jungfrau region, Klosters, Les Portes du Soleil, Montreux, St. Moritz, Verbier, Villars, Wengen and Zermatt. What a buzz it would be to work and ski in Switzerland in one these resorts.

 

Work and Ski Spain

 

Work in Ski Hire. Female Attendant Helping A Skier Hire Ski Boots.

Ensure your boots fit to avoid blisters

 

Skiing is rarely the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of travelling to Spain. Most go armed with sunscreen and swim wear rather than ski suits and snow goggles! But Spain does have some fantastic ski resorts where skiers go to avoid the crowd, commercialism and extortionate prices of some of the popular resorts in France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Thus making it a cheap place to ski in Europe. And living costs will be cheaper so it is more affordable to travellers who work a season in Spain. As Spanish ski resorts attract mainly Spanish clientele being able to understand and speak Spanish will be a great advantage when applying for jobs. 

In many cases the resorts are only a couple of hours away from some of the famous beach-side resorts of the Costa del Sol. If you don’t find work in a ski resort you may find work here and then commute to the ski fields to ski. An indoor ski resort Xanadu, that is open all year round, is in Madrid so you could definitely have an endless winter even during the middle of summer if you found work here. 

The majority of Spain’s ski resorts are to be found in the Pyrenees (Aragon and Catalonian Pyrenees) bordering France and Andorra. However, there are a number of resorts in the southern part of the country around Sierra Nevada. The oldest ski resort in Spain is La Molina. 

 

Work and Ski Andorra

 

Apres Ski With Some Beers In Andorra - Known As A Partiers Ski Resort.

Enjoy the party atmosphere when skiing in Andorra

 

Andorra is a tiny principality nestled between France and Spain and takes up an area of just 450 square kilometres. It provides an alternative for a ski holiday away from the busier slopes of France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. It is famous for its duty free shopping, quality skiing and its very lively apres ski scene so if you are looking to party hard this may be the place for you. People say Andorra is the place for apres ski in Europe! Cost of living in Andorra is quite economical too. Making Andorra one of the cheap places to ski in Europe plus be a great European country to work a season in the snow.

The resorts can be found in Arinsal, Encamp, Pal, Pas de la Case and Soldeu el Tarter. The official language of Andorra is Catalan, but many Andorrans also speak Spanish and/or French. So a grasp of the local language will help you in your job search in Andorra.

 

How to Get a Job in a European Ski Resort

 

Before you begin the job search to get a job in a ski resort in Europe firstly decide on the country you want to work, then decide on the resort area. Also consider the cost of living. Would you prefer to work in one of the cheapest countries to ski in Europe or one of the most expensive countries to ski in Europe. Or perhaps the best family ski resort Europe has to offer. With these things in mind, you can then target jobs using some, or all of the following methods to get a job in a ski resort in Europe.

 

Ski Travel Brochures + Resort Websites

 

The first way I would start my search is to obtain copies of ski travel brochures. These brochures available from travel agencies provide details on the ski resorts. Plus they list the  services like coffee shops, hairdressing, ski hire, etc. they offer, as well as information on accommodation. Use the information from the brochure to target prospective employers to find the best ski resorts to work at for you. With the name of the resort area, check out their website for more information. Each resort will have their own website. Some even have a specific career portal or area where they list jobs that you can apply for. For instance, Espace Saisonnier is an office set up especially for seasonal workers to find employment in Chamoix in France. Most of the resorts have something similar.

 

Ski Recruitment Websites

 

Other ways to find employment is to visit some specific and useful ski recruitment websites. Some useful websites to find a job in a European ski resort include:

Ski and Snowboard Europe
Ski Europe
Jobs in the Alps
Season Workers
Snowseason Central

 

Specialist Ski Companies

 

Specialist ski companies that own their own resorts in Europe and often recruit to fill positions for the season include:

Crystal Holidays
Flexiski
Inghams
Mark Warner
Neilson Ski
PGL
Powder Byrne
Simply Ski
Snowcoach

 

Just turn up

 

You can just turn up in the ski resort and ask around if there are any positions going. However, you may need to find your own accommodation until something comes up. Sometimes people leave a few weeks into their employment as life in the ski resort may not have been what they were expecting. Maybe the work was too hard. Perhaps there was not enough snow. Possibly the night life was not as exciting as wanted – and employers may need to fill the position because an employee has ‘up and left’. So arm yourself with your CV and drop it off at potential employers.

 

Final words on working a season in Europe

 

As you have read, Europe has some world-renowned ski resorts. And they require staff to help them run smoothly and efficiently. If you would like to ski for 5 months while playing and working hard, then get a job in a European ski resort. If you have worked and skied Europe I would love to hear in the comments following.

 

More Work and Ski Destinations: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, UK.

 

Ski and Work In Europe PIN. 4 Images - Snowboard Instructor, Ski Resort, St Moritz Train Station And Apres Ski.

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Sharyn McCullum Sailing Through The Panama Canal With Storm Chasing Boat.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

9 Comments

  1. Natalie

    I would LOVE to do this! In fact, I’m using this post right now to see if I manage it this year! I love skiing, so it would be great if I can spend a whole season at a resort…and make money while I’m at it! Thank you sooo much for putting this post together!

    Reply
  2. Tracy

    Fantastic information! Thank you for posting!

    Reply
  3. Krista

    I’ve actually always wanted to do this! It was really interesting to read about how you can find a job in one of these resorts – thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Anja | Anja On Adventure

    This is such an informative article! Like, I am from Europe and had no idea people can apply to work in Ski resorts and ski fields! (clueless me) Loved how you separated different countries and requirements for the ones who would want to apply.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      That’s funny you had no idea that people applied to work in Ski resorts! You will find this is the norm for ski resorts around the world – USA, Canada, NZ, Australia, Japan, Scotland and of course Europe. Thanks for your kind words.

      Reply
  5. Daniela

    What a wonderful coincidence to find your post, I was just talking about working in a ski resort with a friend of mine! If I had to pick a location, it would definitely be Chamonix, France.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Now is the time to get sorted to work and ski this European winter. Chamonix in France sounds a wonderful place to start.

      Reply
  6. Travel Heal Love

    This is such a great post! I don’t know you could do something like work an ski in so many European countries! It sounds like a paradise. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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