Ski season top tips
Essential ski season advice
A complete guide to the do's and don'ts of a ski season.
Ok.... so I did two ski seasons in Tignes, Espace Killy, which is a ski area in the French Alps. This is a PARTY town so be warned!! I worked for ski total in the beautiful chalet pictured. Being a chalet host was so much fun, I skied 6/7 days a week, cooked delicious food (which I also got to eat) and met some amazing people. The work is hard but worth the effort because your company pay for your transport, accommodation, food and the all-important season lift pass! They will even pay for your ski rental if you need it. You also earn tips which makes for some great beer money, and all of your pals work the same hours and you all live in shared accommodation. Again this is hard work, but it also gives the best experiences. We shared nap times, tears and laughs in that bedroom!
My second winter I worked in a French ski shop and got my own private accommodation. This experience was totally different. I got paid a decent wage but had to pay for everything else myself. It cost a lot more but I felt as though I truly lived in the mountains. I felt more at home and the locals tend to respect you more as they see ‘seasonaires’ who work for the companies as a bit annoying (as they are such party animals).
I would recommend working for a company on your first season because it’s a cheap way to get out there are learn the ropes. When I say a company I mean a tour operator such as ski total, ski world, Mark Warner, Crystal, alpine elements. Independent jobs would be working in a ski shop, in a bar, in a restaurant etc. I came back with money from my first season as you also get a bonus if you stick the season out. Then you can find an independent job in resort much easier the next year. The downfall of working for a company is that you have less independence. The companies keep a control on you and your behaviour within resort (to an extent). Tignes is a glacial ski in ski out resort so it tends to get the best snow. I also lived in Morzine which is much lower (1000m compared to Tignes 1800m).
Here’s some questions we thought might be useful to know the answer to:
1. Would you say you need to be able to ski or snowboard to be able to go?
No, you can get lessons out there and after 20+ weeks of skiing none stop you’ll get pretty good! You can often get discounted lessons as a worker.
2. Do you prefer skiing or snowboarding?
I prefer to ski because I’m faster on skis, but I do love boarding too. It depends what the weather is like or who I’m riding with... if you’re with a bunch of skiers it’s better to ski.
3. Best advice you’d give to someone thinking of doing a season.
This would be my advice; I would highly recommend working for a company on your first season because it’s a cheap way to get out there and learn the ropes. I would also say expect to be tired, and to get the mid-season blues at the end of Jan/start of Feb when everybody gets tired and home sick. Remember that it’s normal and the experiences you have and people you meet make it all worth it. Bunker down with your new best friend, watch some movies, ski, go for some drinks and you’ll be ok a week later.
Yugen Explore’s top 5 ski destinations
It’s a hard choice, but here’s a few recommendations if you’re wondering where to go on your first, or next ski trip:
- Japan; Niseko and Hakuba
- America; or more specifically our favourite would be Colorado
- French Alps; Tignes based on Kirsty’s recommendation
Have a great time skiing or doing a ski season, make sure you've got the right gear and stay safe!