Working (and Playing) at Ski Resorts in Western Canada
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With many western Canadian winter resorts recently unveiling their prospective opening dates, the 2021/22 ski and snowboard season is just around the corner. As excited as we are to start skiing and riding again (as I’m sure you are too), your favourite hill doesn’t just magically prepare itself for a winter full of fun. It takes a dedicated team of employees and volunteers to be ready for opening day and sustain operations through our country’s coldest months. This might be where you come in!
When you first think about employment at a ski hill, your mind likely goes directly towards ski patrollers, lifties, and ticket agents, as those are the folks who are engaging with the public each and every day. But the list of employment opportunities is as long and varied as the terrain on the mountain. Rental shops, retail services, maintenance, marketing, human resources, snow operations, instructors, transportation, food services, security, custodians, accounting, guest services, content creation, lift operations, mountain safety, and parking are all essential sectors for the seamless operation of a winter resort.
And that list doesn’t even include specialty areas that are unique to each individual hill, such as front desk staff, housekeeping, day cares, tube parks, terrain parks, guides, and more. There truly is something for everybody and every skill set.
WANT TO KNOW WHICH RESORTS ARE HIRING? KEEP READING TO FIND A LIST OF CURRENT JOB POSTINGS AND JOB FAIRS AT SKI RESORTS ACROSS ALBERTA AND B.C.
Numerous resorts are currently going through the winter recruitment process. Often the resorts lean heavily on international workers, but with COVID that option is complicated. So if you’re in Alberta, B.C. or somewhere else in Canada, and ready to work a winter job at the hill, you may be in high demand.
What qualifications do I need to work at a ski area?
Depending on the field you’re applying to, the prerequisites for employment (education, previous experience, specific skill sets, etc.) vary greatly. You also need to be legally entitled to work in Canada, possess a social insurance number and a clean criminal record check, and many resorts are now requiring their employees to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
Without a doubt though, they are looking for enthusiastic, motivated, and dependable people who embrace the mountain lifestyle and who can be trusted to represent their brand in a professional manner. Whether you’re looking to work indoors or outside, we can assure you of a unique working environment where no two days will be exactly the same.
What are the perks of working at a ski resort?
Aside from steady employment, a paycheque, and an opportunity to work in a mountain paradise, resort staff are also eligible for some delightful perks. Now, each individual organization has their own set of employee benefits, but season’s passes, discounts on rentals, repairs, food, and retail, award programs, staff appreciation parties, reciprocal resort privileges, and family/friend discount passes are all commonplace within the industry.
And if all of that’s not enough to get you started on your application you also get to work (and play) in some of Alberta and BC’s most beautiful settings!
Just watch this SilverStar Mountain Resort recruitment video and tell us working at the hill wouldn't be a dream job, right?
We can continue to sing the praises of winter resorts everywhere, but instead, why not hear it directly from dedicated employees who are presently living the lifestyle.
Ski industry professionals on why they love their jobs
John Smits, the Snow School Supervisor at the Lake Louise Ski Resort says, “The best part of my job is watching people improve and enjoy skiing and snowboarding more...and the riding!”
Veteran Heli-Ski Guide for Canadian Mountain Heli, Jeff MacPherson, had this to say, “The best thing is having the privilege to ski in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and to share that experience with guests from around the globe.”
“It is truly amazing to witness the joy and happiness people gain from a day on the slopes. Being part of that, especially during these current times, is very special to me, and has created memories that I will never forget” is how Spencer McFeetors, the Lift Operations Supervisor at Sunshine Village describes the best part of his job.
Finally, here’s Kieren Gaul, owner of Big Red Cats, describing why he does what he does, “Helping people have their best day ever. Having the opportunity to ski and ride the best powder on some of the best runs in the world.” This is merely a sampling, but if you talk to any number of workers at any local hill we’re sure you’ll receive similar responses.
So, what are you waiting for? Your most memorable winter adventure is nothing more than a few clicks away. A quick Google search will uncover numerous job opportunities or you can head directly to the source by visiting the career and employment section of the website for your favourite ski/snowboard resort. Even though it’s considered a ‘job’, it’s tough to classify it as ‘work’ when you’re having so much fun!
SKI RESORT JOB LISTINGS AND UPCOMING JOB FAIRS
Mount Washington Alpine Resort - *job fairs Oct 17 & 21
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
(Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Nakiska)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tyler Dixon is a teacher and outdoor editor for the Calgary Guardian, for which he writes a regular feature on outdoor professions, Wild Jobs.