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Skiing, life, the universe - help?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yes I did search. Yes I did find, but what I found was either old, or not actually all that helpful with regards to my question, so here's another skiing for life / prioritising skiing and work thread! (It's better than continuous rants about how fat / thin / stupid our skis are getting duel.gif  ).


I've just started my penultimate year of university... in the UK (problem number one) and have pretty much come to the conclusion that unless my work is either directly in the Ski industry, or in a ski area, then I won't consider it worth doing. 


Which gives me until the Summer of 2014 to ensure that I've got enough work experience on my CV to make a permanent life in the mountains a reality. As of now I'm unsure what exactly I'd be interested in, so I'm just asking for any tips with regards to what skills and abilities / work experience come in most handy as far as the industry and resorts are concerned. I'm doing a history degree (which, before you laugh, is probably one of the more / the most respected humanity to be studying in the UK), which does give me a decent chance with pretty much all sectors except for those that are purely science orientated. 

[EDIT] 

Following JoeUT's input I thought I should add this:

I'm currently applying, on my own and through my university to pretty much all managerial and admin schemes / experiences / jobs in my area, in which I already have a small amount of experience.
Otherwise, the techy course is supposed to make finding entry level work a little bit easier, but I am really interested in tuning, gear and manufacture in general.

 

I'm not really a hospitality/catering/let's-be-fucking-nice-to-everyone kind of guy, and I think that's the only direction I'm not interested in.

[Edit over]

 

I'm not too fussed about money, skiing is priority number one after a bed and a shower. Nor am I opposed to being a ski bum for a few years. Sure, in the long term I'd like a bit of money, but just to be clear, I'm a little bit odd (in the head)  - Skiing is *the* priority, it has always been so, and it will always remain so. I daydream I'm skiing pow whilst walking anywhere, whilst I'm waiting in line I start leaning on edges that aren't there, it's all I think about and all I have thought about for the last few years. That is to say that children will not - ever - get in the way of it.

That last paragraph was just there to disparage the 'Get a decent job first and then think about how you'll go skiing', or those 'you'll think different later in life' comments. I'm skiing. Don't even mention the 'F'* word.


So yes, any tips on what sort of dry-land work I should apply for, employers in resorts or any part of the industry are looking for, would be very, very appreciated. I spent a lot of my summer volunteering with several Snowsports charities, attending a ski technicians course in November and am fluent in German, so I guess those are already a couple of things that'll help, but they're only a start. 

 

 

Cheers for any help,



Lukas

 





*Family    


Edited by Lukas - 9/28/12 at 1:40pm
post #2 of 14

Way too general. You don't give any clues as to what types of work you're interested in, experienced in or good at. There's no magic bullet when it comes to finding work in a ski town, and you have one of the most generic degrees out there.

 

So here's a question: If skiing has been priority number 1, why did you attend college in the first place? Did you have any specific types of jobs in mind during your time there?

 

Frankly, unless you're working on a specific degree geared toward the industry (ski management, hospitality, product design, etc.) or at least with a bit of application (PR, environmental studies, engineering, etc.), your degree isn't necessarily going to help all that much.  Resort towns are full of entry level jobs that don't require a degree, and I really don't see a history degree as giving you an inside track on any particular type of job. I was political science - same thing.

 

I would say that your fluency in German/English could be an asset. Since you're a history major, I assume you're comfortable with writing. There are a ton of German/Swiss ski and outdoor companies that want to break into English-speaking markets, and they need people that can translate websites, marketing materials, user guides, etc. Not sure that there's necessarily a career path there, outside of in a greater marketing/copywriting role, but it's something to consider. Pretty easy to find potential clients/employers, too: Find German/Swiss ski industry companies with no English option on their websites or rough, poor translations.

post #3 of 14

Great post, I am in a similar situation myself.  Can't say that I have too much information about our predicament though unfortunately.  One thing that I would encourage you to think about is that days spent WORKING on the hill is not necessarily directly related to days spent SKIING on the hill (at least from what I have heard from people in the industry).  Nevertheless, the opportunity to have skiing be your job, in whatever capacity, is certainly very appealing.  Hopefully some people with more expertise and experience with this question will chime in.  

post #4 of 14

Not sure if you’d want to limit yourself to the ski industry specifically. Keep in mind that 90% of those jobs are seasonal and aren’t exactly positions that will fill your bank account with $$$. It’s pretty pricy to live in the Telluride/Aspen/Park Citys of America.  Is that something you want that badly? It’s awesome to have that mindset of “IM SKIING NO MATTER WHAT”, but the cost of gear, seasons passes, and the high standard of living is  going to smack you in the face sooner rather than later, and you need to be confident you can afford the dream.  

 

If you’re absolutely focused on working for a big resort company, Vail Resorts and Intrawest have their corporate headquarters in the Denver area, but it’s pretty intense competition to get in. I’d start there.

 

Just set yourself up in a major city near the mountains and you’ll be good. From cities like Denver, Sacramento, SLC, Portland and Seattle, you’ve got some real top notch options within 2 hours. 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks so far, just a few quick clarifications on top of my edit...




Quote:
"Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Way too general. You don't give any clues as to what types of work you're interested in, experienced in or good at. There's no magic bullet when it comes to finding work in a ski town, and you have one of the most generic degrees out there.

 

So here's a question: If skiing has been priority number 1, why did you attend college in the first place? Did you have any specific types of jobs in mind during your time there?

 

Frankly, unless you're working on a specific degree geared toward the industry (ski management, hospitality, product design, etc.) or at least with a bit of application (PR, environmental studies, engineering, etc.), your degree isn't necessarily going to help all that much.  Resort towns are full of entry level jobs that don't require a degree, and I really don't see a history degree as giving you an inside track on any particular type of job. I was political science - same thing.

 

I would say that your fluency in German/English could be an asset. Since you're a history major, I assume you're comfortable with writing. There are a ton of German/Swiss ski and outdoor companies that want to break into English-speaking markets, and they need people that can translate websites, marketing materials, user guides, etc. Not sure that there's necessarily a career path there, outside of in a greater marketing/copywriting role, but it's something to consider. Pretty easy to find potential clients/employers, too: Find German/Swiss ski industry companies with no English option on their websites or rough, poor translations."

 


I was never under the illusion that the degree would be great help in the resort, what it will thoroughly help with is actually getting the work experience placements whilst in the UK, those placements should make applying to ski companies, resorts etc. somewhat easier (such as management and admin experience).
That's the whole point of this thread, I need to know what, besides what I've already said I'm doing or applying for, will help me get a foothold in the industry. 

@Eastskier: Good point, but I'm pretty sure that working in the mountains will provide me with more time skiing than not working in the mountains, even if it's only a couple of hours a day, it'll be every day.

@COBllsFan: I think that's a little bit easier to do in the US & Can, which I doubt I'll get to (unless you know some underground ski-green card marriage company??), obviously living in one of the bigger cities in the Alps would still be doable for me, although I imagine finding the right job, with the right hours, in the right country, in the right city could be a little bit more difficult than aiming straight for ski companies, resorts etc. ???
 


Obviously, if I'm wrong in my assumptions, let me know, I'm mainly asking because most epic threads tend to bring out ideas I haven't even thought about, no matter how painfully obvious they may be.




Lukas

post #6 of 14

What industry is it that you're trying to get a foothold in? And don't say the "ski industry," because that's way too broad. What specifically do you want to do?

 

Fact is, no one here is going to be able to tell you what it is you want to do. And without knowing exactly what you want to do, there's not much insight as to how to prepare.

 

Reading your latest response, it sounds like you would rather work for a ski company than work in a ski town. The fact that you don't want any type of hospitality jobs limits your options in a resort town, so it sounds like you should be focusing on working at a shop/manufacturer/marketing firm/etc. But you need to figure what type of work you want to pursue in that setting. And while managerial experience is great, you should focus more on getting market and job-specific experience based upon whatever your end goal is. Managerial experience may come in handy later, but you're not all that likely to get hired as a ski area/manufacturer manager straight out of college with a history degree and a year of admin experience.

 

Or you could just be a ski bum, take whatever work is available and convenient and focus on skiing. It sounds like you're walking the line between the two and trying to get answers from strangers that only you can provide.

post #7 of 14

I would advise you to speak with some people actually in the industry.  Not just on here but in person.  They will surely be your best bet.  Also, make sure that you are pursuing a job IN THE INDUSTRY because you like the business side of skiing (or whatever side of skiing you choose, maybe engineering, etc.), not just because you like to ski yourself.  If you work on the business side, you will be dealing not only with skiing, but with business as well.  So if you do not like business or do not have a business mind, even a skiing job in business is probably not right for you.  Most ski salesmen probably love to ski, but they also like SELLING, or being a salesman.  Make sure the nature of the work fits you, not just that it deals with skiing.

post #8 of 14

Think Switzerland, Germany or Austria.  They have major cities near skiing, and as it turns out, most of them sprechen Deutsch. 

 

If you can get a job with a ski manufacturer, great.  Otherwise, you're still in the Alps, and that does not suck. 

post #9 of 14

good for you that you already spent time and effort volunteering and/or working as a tech.

 

My advice is beggers can't always be choosers.  So if it comes down to it, you may need to take what you can get to hold you over until you have another opportunity.  

 

I would leverage those contacts you have already made to see what job/any job you qualify for that's related and can do and expand your network from there.

Unless you have multiple opportunities and solid offers to choose from sometimes you need to just take what you can get, rather then writing off this that or the other thing.

 

This is not exactly a "get a job" and do skiing on the side; but more of a get your foot in the door and leverage the contacts you make.

post #10 of 14

I shared a lift at Squaw with a guy who was professionally in some demand in the ski industry.  He was a master welder.  I think he spent more time on a snowmobile than skis, though.

post #11 of 14

From what I've seen, people that make a decent living in the ski industry always have a background that came from some other industry or other type of work.  Vail resorts is hiring IT and marketing people with 4-6 yr degrees.  I guess you'd really have to get into the management team at a resort to make any sort of decent money.  Like everyone else here says resort towns have plenty of low paying low skill jobs but is that what you want?  I grew up in a resort town and it is not an easy life.  You make sacrifices to live in a place where people spend all their money to go on vacation.  Sometimes it is better to live somewhere that you can get a job and type of work that pays for you to be on the ski hill every weekend.  I guarantee you those people working at the resorts scanning your lift tickets definitely wish they were you some days.

post #12 of 14
Identify your skills, because no matter whether you're working in a bike/ski shop or on the business side of a ski manufacturer, that's what will sell you. Nobody is going to hire you full time because you love to ski, although that might get you over the tipping point if your skills are the same as another applicant's. Identify characteristics, knowledge and experience you can sell to an employer. Better if you can back up a claim that you're uniquely qualified for a certain kind of work. I've gotten a lot of jobs doing stuff I'd never done because I was good at specific types of organizational skills, am in general a good communicator, can stay calm and grounded under pressure, or because the mid-level manager hiring me liked jazz or wished he'd been a park ranger, too.

Make two lists: things you're good at and things you like to do. Get it all out on paper. The first one may be the hardest for you, because you want to skew the results toward skiing and nothing but skiing. However, there are things about being a skier, or a skilled skier, that are useful: commitment, ability to focus on your skills and identify priorities, sheer geekiness if you're a gear nut. Then there's what school has taught you skill-wise: you're a good writer, a musician, an adventurous learner, you love researching anything, you're talented at organizing thoughts or concepts or paper or gear, you complete all of your tasks, you're able to solve abstract problems in a new or unique way, you love rebuilding machines or bicycles. Chances are you don't enjoy doing all the things you're good at, but there will be a lot of overlap, and whether you enjoy them or not, skills are what employers want, right behind having a personality that will fit the task at hand and satisfy whatever personnel issues they think they need to address.

As others have said, you need to find out what kind of jobs people in the "ski industry" or related businesses have. And think about 'related' businesses, because if they cater to the ski industry, you might find something that's structured to give you lots of days on the hill.
post #13 of 14

Wouldn't exactly utilize your history degree, but seems like an English/German speaking technician working in a ski shop at an Austrian or Swiss ski resort favored by Brits would be a good place to start.  Maybe you could move into management of the shop after a few years.

The other thing your slightly loner/grump personality seemed suited for is slope groomer if you don't mind working the evening shift, allows for morning freeskiing:

  http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/extreme-jobs/2098682

post #14 of 14

Some arbitrary thoughts to think about;

 

Outside of certain degree requiring jobs (i.e. medical doctors, electrical engineers, etc), something like only 20% of college grads use their degree; the specific degree, not that they have one.  The degree is to show that your trainable, can learn complex things and have at least some discipline.  If I look at my own career field, Program Manager (specifically for Operation/Manufacturing) and look at my peers, we have the following degrees: chemist, electrical eng, mechanical eng, BA and MBA, JD, S/W eng, aeronautical eng, and a couple don't have degrees.  None of those degrees are required to do the job.  We all have the same title, similar pay and fairly interchangeable.  Some degrees might make different aspects of it easier.  Probably the most important skill set in my field is people skills and the ability to get people to do the things that they don't really want to do.  Might also explain why the lawyer that works for me is currently fast tracking on a brilliant career.  The point is, unless you want to work in a specific field like a Veterinarian, the degree probably doesn't matter.  I will say that counter to this, even in my field, we prefer to hire folks with technical degrees over folks with a liberal arts or literature type degree.  We also are a "pay for performance" business so even if you have degrees out the wazzoo, you might not advance much (explains the guy with the PhD in Engineering that is still sitting in a cube and the guy without any degree in a nice office).  My boss is a mechanical engineer by college degree.  In almost 30 years, he's never really held a position that required it.

 

Trying to get a job in the ski industry so you can spend more time skiing, doesn't always work out.  It's like thinking if you get a job in a theater, you'll see more movies - not gonna happen.  Remember, the ski industry is active when you want to be skiing.  You might want to consider a job that gives you the freedom and time off you want and is in the location you want - IF your main priority is skiing.  Lots of folks in these parts that work the winters on the slopes are in construction type trades that tend to slow down in the winter. As mentioned above, working nights leaves you the days free to ski.  This though might be difficult for someone that is college age because it interferes with party time.  There is also weekend shifts but that changes from location to location.  We have folks that only work Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 12 hour days and are off the other 4.  Works great for some.  Many can't stand it as many events and family gatherings are on the weekend.

 

JMO,

Ken

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