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TRAVEL JOBS: SKI CHALET
For those of you who don’t know, a “chalet” is a wooden, multi-level lodge found in ski resorts and towns. As a chalet host, you are expected to take care of the cooking, cleaning and service for the chalet and its guests.
Basically, a group of vacationers will rent a chalet for a week, and it is the responsibility of the chalet host to take care of any and all responsibilities.
concerning the guests. A typical day as a chalet host might look something like this:
- Wake up before the guests, prepare and serve coffee, tea and breakfast
- After the guests leave to go on their morning ski, tidy up all of the bedrooms, bathrooms and other areas of the chalet
- Take some free time from about 10-11 am until the late afternoon. Enjoy a nap, a meal or some time on the slopes (if you have the energy)
- Return on duty around between 3-4pm. Prepare and serve a 3-course dinner and drinks to the guests until around 10pm.
This typical schedule will run 5 days out of the week, with one remaining day off, and the last day as the dreaded change-over day! Change-over occurs on the day that one group of guests leaves and another group of guests arrives.
The chalet host will have to prepare and serve breakfast for the departing group, and then rush to strip and change the beds, deep clean the rooms and prepare for the arrival of the new group.
In addition to all of these responsibilities, you may also have to do some driving or grocery shopping for the chalet. Although this schedule may not seem as glamorous as what you may have assumed, there are definite perks to the job!
As a chalet host, you can expect that your employer will cover your accommodation, food and season ski passes/insurance in addition to your wage. There is also an opportunity to earn tips from each group of guests.
Chalets range in size, and so there is also some variation with the job descriptions of chalet hosts depending on the company they choose to work with. Some chalets run with a single host, while others run with large teams. If you are working at a larger chalet with chefs, drivers, etc, you may, for example, only have housekeeping or service duties. Chalets will also range in character. Those working at luxury chalets will need to provide a higher level of service. Although they have an opportunity to earn higher wages and tips, they will also be required to have experience in order to land the job, and be faced with more demanding hours and responsibilities.
Where in the World the Job Exists
Popular chalet job locations include:
- European Alps (especially in France, Austria and Switzerland)
- New Zealand
- USA (Colorado, Utah, etc.)
How to Get the Job (tips, etc.)
First things first:
you will need to create a professional looking resume. Include descriptive info such as your nationality, gender, passport expiration and age. It is important to highlight any previous employment related to hospitality/service, cooking, housekeeping or restaurant/bar positions.
Try to demonstrate that you have experience in all or many of the areas of what may be required in the very versatile position that is a chalet host. You will also want to mention your interest and experience with skiing and/or other winter sports. If you are not the best cook in the world, or would like to get a bit of practice with hosting responsibilities before the start of the season, there are training courses and classes that will help you to land a job or that will be included upon employment with certain companies.
I will not go through the details of these courses, but here is a list of example cookery/host courses which are available for purchase by perspective ski season workers:
If you don’t have the funds or ability to go to a training course…call on youtube! I am sure that there a million tutorial videos out there on anything from how to make the perfect poached egg, to ironing bedsheets, to napkin folding.
Make a list of potential chalet host responsibilities, and start youtubing your way to success! Once your have your resume in order, start applying! Because this is a seasonal job, running from Dec until April, chalet companies will begin recruiting for the upcoming season months beforehand! You will have to fill out online applications for most positions in addition to sending your resume. There are many chalet companies that post available positions on online ski-job specific employment searches.
It is also possible to apply directly through a companies website.
You can also call the chalets directly. This may help you by showing your interest, and being able to speak directly with a recruitment agent- OR- you may get redirected to their website and told to apply online. I think that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you just give a quick call, and see for yourself!
What Qualifications They Might be Looking For
For most chalet host jobs, you do not need to take special courses or have a college degree in order find work. Because of the low wage and short-term contracts, many of these jobs target students on gap year or travelers looking for a season of work- professional experience isn’t typically required.
If you were to take one of the cooking courses mentioned above, or have a degree in hospitality for example, I am sure that you would have better luck finding a job, but these are not required qualifications. Work through previous ski seasons or in the restaurant industry would also be preferred, but is not necessarily a prerequisite.
You might also be asked for proof of a driver’s license and clean driving record. Availability & Pay (is it seasonal, year-round, do they pay hourly, salary, commission, etc.) As mentioned, this is a seasonal job. The ski season generally runs from mid- November / December until April. As for pay…let’s just say that the number on your weekly paycheck will definitely not be your reason for becoming a chalet host!
Although this may not be ideal for people who are looking to earn and save a lot of money, it is a good option for someone who is wanting to spend a season in a unique and fun work environment, with the majority of their living costs covered.
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