Your nose ring may have to go and the "dude 'tude" if you want to work at a ski resort this winter, especially with competition in this economy. Many of California's ski resorts hire in October and early November from a pool of those who successfully navigate the application and interview process. Jobs are open for ski and snowboard instructors, lift attendants, restaurant staff, tickets sales, shops, lodges, and more.
Benefits at most resorts include free skiing or snowboarding, but you've got to land the job first. Here's a hint: Resorts want you to care more about the work than acquiring a free pass.
Most resorts now use an online application process. Follow through on the complete process if you want your application to be culled out of the pile for an interview. Squaw Valley, for instance, requires follow-up questionnaires. "If we don't receive the follow-up survey, we don't process the application," Dede Carrillo, manager of human resources at Squaw Valley USA, told OnTheSnow. "Thoughtful answers on the questionnaires go along way. Answers such as ‘Because I'm awesome' don't cut it. Managers appreciate an applicant who takes the time to think about and coherently respond to the questions."
Show up for the interview acting like you want a job in customer service and looking like you're ready to work, rather than appearing like a ski bum in pajama pants. Resorts are looking for upbeat, competent employees. "Coming in with good energy and a positive attitude is really important," Jenny Howard, manager of human resources at Sugar Bowl, told us. "Casual professional attire is good. Dress one step above the uniform expectation." Check online for grooming and dress codes to know what each resort expects.
Interviews are conducted for some resorts at job fairs. The fairs allow you to garner multiple interviews with different department managers in one day. Northstar-at-Tahoe runs two job fairs, one Oct. 9 for those who want to be instructors and race coaches and one Nov. 6 for resort operations. Sierra-at-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, Boreal, and Heavenly plan to host job fairs Oct. 23. Heavenly also holds a second job fair Oct. 26. Other job fairs are scheduled Nov. 5 at Alpine Meadows and Nov. 6 at Squaw Valley.
Mt. Rose is not hosting a job fair this year, but started taking applications Oct. 1. You can apply online for most Tahoe resorts, including Kirkwood. Mammoth Mountain prefers online applications, too.