Powder-obsessed skiers and snowboarders have plenty of options when it comes to funding their days on the slopes. Unfortunately, the barriers to entry at many ski resorts – narrow housing choices, high cost of living, limited job opportunities – often make it tough to find open jobs, much less time on the mountain. But there are still several places where your binding-setting skills can earn you a solid wage, health insurance, and yes, a season pass. While you could hope that your Instagram influence keeps you in five-star hotels in Gstaad or Chamonix all winter, you’re a lot better off looking for work at one of these five resorts.
It only makes sense that one of the largest ski resorts in North America is also one of the biggest creators of ski resort jobs. While Vail’s corporate headquarters are in Broomfield, Colorado, the actual resort – all 5,289 acres, spread across four peaks and 193 runs – employs huge teams of people, most of whom have come to ski or board its vast terrain all winter. Vail’s job portal lists hundreds of open positions, ranging from ski instruction, to lift operation, to food service. The corporate culture may not be ideal for every skier or boarder; but powder days in Vail’s gorgeous back bowls make dealing with a slightly buttoned-up atmosphere well worth it.
Some of the best mountaineers in the world come to the Tetons to ski and ride; and fortunately for you, they need people to tune their skis, prepare their food, and drive them to the heli-skiing outfit. Although it might be a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, Jackson Hole provides abundant employment opportunities for those skiers and snowboarders who want to huck Corbet’s Couloir with the knowledge that they have adequate health coverage. The resort itself has glowing reviews from former employees, and is one of very few places with obtainable, employer-provided housing. Additionally, Jackson has a thriving downtown area, which makes it a great place to find not only cheap après drinks, but also solid employment opportunities.
An out-of-the-way gem in the Cascade Mountains, Steven’s Pass is a longtime favorite of skiers and riders in the Northwest. And judging by its near-perfect rating on Indeed, it’s also highly regarded amongst its own employees. The Washington ski area was recently acquired by Vail, so there will likely be some growth and streamlining coming soon. According to the resort’s job portal, there are over 50 open jobs in Steven’s Pass. A major benefit to the new ownership is you’ll be provided excellent benefits, including access to a number of different ski areas. A downside to the resort’s small-town vibe is housing availability is going to be slightly limited compared to larger resorts. Fortunately, the cost of living is reasonable, crowds are scarce, and most importantly, powder is plentiful. Bonus: Steven’s Pass offers night skiing and riding – so even if you’re scanning lift tickets all day, you still have the opportunity to get some runs in when the sun goes down.
There aren’t many large ski resorts as accessible, in terms of finding housing and employment, as Winter Park. Located a couple hours west of Denver, the family-friendly resort is one of the most underrated ski areas in the Rockies, offering up over 3000 acres of terrain. Job competition is far less fierce than you’ll find at the Aspens and Whistlers of the ski world. Also note that if you’re looking to move the whole family to a ski town, Winter Park is the perfect landing spot. In addition to onsite employee childcare, perks for resort employees include 401(k) plans, retail and food discounts, and free access to dozens of other ski resorts in North America. Take advantage of the fact that you can ski or ride a world-class resort, with 167 runs, serviced by 25 lifts, and not have to remotely manage a large hedge fund to pay for it.
It’s not a surprise that the resort known as the ‘Ski Capital of the East’ is one of the best places to work in the United States. Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort employs over 500 people, who come from all over to cash in on the area’s 240”+ of average annual snowfall. Amongst Stowe’s listed open positions are guest service rep, lift mechanic, and vacation planner. Even if you don’t work for the resort itself, there are a number of jobs available in Stowe’s historic downtown. After a day of skiing or riding, you can stroll into work at one of the many inns and restaurants that line the gorgeous, snow-covered New England streets. No matter what you do for the season, though, the odds are good that you’ll finally be able to actually pay for that pair of Black Crows you’ve been eyeing.