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Winter season in USA

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I'm from Switzerland. Next year, my boyfriend and I'd like to work for one winter season in a ski resort in the US. Do you have any resort tips? We're thinking on Vail or Telluride...we really like a small town with a cool resort (also good for offpiste)

Edited by zimel - 11/5/11 at 3:28pm
post #2 of 10

Consider Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, Crested Butte if having a town is important to you. There are others, including some Canadian places like Fernie that might go on your shortlist. I hear good things about Whitefish, MT; sure you'll get lots of replies here...

post #3 of 10

I think the issue will be getting the card to allow you to work.  I know there has been a big cut in the number of foreign workers here since the economy tanked.  There was a point a few years ago where all you can to do was leave steam on a mirror and you had a job.  There were a ton of "imports" then.  However, with the current rate of unemployment, we've seen a huge reduction in foreign workers.  If you go to Whitefish's web site now, it says:




International Applicants 

If you are an International Applicant, please note that we only accept J1 visas for the US. We do not accept H2B visas. The visa must be arranged by the applicant. 

Whitefish Mountain Resort works in cooperation with Intrax Work Travel. Please visit their website at for more information on how to apply to work for Whitefish Mountain Resort.


Also, I don't know about Intrax, but some of the housing and amenities that were promised these workers in years past have been atrocious.  We've seen stories about substandard housing and lack of money for food.  2006 article2007 article, another 2007 article, 2008 article2011 (more upbeat), another 2011 article.


Current sample ad

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Is the unemployment that high? Also in the ski resorts? In Switzerland, you always find a job in the resorts. And yes, the visa will be a challenge. There's an agreement between Switzerland and the US with which we can get a "stagaire" visa, a special work visa for just a couple months. That's why we're already planning...And if we don't find a job, we just come for pleasure (also good:-)

post #5 of 10

Around here (Flathead Valley in Montana), they are thrilled that we finally blipped under 10%.  One of the three worst counties in the state.  I can't speak to other ski areas.  

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh thanks, always good to know. Let's hope that it will become better...

post #7 of 10

I am not sure Vail would fit your criteria as a "small town."  Vail/Beaver Creek/Avon/Eagle/Edwards area is pretty good size, not like a big city but a lot more developed than most ski areas.  It is also one of the more expensive ski areas in terms of lodging, meals, etc. Were you focused just on the Rocky Mountain and western parts of the US?

post #8 of 10

In Colorado,

Telluride is a good choice actually. It is a small town/city.

Crested Butte is good

Steamboat Springs also.


All these places are fairly remote. Is that OK or do you want access to a real city as well?


If so, you could choose Winter Park/Mary Jane. Tabernash is a close by town that has a nice community. It is near Rocky Mountain National Park and near Grand Lake. Would be less of a purely resort experience.


The other thing you might consider is the Lake Tahoe resorts. There are both small town experiences as well as the Gambling big town of Reno near by. And it's very beautiful.


Finally, there is Taos, NM which is a small town and a very cool resort, but the town is a real town, not primarily a resort town which would give you a more authentic experience.

post #9 of 10

Mom's list is good, but I would add Aspen at the top.  Most expert skiing and backcountry access in Colorado,  along with a really nice, old mining town.

Aspen used to have tons of Swiss. Former Swiss racer, Stephan Kaelin had a chain of shops and a clothing line and he always brought over bunch of Swiss kids to work. 

Stephan's last shop closed last winter, but there are still a few of his prodigies around.

If you have a visa, you can always find a job in Aspen. Housing may be an issue, but it's better than it used to be.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Wow, you're great. Thanks for the helpful tips...Now, we have to choose - or find a job somewhere and just go there :-)


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