If you're a snow lover and can't stay away when the flakes start to fall, you probably know that spending winter in the European Alps can be expensive - unless you have money coming in, that is.
Why not pay for your snowbound winter by working in a ski resort and getting your hands on those employee benefits - like cheap or free ski passes?
This month, September, is when you should be job hunting, and the nine surefire tips below mayhelp!
Women on the Road News: Contents for Issue #10
- 9 Tips for Snowgals: Snagging a Ski Job in the Alps
- What's New on the Website
- Travel News for Backpacking Women on the Road
- Cause of the Month: When Travelers End Up in Prison - Unfairly
9 Tips for Snowgals: Snagging a Ski Job in the Alps
1. Inventory your skills.
You may be aiming for one of the more 'glamorous' jobs, but so will others. Do you have special or offbeat skills? Are you a juggler, DJ or spa therapist? How about a fitness expert specialized in sports injuries? Many upmarket resorts hire entertainment or specialized staff to keep guests of all ages healthy or amused. A relative of mine even made a decent living as a photographer in Zermatt.
2. Brush up your languages.
English is great for ski resorts. But if you speak a few words of French, Italian, German, Spanish or perhaps Russian, you'll have an even better chance. You don't have to be fluent - just a few words while serving in a bar or restaurant will go a long way.
3. Dust off your qualifications.
Are you a certified nanny? Wine expert? Ski patroller? Cordon bleu chef? These will serve you in good stead at ski resorts - get an edge over other less qualified applicants.
4. Start early.
Most jobs are sewn up several months before the start of the season, so if you haven't started job hunting yet, do so right away.
5. Find a good agency.
A number of agencies specialize in seasonal or ski resort jobs and take care of everything from recruitment to insurance coverage. If you have a European passport, try Natives, Ski Jobs UK, or Anywork Anywhere. If you're not European, you can try BUNAC, or try resorts directly.
6. Show up.
That's right, just show up. Potential employees drop out and change their minds, and resorts have a hard time filling slots at the last minute. If you knock on doors at the very start of the season, there's a chance you might get hired on the spot if someone else has left a vacancy unfilled. This also goes for non-EU citizens. While it will be much harder, there is a chance that a desperate hotel or restaurant left in the lurch by a no-show may give you some work, or even try to get you a temporary work permit.
7. Use your friends.
Do you know anyone who has worked in an Alpine ski resort? Find out where they worked, and if they left on good terms, ask them to recommend you.
Join forums and discussion groups. Some popular forums include Snowforum or Season Workers. Get to know people who do this regularly. Ask questions. In many cases, ski workers are repeat staffers - they either renew from one season to the next, or they go on to the next resort. What better way to find out what's happening than from others who have done it before you?
9. Check out the websites.
This is probably a no-brainer, but we sometimes overlook the obvious. Most resorts have websites. Sometimes they're quite extensive - and may include job offers. If they don't, they'll have plenty of details, including phone numbers and addresses of potential employers. Or, try one of the 'all-inclusive' ski resort sites, like Ifyouski.
Enjoy the slopes!
What's New on the Website
Pro-poor tourism is no different than other types of tourism - except that a major portion of your travel dollars benefit the poor rather than ending up in the pockets of multinationals back home. Make sure your spending also helps the local population!
Teaching English in China
Teaching English is a tried and true way of earning money while you travel and with China's millions of potential English speakers, demand for English teachers is rising by the day. If learning about China is on your wish list, there are few better ways of doing it than by living in the country for a few months.
Best African Safaris
An African safari is the trip of a lifetime. Organized or independent, spending a few days viewing increasingly rare animals is a memory that will stay with you forever. It certainly has for me.
Travel News for Backpacking Women on the Road
Haiti and Colombia: The Next Best Destinations?
Hard to believe? Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet, writes in The Independent that Haiti shouldn't be dismissed. Perhaps, but it all depends where you go. As for Colombia, did you know there are at least ten reasons why it might not be as dangerous as you think?
Top 10 European Countries with the Cleanest Beaches
According to Tourism Review, these are the EU countries with the cleanest beaches - number 1 is the cleanest.
6. United Kingdom
3000 Patrol Italy's Cities to Fight Street Crime
Non-stop flights use less fuel
Cause of the Month:
False or Unfair Imprisonment
When we travel, we don't usually think we'll get arrested - but it does happen. It's terrible not to trust, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. So each time I get near a border, I'm particularly careful with my backpack, and never leave it in anyone else's care.
Many jailed travelers have been caught doing something illegal. Equally, however, innocent backpackers fill prison cells. They are accused of 'trafficking' - usually because someone planted drugs on them - or perhaps they unwittingly did something illegal. Even those who have knowingly broken the law may not deserve to spend years jailed in wretched conditions while awaiting trial.
If you'd like to know more about helping travelers who have been unfairly or abusively imprisoned, the following resources may help. It's not often a trip turns into this kind of nightmare but if it does, those behind bars need every possible friend.
Australia-based Foreign Prisoner Support Service
From the BBC
A story about extreme cases
How to avoid being caught with drugs
Fair Trials International
Travel Burnout: What do you do iftravel becomes too much?
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Happy travels! Leyla