How getting a ski job has changed
For many years, I, Jim Duncombe, have worked in the UK ski industry. For a large part of those years I have worked in the recruitment department of a large tour operator and as the recruitment consultant for seasonal jobs experts Natives.co.uk. During my time searching for the best staff for ski companies like Alpine Action and helping the less experienced people find work, I gave many talks and lectures about how to get a ski job. But I never really wrote down much of my advice.
The fact that the world was missing out on a written version of my vast knowledge of ski recruitment was brought to my attention when an email appeared in my Inbox. It was from my Aunt. My cousin wanted to do a ski season and could I help him? A request that I used to get quite a lot. Back then I would call and chat through the process and explain and help, as was my job. But this time I thought I shall reply in writing.
This is the part of the email that I received that concerns this blog “Also Lewis would like to do a ski season (hopefully only one!) He is a pretty competent skier and I thought ski hosting would be a better job than some others? Would he need any qualifications and is it in fact a better job?”
I got two lines into this correspondence and decide to call and chat it through. Sadly no one was in so I replied in writing. “In regards to the ski job I will be honest and say that a.) ski hosting jobs are very rare these days… If I was going to do a season again and didn’t have the experience I would go for a Kitchen Porter role (KP). It is by far the easiest job with great hours, maximum ski time and limited customer exposure. Also the kitchen is a good place to work, you get fed better and will have a good group of people to go on the mountain with. It may not sound like the picture perfect job, washing dishes and peeling potatoes, but you won’t find a better work, ski, fun balance. If you like I can chat to him about his options, make sure his CV will get looked at and prepare him for interviews. I may even be able to help out finding him a job. It is a crowded place to get a job if you don’t have experience.”
I was quite surprised at the response I got: “Do you really need a CV to be a kitchen porter!”
I should point out that my Aunt did a ski season her self although I think this may have been before the 80’s. I believe that back then to get a job you had to have been a) a girl b) know what a cooker was and c) have the ability to ask for a job. This is most definitely not the case now. We in the ski industry take the hiring of staff very seriously.
I explained that you must now have some work experience or qualifications. I had to explain that being a resort rep wasn’t just about organising a pub crawl. That most companies including Alpine Action do require a CV no matter what the job. She was surprised to learn that we don’t just employ people with posh names or good telephone manner. I think she was most amazed about the fact that we spend most of the summer searching for the best possible staff for our chalets.
Needless to say I promised that I would pull a few strings with my old contacts and see if I could find him a job, I hope I have some friends working for Crystal still.