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Long-Term Career Resorts

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

EpicSki Community,

 

So as I approach my last year of college I find myself trying to hone in on where I want to try and start, maybe finish, my career at. I know I definitely want to work at the actual resort wherever I go and not a local non-affiliated company. The reason for this is that my passion is for the mountains and people who share that passion. Getting to improve the experience for a guest who is looking to experience the same thing as me is what drives my energy and enthusiasm.

 

I currently have two summers of experience in customer service with one summer at a local luxury country club and this summer I am out in the west working at a small but well known resort in the rockies. (Name left out for hr reasons.) I would like to try and stay on the customer service side of the resort but will have a degree in marketing from a fairly good business school.

 

I am curious what resorts in the west would anyone here suggest as a good place to start and really try to build a career out of. I'm certainly willing to put in the hard work and the time to earn upward momentum but don't want to waste time with any resort or company that is more likely to hire from outside than promote from within. Information on cost of living around area is also appreciated!

 

Thank you everyone!

post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams View Post
 

EpicSki Community,

 

So as I approach my last year of college I find myself trying to hone in on where I want to try and start, maybe finish, my career at. I know I definitely want to work at the actual resort wherever I go and not a local non-affiliated company. The reason for this is that my passion is for the mountains and people who share that passion. Getting to improve the experience for a guest who is looking to experience the same thing as me is what drives my energy and enthusiasm.

 

I currently have two summers of experience in customer service with one summer at a local luxury country club and this summer I am out in the west working at a small but well known resort in the rockies. (Name left out for hr reasons.) I would like to try and stay on the customer service side of the resort but will have a degree in marketing from a fairly good business school.

 

I am curious what resorts in the west would anyone here suggest as a good place to start and really try to build a career out of. I'm certainly willing to put in the hard work and the time to earn upward momentum but don't want to waste time with any resort or company that is more likely to hire from outside than promote from within. Information on cost of living around area is also appreciated!

 

Thank you everyone!


Welcome to EpicSki!  Not sure you'll get too many comments right now.  Most people aren't thinking about skiing, at least the ones in the northern hemisphere.

 

Sounds like you are thinking about major ski resorts, as opposed to small ski areas.  For some reason your question reminded me of a May 2016 article on SAM with comments from managers of small places.

 

http://www.saminfo.com/current-issue/item/49-the-challenge-of-being-small

 

You are asking quite a different question than the OP of this thread.  But you may be able to pick up ideas related to different locations and the difficulties with finding housing.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/136020/need-help-being-a-ski-bum

 

 

post #3 of 20
I think that cost of living vs. pay will be your driving factor. There are other threads which address the housing situation (think the "emergency" situation going on at Jackson right now), which is dire at most resorts. A useful, if pokey, link is http://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/ See if you can find online versions of the papers for resorts that interest you and see what it says about "affordable housing" in the local news.

You might also want to talk about non-ski stuff that is important to you. Do you want to be near a major air hub? The symphony? Desert? Lakes? Sports teams? Etc.

I'd be looking at whether the resort is on a stable financial footing, too. Because if you want a long term career, you don't want one that is going under or changing owners before you've established credentials.

It might be best to throw out the names of resorts that interest you (or at least a state that interests you). Then locals can maybe tell you about it.

Plus, are you expecting to work in marketing or, you'll work at anything to get your foot in the door? Because the very few people I know their background fall into the "will do anything" category. Then they worked their way up. I'm sure after a few decades you can get to a fairly comfortable salary, but most don't. In fact, the more successful ones I know made their money when they moved into another line of work. Basically, there's a ton of people want to work in the industry and will work for peanuts to do it.

I'd also look at resorts that have a successful summer business as well, as they're more likely to need year round employees. And a town that has other businesses that would need your skills should you decide it's not working, because you might not want to start all over hundreds of miles away after getting settled in to the local social scene.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses!

 

I definitely think that I would like to try and stay in the guest services area of a resort so front desk, concierge, reservations or sales are all what I am looking to start with. I believe this leaves me with plenty of options but keeps them to something i already know I will like. I certainly agree that resorts with good summer opportunities will be a focus as they will not only have more openings but allow me to stay engaged all year long. Here is my current list of cities and resorts I would like to try for next year. Anyone with experience with these resorts please leave me some feedback.

 

Salt Lake City:

Snowbird

Solitude

Non-VR Park City Resort

 

Reno/Tahoe Area

Squaw Valley

Heavenly

 

Colorado

Telluride

Steamboat

 

Rando's

Big Sky

Mt. Hood Meadows

Jackson Hole maybe? Not about that living in a box life thoguh.

 

I think Salt Lake has a lot to offer in terms of lots of non-skiing activities and opportunities to move between resorts or non-skiing companies. If there is any resort I missed that someone thinks I should be looking at please feel free to speak up. This is a decision where I want all the information I can possibly get.

post #5 of 20

If you are keen to avoid VR better cross Heavenly off your list.

 

As above Cost of living is a major concern cos ski biz tends not to pay as well as the global corps for similar roles, and no doubt that is easier to manage in SLC or Reno/Carson/SLT than most places on your list.

 

What about condo/hotel chains rather than resorts per se?

post #6 of 20
There are some great opportunities in the Aspen/Snowmass area.
Edited by skier31 - 7/15/16 at 5:44am
post #7 of 20
Aspen Ski Co takes really good care of their employees. I'm pretty sure Outside Magazine has named them the best outdoor rec company to work for at least once.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've seen some really great things about Aspen! The only thing I worry about though is the cost of living. Anyone here who can tell me how manageable it is? Also I'm not against VR just PC and Vail itself. I think Heavenly or Breckenridge would both be good places to call home. I have considered hotel/condo chains around the areas but I feel like movement within those areas is more restricted as you don't create the activities for people you just steer them towards another company.

post #9 of 20
I'd probably go for Aspen IF (& it's a big if)you can find a way acceptable to you of getting on the housing ladder which probably means living down valley and getting used to urban style commuting. 

RFTA bus service is really good though so you are well served for a chill commute
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams View Post

I've seen some really great things about Aspen! The only thing I worry about though is the cost of living. Anyone here who can tell me how manageable it is? Also I'm not against VR just PC and Vail itself. I think Heavenly or Breckenridge would both be good places to call home. I have considered hotel/condo chains around the areas but I feel like movement within those areas is more restricted as you don't create the activities for people you just steer them towards another company.

There is quite a bit of employee housing.
The bus system is phenomenal and free or heavily discounted. I think Aspen Ski Company probably pays better than some of the other resorts. Worth checking out.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams View Post
 

Also I'm not against VR just PC and Vail itself. I think Heavenly or Breckenridge would both be good places to call home. I have considered hotel/condo chains around the areas but I feel like movement within those areas is more restricted as you don't create the activities for people you just steer them towards another company.

 

I'm not sure what is up between VR and Summit County right now but I think there is something going on with VR employee housing.  It might be limited to just Keystone?  Not sure but if you are considering VR in Summit you might want to look into it.  I think it had something to do with cramming bunk beds into rooms.  I haven't been following it, just throwing it out there as an f.y.i. in case you are considering VR. 

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'll be sure to add Aspen Ski Co. to my list. I do remember the bus system being top notch when i skied there a few years ago.

post #13 of 20

I guess if you were looking for companies that are involved with running multiple ski areas giving you some lateral mobility you might also consider the following:  Powdr Corp, Boyne ResortsIntrawest, and Vail Resorts.

post #14 of 20
In regard to Big Sky, can't envision living IN Big Sky at your age. It's a hike to Bozeman as a commute everyday. Big Sky itself might be fine for families with access to the outdoors, but I'd think you'd want some kind of social life especially during mud season. Whitefish at least has a real town with other employers in the area, so there's something doing even in May and October. We are a heck of a lot closer to the mountain than Bozeman is to Big Sky. But unsure how much of a demand for a marketing type there is at the ski area. There's a smaller operation here than at the bigger names. However, there are three new hotels in town, just opening and the businesses are desperate to find people. You'd have to live in Columbia Falls, I'm sure, but it's a town that is starting to come into its own, still not that far from the ski area. Because of the proximityy of Glacier National Park, summer is actually high season here.

"Marketing" jobs on Craigslist:

Marketing Specialist

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/mar/5645202355.html
Marketing Event Planner - Kalispell Center Mall

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/mar/5638592308.html

Marketing Firm Hiring

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/mar/5681530433.html

Firebrand Hotel seeking ALL positions!! (New hotel, part of larger hotel group which has another ritzy hotel in town and a dude ranch in Big Fork. They have at least six ads.)

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/fbh/5677557505.html

This is also part of that group:
Front Desk Agent PT

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/csr/5638596579.html

At the mountain
Front Desk Clerk

http://kalispell.craigslist.org/csr/5659490750.html

I think your best bet is the Firebrand hotel, because they cater to the upper end (this is where governors and senators and The Bachelor actors stay) and have several properties in the area. Not sure what they are like to work for, though. Not everybody likes them as citizens, they tend to throw their weight around in terms of building things that are not really approved. Or approved because of the buddy system. Maybe they need some marketing help to buff their image. 😉
Edited by sibhusky - 7/16/16 at 9:47am
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sibhusky,

Thanks for the recommendation! After looking at whitefish and the surrounding area I think it is definitely a place to add to my list. Also you are very correct in assuming that something of a social scene is a definite plus for someone my age! I appreciate the input
post #16 of 20

Grizz... IMHO it's all about accessing the clientelle you want to serve. Top end? Aspen Resorts, Deer Valley, and yes, look into the Yellowstone Club. The question is, do you want to work for the resort, or a Hotelier with a strong presence in the mountain environment. If you have Spanish, Russian, or Chinese language skill, these will be very helpful, but don't BS. If your language is marginal, be truthful. 

 

One thing to be aware of in the 'on snow' pathway up the ladder that I'm sure applies to the pure service end of things is that there are two levels of separation between all the players large and small, max. Always do great work, go the extra yard, and keep your more critical thoughts to yourself judiciously answering difficult questions only when they're in your pay grade. Always look at disfunction as an opportunity. Discretion is huge as you probably already well know... sorry for the elder'splain'in..  Anyhow, good luck and have fun! 

post #17 of 20

VR possibly has the most to offer for a long term career path due to it's shear size. Another way to look at it is after 10 years in the VR system you could probably move to another organization and step up several rungs.

Start looking here, http://www.vailresortscareers.com.

The following are the year round positions currently listed on the first page of the Hospitality listings. There are over 6 pages of positions in just under Hospitality. Most of the large VR properties have some kind of employee housing arrangement. Several of these positions seem to fit your criteria. Good luck in your search.

 
JOB TITLE LOCATION DIVISION JOB TYPE  
       

RESET

Front Office Manager - Keystone Resort Property Management Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Dishwasher - Hospitality - Full Time - 10 months Park City, UT, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Public Areas Attendant - The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Dishwasher - Full Time & Part Time - Year Round - The DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Park City, UT, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Nail Technician - Full time and Part Time - Vail Marriott Mountain Resort Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Housekeeping Inspector - The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Tournant Cook - Keystone Conference Center Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Assistant Spa Manager - 10-Month - One Ski Hill Place Breckenridge, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year Round (10-month)  
Housekeeper - Vehicle Maintenance Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Group Sales Coordinator - Breckenridge Hospitality Breckenridge, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Building Maintenance Manager - Grand Teton Lodge Company Moran, WY, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Overnight Public Areas Attendant - Year Round - Northstar Property Manangement Truckee, CA, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Advanced Housekeeper - Elkhorn Lodge Avon, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Housekeeper - Elkhorn Lodge Avon, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Houseperson - Elkhorn Lodge Avon, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Intermediate Maintenance Technician - The Arrabelle at Vail Square - a RockResort Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Housekeeping Trainer - Keystone Property Management Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Housekeeper - Year Round - DoubleTree by Hilton Park City, UT, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Night Auditor - Year Round - Grand Summit Park City, UT, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Advanced Level Cook - Ski Tip Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Bell / Valet - Grand Summit Hotel Park City, UT, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Entry Maintenance Technician - The Arrabelle a RockResort Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Front Desk Agent - Year Round - Vail Marriott Vail, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Housekeeping Supervisor - Night Cleaning - Keystone Property Management Keystone, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round  
Intermediate Maintenance Tech - DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge, CO, US Hospitality & Transportation Year-Round
post #18 of 20

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post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Rcc,

Really appreciate the heads up! However, I still have a year of school left so my job hunting will truly begin around next February so right now I am just trying to figure out where I should be focusing my efforts and what areas to research. Thanks again though to everyone!
post #20 of 20

Where ever you end up, be prepared to start at or near the bottom of the food chain.

 

I don't care what kind of a degree you have or what experience in Guest Services you have. That is the way the Ski Industry operates, its called OJT.

 

Every GM or high up I have ever met started as a Snow Reporter or Bellman/Person or a Groomer or other Mtns Ops flunky.

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