Find ski jobs in France
When people talk about skiing and working in a ski resort, the first place that comes to mind is the Alps. You can travel as far as Japan, New Zealand, Canada, but for the majority of Brits, the European Alps are the most popular destination for those wishing to work a winter season. The area stretches more than a thousand kilometres and encompasses eight different countries. If the Alps are the most popular ski region in the world, the favourite place to find ski jobs is France.
Why does everyone want to work in France?
location, location, location
The magnet that is French skiing is certainly felt by us Brits, with thousands and thousands of us heading out each winter to find jobs that allow us to enjoy the seasonaire lifestyle. Although the popularity of the French resorts guarantees a higher cost of living while you are out there, if you have your wits about you, there will be ways to avoid the obvious tourist traps.
One of the biggest plus points for France is its location. A short flight or long train ride (heck you could even drive there!) means you aren’t too far from home, and as a member of the EU, there are no restrictions for British nationals in terms of work permits and visas. Make sure you have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to cover the cost of any medical treatment – don’t assume you will never actually need it, you’d be surprised how many people do themselves damage while working a ski season.
Don’t expect to earn big wages in France – think more about the perks of the job! An amazing working environment that people back home would trade every day of the week. Your employer will likely provide everything you will need in terms of ski or board hire. They probably have an arrangement with the local hire place that will get you boots and skis, though you will need to take your own appropriate winter clothing. Season long lift passes will also be included as a perk for the majority of jobs.
Ski resorts in France
Choosing your working environment
Ski resorts like Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix, and Val d’Isere will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of skiing. If you are looking for reliable powder and ski conditions, slopes and snow parks that will suit all abilities from complete beginners to advanced skiers, and places with a great night life, France has it all, in spades! As winter sports attract so many tourists it is hardly surprising that numerous ski areas have become established to take their money. There are more than 350 resorts attracting upwards of ten million people a year, contributing billions of Euros to the French economy.
Types of ski resort in France
Occupying a large chunk of the Western Alps, France has every type of resort you can imagine, but is perhaps most famous for linking resorts together to create huge ski areas. Examples include the Paradiski and The Three Valleys.
Mega resorts – attracting the most tourists, they are found at higher altitudes where snowfall will be more predictable and reliable and will allow the tour operators to extend the season at both ends due to early and late snowfalls. In order to attract the maximum number of visitors, each ski area will have plenty of interest for all ski abilities, so plenty of blue as well as black runs. The associated towns will have more hotel beds, and there will be more restaurants and bars. This means more staff to keep the resorts ticking during the season.
Example resort: Tignes. Resort altitude 2000m. Capacity 30,000 beds
Small to medium resorts – tend to be quieter, sometimes more picturesque, and attract more in the way of families and French tourists. Resorts in this category may target beginner to intermediate, or intermediate to expert skiers – certainly worth thinking about if you plan to take a ski job off the beaten track. On the up side as far as we are concerned, a resort of this size is likely to give you a feeling of being in France, rather than on the side of a mountain that could be anywhere in Europe.
Example resort: Le Corbier. Resort altitude 1550m. Capacity 9000 beds
Requirements for ski jobs in France
rules and regulations
- You may be looking after British guest most of the time but you are still living in France, so the ability to speak at least a bit of the language is often a benefit if not a requirement.
- Some jobs will have age restrictions. If your job requires you to drive you will need to be +21 for insurance reasons.
- Make sure you have a UK bank account and that you have a national insurance number. It is cheaper for British companies to pay you this way so most of them insist upon it.
Types of ski jobs available in France
As we have already said, French resorts attract as many as ten million people. Chances are, if you wanted to go and find work as a plasterer or a dentist you’d be in with a chance, but the bulk of jobs in France will fall into the following broad categories:
Chalet jobs in France
Chalet work covers many areas of expertise, from cleaning to customer service. You’ll almost certainly need to know how to cook if you are looking after a smaller chalet that does not have its own kitchen staff. We aren’t talking about a quick round of sandwiches either; in a catered chalet guests will expect a substantial breakfast, often lunch, and a full three course meal every evening. If you and your partner have customer service and catering experience between you, chalet couples are in demand.
Perhaps the easiest type of ski work to obtain in France is bar related. Clearing tables, collecting jars and serving drinks is the type of work that will see a steady turnover during a season as people do stints while passing though. The hours also mean you have a decent amount of the day free to do as you please, though you may be pretty tired if you are expected to work into the small hours of the morning. This type of vacancy may be ideal if your job in France is designed to give you as much time to ski as possible!
Childcare staff in France
Almost the opposite end of the spectrum from bar work, while you are looking after little ones you aren’t going to be drinking, and you are going to miss most of the day while other people are out skiing. If you enjoy working as a nanny then there are plenty of jobs available and the pay is comparable to similar jobs here in the UK.
Hospitality and Catering jobs in France
Another broad category but the most commonly advertised catering job is that of the chalet chef. Qualified and experienced chefs, prepared to cook at altitude and run their own kitchen with little help from anyone else, are in high demand. You can expect a reasonable salary, but precious little time out on the piste.
Drivers / Maintenance
We’d love to know the history behind this, but for some reason, these two are generally requested of the same person. As well as driving guests to and from the chalet or hotel, you will be called in to fix any problems with the fabric of the property. You will have to be fairly flexible in regards to your hours of work and the type of work will require you to be a bit of a jack of all trades. Obviously a clean driving licence is also a must. Although you could find yourself with plenty of free time, being on call means you may have to cancel any plans at short notice.