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Working at a Ski Resort in New Zealand?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of maybe working next summer in New Zealand just for the experience. I'd love to have the opportunity to ski over the summer too! I'm just not sure where to apply, any recommendations on which resorts to work at? or just general experience in skiing over there?


Thanks :)

post #2 of 18
It would probably help if you mentioned what type of work you're hoping to find, and also what sort of skiing experience you're looking for.

The bigger, more commercialised resorts (with more seasonal jobs going) tend to be clustered in the Southern Lakes region of the South Island, plus Mt Hutt in Canterbury, which is probably the closest of these ski areas to an actual city (Christchurch), and the volcanic centre of the North Island (Mt Ruapehu). Of these, Hutt and Ruapehu tend to have the longest seasons, or at least, they tend to run a bit later -- well into October, and even November sometimes for Ruapehu. But if you're after more of a party or social scene, the lakes area resorts are probably your thing.

Then there's a second tier of smaller and/or less developed commercial ski areas which run up the centre of the South Island (Ohau, Roundhill, Mt Dobson, Porters, Mt Lyford and Rainbow) which all have their unique charms -- though none are near big towns (unless you count Porters with an hour's drive from Christchurch). Some are in fact quite remote.

Finally, there are the club fields (mainly in Canterbury, though there are two in the North Island also) which are generally cooperatively owned and managed, no-frills back to basics skiing. I wouldn't imagine they'd be your best bet for a job and somewhere to live (of course that depends what work you're looking for) though you'd certainly have the most uniquely New Zealand experience there.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey turtle thanks for the response smile.gif

Well I'm hoping to do a gap year over in New Zealand before I transfer to a university, I'm more concerned with having a good experience, meeting the locals, and experiencing New Zealand culture. As far as the ski experience that I'm looking for I'm just looking for a chance to be able to extend my ski season past april. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to work, I'm pretty good with anything dealing with customer service or hospitality. 

post #4 of 18

In all honesty you have probably left it too late for this season. Competition for jobs is usually quite fierce and the recruitment process starts early in the year


This link http://www.nzski.com/employment/NZSkiJobs.jsp  is for NZ Ski recruitment (which owns and operates Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, (in Queenstown) and Mt Hutt). Having a quick glance, there are very few jobs still being advertised (and all need experience and many specific qualifications and the closing date is in the next week or so. Treble Cone has already closed and they do not accept applications after the closing date. Cardrona (between Wanaka and Queenstown, but closer to Wanaka) recruitment is still open http://www.cardrona.com/mountain-employment.html  but closes in a few days.


For most places before you apply you need to have a valid work visa approved, the best information will be on the Department if immigration site http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/work/workingholiday/unitedstatesofamericaworkingholidayscheme.htm


but basically, assuming you are between 18 and 30 years old, of good character and health then you should expect the process to take about 8 weeks. Also, be aware that you need to have a minimum of $3500 to $4000 USD in cash / bank account, a return ticket and comprehensive medical insurance, so you need some funds behind you before you arrive. Chances are that you will need to draw on these funds if you come to Queenstown, in particular.


Good luck with your applications


Edited to add this is a ink to one of the numerous companies that hire staff in Queenstown. I have no affiliation to them or knowledge of them, nor have I had any dealings with them, but the summary of what to expect is pretty typical - there are heaps more sites like this out there if you google "working in Queenstown" 



Edited by Ski Kiwi - 4/25/13 at 8:44pm
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Oh I'm actually looking for work not for this summer but the following, in 2014. But thanks for the links, I'll be sure to look into those websites when I start applying!

post #6 of 18

Oh, that's much better, it gives you heaps more scope and time to get prepared. Sorry I assumed that you meant this summer because that is what often happens.


It would be worth having a  look now, so you know what they are looking for, most have good faq sections and at least one has a recruitment video. All will have a system where you can subscribe to updates so you know when applications are going to open. Also if you have an idea of what area you want to work in then you might be able to do some things over the next year that will help you stand out others in the application process.


If you're looking at a gap year where you get  to ski and party, then it's probably best to look at NZski in Queenstown for a ski area job, or if you are looking for a more laid back, place where you will integrate more into the community then look at somewhere like Wanaka.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

No I wish I could head over there this summer but then I'd quite literally be a ski bum because I need to save a little before I go haha. I live 45mins away from Lake Tahoe so next winter I plan on working up there as a lift operator or ticket checker just to get some ski resort experience in general, and plus living in Tahoe is a perk itself! Its going to be pretty tough though to choose between Queenstown and Wanaka because both look like pretty awesome places to stay, but I suppose I should first focus on where I can get hired ha. 

post #8 of 18

What Ski Kiwi said was pretty spot on, I lived in Queenstown for 4 seasons, and it's such a cool place. NZSki isn't the best company I've worked for in terms of wages, but if you're just looking for a pass and some fun, they're a great option. If you have some experience in customer service and a season behind you in Tahoe, it shouldn't be too tough to find a job. There are lots of other businesses in town you could work for as well. Ahh, thinking about it makes me want to go back!


Wanaka is kind of dull in comparison to Queenstown, but TC has probably the best skiing. 


Not sure about the 8 weeks to get the WH visa, when I applied for mine I got it that same day, but maybe it's stricter for Americans. 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Jim did you live at resort or in Queenstown? I'm just curious where I should look to find somewhere to live

post #10 of 18

You cant live at the hill...they are up the mountain (unless working at a club field). 30-45min drive.   Everyone lives in town (Methven, Wanka, Queenstown are the main ones on the South Island). 


You wont likley find anywhere to live until you arrive.  Takes a few days.



Key thing, as it seems you have no experience, is to get your own visa ahead of time.  The "1-day" visa that Jim spoke of, is very common, but as far as I know, you need a written job offer for that...and that is for certain jobs like ski instructor.

Edited by Skidude72 - 4/26/13 at 2:00pm
post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

You cant live at the hill...they are up the mountain (unless working at a club field). 30-45min drive.   Everyone lives in town (Methven, Wanka, Queenstown are the main ones on the South Island). 


You wont likley find anywhere to live until you arrive.  Takes a few days.



Key thing, as it seems you have no experience, is to get your own visa ahead of time.  The "1-day" visa that Jim spoke of, is very common, but as far as I know, you need a written job offer for that...and that is for certain jobs like ski instructor.

Actually my sponsored visas tended to take a little longer and involved an interview, my first, working holiday, visa I just applied for online without a visit to an embassy, showed the printout at immigration in NZ and got the visa there. I don't know if it's different for U.S. citizens though. 


Yeah, you need to live in one of the towns, the ski hills are just ski hills, not resorts, no accom or anything apart from a day lodge. As SD says, it's hard to find housing ahead of time, in Queenstown you just need to arrive in late May, book into one of the hostels and get the local paper as soon as it comes out. You'll probably find some housemates at the hostel as well. 

post #12 of 18

...and don't forget the Australian ski resorts with on mountain accom and the various clubs (1 star to 3 star) who are often looking for a resident 'manager' to keep an eye on the guests.

post #13 of 18

I am in a very similar situation.  I was originally planning on heading down this summer but it turned out to be a bit too costly for me this year.  Please feel free to PM me if you have any interest in collaborating.  I have a few great connections for housing and employment near Queenstown and Wanaka. 

post #14 of 18

The 8 weeks is the  conservative recommendation on the immigration NZ website, but Jim is right it probably won't be anywhere near that length of time.


I did my gap year in Queenstown a long time ago and it is a great  place to spend a year. I still get to both Wanaka and Queenstown at least once a year and both Wanaka and Queenstown have grown a lot in the last few years. But where Queenstown has 50 or more bars, you are looking at more like 5 in Wanaka (by the way you will find that a lot of socialising happens at bars (pubs) - the drinking age here is 18). But there is also heaps more to do - both Queenstown an Wanaka (and all other ski towns) are below the snow line so don't have permanent snow in winter - you'll get some but it will be gone in a few days - so many of the summer activities continue in the winter.


As everyone has said the biggest issue you are likely to face is accommodation, it's tight, very tight - there aren't things like employee housing generally, it's house share/flatting - my tips would be that you want to stay central if you can. There is public transport but it's not that great and I'm pretty sure that it isn't free.


And consider following up with hippieflippinNM re connections etc - things like rental accommodation can be more who you know/word of mouth - many places are not let through rental agencies and being young is generally not an advantage. And some places have a summer and winter crew (e.g. rafting guides in summer and ski field staff in winter who swap each year)


Get in early, there's a small window between seasons where you might have more choice.


Travel light - you might have to move a couple of times before you find the right fit / place (NZ houses are not renowned for insulation or central heating - don't expect either) - this is really common in Queenstown,

post #15 of 18

fyi if you come across the Ditch to Oz:


'here are still some roles available across the mountain including last minute vacancies in our reservations centre, Hotham Holidays, for FT and PT consultants. We’re looking for good computer skills, an understanding of customers and a friendly phone voice for these positions. holidays@hotham.com.au'


("Like" Ski-in Victoria on fb where a few positions pop up for  resorts in the State of Victoria which have on-mountain lodging as part of the package.)


PS Currency Exchange has the AUD worth about 3% more than a US Dollar, but NZ is about 25% less than the AUD and USD. I think you'd make more money in Oz and be on-mountain above the snowline in a village full of co-workers.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks HippieFlippinNM! I'll definitetly keep that in mind when I get closer to next year! Maybe we can make a new thread on here later on and try to collaborate with others who want to do the same thing?


Accommodation is probably the thing that makes me the most nervous...


Veteran I was actually considering Australia over NZ but I heard the skiing was better with the kiwis haha. However I'm not ruling out Australia as an option, any resorts that you recommend applying to? 

post #17 of 18

Hey HippieFlippinNM 


If this year in NZ  is still an option Temple Basin is looking for a director of ski school - and we are still in the grips of a massive early season storm, so it's looking like a good season.




Temple is pretty laid back and "rural" - you have to be versatile and easy going, but if you are in to that sort of thing it is a magic place with some great skiing

post #18 of 18

New Zealand is getting some snow.  Stoked for you!


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