The perks are pretty much as stated in previous posts. They vary by area. Where I worked, the minimum part time commitment was 20 days per season. When I wasn't married, I worked any time I wasn't at my "regular" job, which was as much as 50 days per season.
The perks also included a locker, boot dryer and ski storage at the base. I never wore ski clothing off of the resort, and I rarely dragged my equipment anywhere except occasionally to ski somewhere else. Early morning clinics before the public was on te lifts were also included. Doing high-speed screaming arcs on well done fresh corduroy when there's no one else out there is a kick in the pants. Occasionally we'd have a powder morning. We weren't allowed to track up anything visible from the bottom. Sometimes, the clinic would be led by the SSD, a PSIA Natioal Demo Team member at the time. The combination of powder and the SSD usually meant we tried to get in as many runs as possible before line-ups. ("Warm-up??!? We don't need no steenking warm-up!!") Skiing with him was always a humbling experience.
The biggest perks are teaching, top-notch clinics, and a huge support group for your habit.
If you don't care for teaching, don't start. You will teach never-evers. You will pick them up. You will deal with complaints about the weather, the equipment, friends or relatives who dragged them to the ski resort, hangovers, and, in some areas out west, altitude sickness. Where I worked, many veteran instructors with full certification and years of experience regularly taught never-evers, because they enjoyed it and because that's where they thought they made the biggest contribution to the sport.
I will never forget the very overweight farmer's wife from Iowa who informed me at the beginning of the lesson that her husband insisted she come skiing, she didn't want to be there, and she wanted to go into the lodge as soon as possible. Two and a half hours later, she came down the novice run in full control, turning 'em both ways, and giggling. She was, for that moment, one of the best skiers in her never-ever class, and she had a great time. Did I convert her into a lifelong skier? No. For her, it was a once in a lifetime experience that will always make her smile.
A possible downside is that, as I got better at it, I got less and less free skiing. I was always assigned a lesson, either group or private.
Never forget that it is a Real Job. You have to show up on time, you have to be absolutely reliable, you have to keep your guests happy, and you have to be professional in both appearance and action. You have to do the reports to keep track of your work and you have to manage your schedule.
I should also point out that once you're a member of the club, the critique of your skiing will get a lot more brutal. You will be expected to raise the bar, and you are no longer a paying guest whose delicate ego needs to be preserved. If you ski with the grace of a mature bovine, a clinician will tell you. In detail.
Edited by jhcooley - 9/26/13 at 1:12pm