It is a common dream. Lots of people want to live and work at a ski resort, and have first access to all of the best powder days of the season. But how realistic is this dream? How much do ski jobs actually pay? Let’s take a closer look.
Overview of Ski Jobs
The stark reality of ski resort jobs is that, in general, they pay very low wages. It does vary state by state, as minimum wage is different by state. Additionally, housing costs can be tough to deal with, and even employee housing isn’t all that cheap or available. Many people who move to a ski town to get a ski job are well aware of the low pay, and hope to get some kind of skiing incentive (such as a season pass for employees) thrown in. That being said, certain jobs do pay better than others. So here, in no particular order, are 7 of the most common ski jobs, and what you can expect to make working in that profession.
#1: Lift Operator
This job is typical of many positions at ski areas. It pays minimum wage, which generally ranges from $11-12 per hour. Many resorts supply their “lifties” with passes for their off days. You will also deal with frustration, though, as you dust off the chair for all those people having the best powder day of the season while you work.
#2: Ski/Snowboard Instructor
A ski instructor is paid based on experience. The average hourly pay ranges from $10-21. Most resorts require certification, which involves classes, trainings, and an exam.
This job has different responsibilities, ranging from working at hotels to cleaning crews at Airbnb’s. Most positions in this industry hover around minimum wage, $11-12 per hour. Scheduling can be tough to optimize your skiing habit, as well, as most housekeeping work is done right in the middle of the day.
This job has a considerable advantage: tips. The base pay is usually minimum wage (again, $11-12) at or near a ski resort, but if you are good, and personable, the tips can really juice up your pay. The schedule you can arrange for skiing can be ideal, as well. Go hunt for powder all day, hunt for tips at night.
#5: Ski Tuner/Technician
Ski tuners and technicians have a pay range of $12-15 per hour. Many technicians have the option/requirement to work late afternoon and evenings, which can be good for your skiing schedule.
#6: Food Preparation
The restaurant industry has a wide variety of jobs available, from bussers and dishwashers (both minimum wage), all the way up to managerial and sous chef positions. The more responsibility, the higher the pay. Most of the people you see milling around the restaurant at the ski area or town are being paid $11-12 per hour, but managers and sous chefs can rake in an average salary of $39,394 per year. Again, this varies quite a bit based on the restaurant and the ski resort. One bonus to this industry is free meals are often included with these jobs.
#7: Bus/Shuttle Drivers
Bus and shuttle drivers for ski towns and resorts have a challenging job, lugging guest’s skis and putting chains on the shuttle, but are paid a higher rate than many others on this list. The average range is from $12-15.25 per hour. Flexible scheduling is available at many resorts.
There are a lot of benefits to living a skier’s life: camaraderie, adventure, an outdoor lifestyle, and more powder shots than anyone around. Unfortunately, the pay is not usually one of those benefits. If you know the average amount that ski jobs pay, though, it can completely be worth it.