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a season in colorado?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
I'm from australia, coming to the US with a work permit for the winter season. I was hoping to go somewhere in summit county. I hear Copper mtn is great - great terrain, good park and pipe etc., but was unsure how easy it is to get a job there and a place to live for the season. I was hoping to work in a bar or restaurant - i have experience and qualifications etc., and was wondering if there is a wide choice, or if it would be hard to get a job. and is there much affordable seasonal accommodation - i'm not fussy, i'll take anything! Same goes for keystone and breckenridge.
also - i've been hearing that breckenridge doesn't have a lot of challenging, expert terrain - and that it gets really windy - is this true?

any advice would be much appreciated
cheers, hanna
post #2 of 46
The only advice i can give is keep watching Epic you will get strait answers here.
Try Vail daily news.
Summitt news
Go for it. Go to skijob1.com. If i knew how to ad links i would their are alot, I have been asking the same ? and have been impressed with the epic crowd. send out lots of resmes.
See you there
post #3 of 46
Welcome to Epicski, Hanna. You can check http://www.summitdaily.com for help wanted and housing ads. Many of the Epic participants work at Copper, so I'm sure you will be getting many repiles.

Seasonal housing in Summit County can be extremely expensive and hard to find. The job market is also very, very tight. Right now we are going through what we call the "October Mud Season." Most of the businesses drastically reduce their hours. When I ride the bus, I see the locals frantically looking through the want ads, trying to get to the seasonal or other employment before anyone else.

Just about everyone in Summit County is over qualified for what they do and underpaid. From experience, I've learned that no matter how qualified you are for your job, preference is always given to locals. My husband currently lives in Boston. He comes out here a few times a month. We own a business and property here. He is more qualified than most people in his field. But when applying for jobs, preference is always given to full time locals.

Just so that you can figure out cost of living, average rent for a one bedroom is between $700-$1200 a month. Price of groceries may be more expensive than you're used to, due to the cost of trucking to the mountain area.

Still in all, it's a great place to live.
post #4 of 46
All the ski resorts have online job centers. I'd start looking at those. You mention having experience in the food/beverage industry. Keep one thing in mind. So do the thousands of others who converge on the place in the winter!

No one has answered your ski area questions. I guess the first thing I would say is don't listen too carefully to the critics! I chuckle at folks who say one area is colder or windier than others. It's a winter sport and I don't know how someone would guage how one area is windier than another! If it's a cold windy day at Breck I doubt it's balmy at Copper.

Copper is a great mountain and so is Breck. I don't mean to leave out any of the other area resorts......Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Keystone, Steamboat, Winter Park, A-Basin, or Loveland. They all have plenty of great terrain. They all have steep terrain.

If you truely want steep. I'd tell you to look at Jackson Hole or Crested Butte. Having said that I bet you'll find all the steep stuff you want near the resorts you have mentioned.

In addition to the resorts mentioned there are many smaller non-destination resorts with great snow, great terrain that hire folks each winter. Some of these include Monarch, Powderhorn, Ski Cooper, Solvista, Sunlight, and Wolf Creek.
post #5 of 46
While in Steamboat recently, I noticed the want ads in the local paper were full of adds looking for restaurant and bar help. There was alot of construction and service positions as well. seasonal rates for one bedroom apartments and condos were going for anywhere from 800 to 1800 dollars monthly.

There a few Steamboat locals that frequent this forum, maybe they can give you some better advice.

Good luck
post #6 of 46
It may be too late to get your visas in order for this season. For Copper, log onto www.coppercolorado.com for job info. Good luck!
post #7 of 46
she says she has it or at least infers it in the mention of work papers. i thought the employer obtained the J1 visa.
post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
hi guys,

thanks for all the replies. yes i am a uni studnet here in Australia, and have a J1 visa sorted for 4 months of working - that allows me to have as many jobs as i like anywhere
post #9 of 46
Hi Hanna,

It is easy to understand your desire to work and play in the Summit County area, but you are the victim of an overadvertised area. It is a real nice place, but a bit overpopulated with others who have heard of its wonderful virtues, and much too close to a major metropolitan area with literally millions of people accessible to the area for day trips and weekend work. ...Put bluntly, you have chosen a mountain area with what is likely the fiercest competitive job market in Colorado. Even if you find the job you want, you will be competing heavily for a limited number of available services in the area for the season.

I think Lars' suggestion of an outlying area would be a good idea. Steamboat might fit your desires, but it is a single isolated ski area. I would reccomend that you look into Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley. There are 5 major ski areas in the Valley, and Beaver Creek and Vail are only an hour away. Being on the 'uncrowded' side of Colorado, the job and housing market generally is not as fierce, and the skiing is as good as it gets in Colorado. ...You won't find any of the mountain resort areas to be economical, but it would seem to make sense to look in areas with all the services you need, and the lightest pressure on them.

Good Luck!
post #10 of 46
Hanna, please don't misconstrue what I'm about to say as being my personal opinion. But you need to consider the fact that the unemployment rate in the US is currently so high, that you may experience some subtle animosity from people if you apply for jobs that can not only be done by locals, but by US citizens.

It's different if you are a ski instructor, and an excellent one at that. If your instructional skills are uniquely suberb, you may have a skill that makes it viable fro a resort to "outsource." But restaurant work? Do you have any idea of how many people out here are qualified to do that sort of work? Some also have families they have to feed.

Please don't take this as discouragement. I just don't want you to end up disapointed.
post #11 of 46
Not so sure about that. Copper touts its International Flavor often in the news. I remember a "news" piece recently about their international job fairs. This is from their web site.

Approximately 15% of our winter staff are international workers from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, England and Africa to name a few. Such an international blend offers a great experience for our guests and staff alike!

I have good friends that own a restaurant in Summit County, They typically have one or 2 employees a year from outside the US. Never have they mentioned any ill will towards them for taking a job from a local.
post #12 of 46
I agree Kima.

LisaMarie you've certainly gotten jaded in the four months since you haved moved from Boston to Summit County. I'm sorry Mark can't find work. Nobody in the ski industry could give two hoots about someones nationality. Go to any resort this winter and look at the name tags and listen to the accents. They are all welcomed internationals. I also don't agree with your assesment of preference being given in an application process to locals. I think that is silly. My wife has been trying to fill spots at her company for the past five years. She attempts to hire the right person. Cost of living in Colorado can be an issue for folks coming from non-metro areas.

You cited stats about ONE BEDROOM units. I think you'll see there are 26 TWO BEDROOM places listed in todays Summit Daily news and they average $1100 per month. I don't think $550.00 per person in rent is all that bad in comparison to many parts of the world


The ski areas will be full of students and they are welcome with open arms. I work at a small non-destination resort above Boulder which is home to CU. We employ a great many internationals each year. We couldn't operate without them. I have posted many times that the Aussie and New Zealand students who come teach at our place are the hardest working, most energetic, most reliable kids that I have ever met.

You would be welcomed in Boulder


Send me a private message, I'll give you my e-mail address and since you have your J1 visa I bet our HR folks would love to talk to you.

Can you snowboard? Do you know the difference between a snowboarder and a snowboard instructor? Two Lessons!

I'm not demeaning the profession. We could use three times the snowboard instructors that we have! You would work all day long.....every day.

I can also give you e-mail addresses for a number of folks from Australia who have done a season at Eldora and at other resorts. They can probably give you a clear picture.

Good luck and bring it on!
post #13 of 46
Resort areas need workers no matter where they come from, check out this article from today's Denver Post:

If you have the experience and qualifications, you'll get hired, I've never noticed any bias toward hiring locals, business owners usually want the best person for the job. I know Copper hires people from all over the world.

Coppers Job site:
check out the job search link too.

Vail Resorts Job Site:

Summit Daily News:
Check out the classifieds, there are new job listings all the time.

We do have a lot of fun in Summit and being close to Denver has its advantages also.

post #14 of 46
Originally Posted by bong
Resort areas need workers no matter where they come from, check out this article from today's Denver Post:

Hi Bong! Did you mean this one? http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,...459597,00.html
post #15 of 46
Yep, that's the one, I goofed and pasted the wrong link.

post #16 of 46
I don't think LM is jaded, but realistic.

Jobs are not easy to come by, and you might not be able to pay the rent with some of those restaurant jobs, even if you get one right away.

Better to have fair warning than spend the first 2 months sweating bullets and sleeping on someone's couch.
post #17 of 46
High paying jobs are not easy to come by but anyone who is really willing to work can find a job. And that's being realistic! Too many people spend too much time out of work looking for the perfect job and fail to get a lower paying job to get by with till something better comes along. Happens all the time. Goes with being spoiled.

That being said, I would think you would have an advantage over most. It always seemed to me that resorts and the towns they are located in always have an abundance of foreign speaking individuals all over the place in every bussiness. I don't think you'd have any problem at all finding a decent job at a resort town.

Come on over and go for it. I bet it wouldn't take more than a few days to find a place to room and a job. Just keep in mind that if you don't find a good paying job right away, take anything, then keep looking. I wouldn't wait too long though.
post #18 of 46
Originally Posted by Bonni
I don't think LM is jaded, but realistic.

Jobs are not easy to come by, and you might not be able to pay the rent with some of those restaurant jobs, even if you get one right away.

Better to have fair warning than spend the first 2 months sweating bullets and sleeping on someone's couch.
People weren't taking issue with the fact that most of the jobs in a ski resort economy don't pay well, but with the claim that the locals are protectionists.
post #19 of 46
WHOAA, didn't mean to cause so much anger. Remember, I said that this is not my opinion, just what I hear others saying. Personally, I prefer to be in a more international environment, but the current state of our economy has become so bad, that I can't ignore what's going on right in front of me. I get really sad when I see someone with 3 kids who is actively looking for work, but can't find it.

I guess being one of the few people who ride the bus and see the poorer population, I kind of feel for the people who are pouring over the Summit Daily Ads, or going from interview to interview without success. Often it has little to do with their qualifications. Someone else just got there first. Each week, the want ad section of the Summit Daily seems to be getting smaller. The more people we have on welfare and food stamps, the more it hurts everyone who lives here year round.

Then there are the people who used to have affordable housing, until the owners decided to sell the unit.

I admit that in some ways, I'm trying to make up for my original Pollyanna attitude about living here. I have received nothing but positive attitudes from people out here, and that could be partially due to the fact that when I was setting up the studio, I was supplying work (without opening up some ungodly franchise) rather than competing for it.

That being said, I really do think hanna should try to work a season in the states. Perhaps Summit County may be more challenging because there is a significantly large year round population living here. Is your visa also good for Canada? Maybe a resort such as Whistler, that does not have such a large year round population may be more feasible.
post #20 of 46
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
LisaMarie you've certainly gotten jaded in the four months since you haved moved from Boston to Summit County. I'm sorry Mark can't find work.
Uh, I don't know who said that but it wasn't me. And it wasn't LM either.

Just to set the record straight, I'm not at all seriously looking for work there yet. That's come up in a few different threads and it's not at all what's going on. And I'm not holding myself out yet as a "local" who feels he's competing with "foreigners" - that would be both arrogant and factually wrong.

I'm certainly open to find full-time IT employment out there if I happen upon it via contacts and networking. In fact I did apply for a long-shot not-quite-a-good-fit position at Copper. I also am nurturing a professional contact from my current job who has an IT shop in Denver.

But my current plan involves one of us keeping a "stable" renumerative position as the funding source for the first year or so of operation of Mountain Sport Fitness. The easiest way there is for me to stay with "BigUnidentifiedFinancialCo" here in Boston through 2005. So although I would quit my job tomorrow if I found the right Colorado-based full-time position, my "Plan A" is to make my current Boston-based job my final full-time IT position ever. :

I'm planning to embrace my inner ski-bum when I move out there full time. I am just about fully done with the corporate world

I've certainly got an idea of what work I hope to do when I move full-time to Summit, but working in corporate IT isn't anywhere near the top of that list. There's at least three things higher up I could see working in corp IT in Colorado for a year or so if that happens to play out that way, but I could also see retiring from it forever.

That's assuming the H1B visas and the offshoring haven't made that profession totally strip-mined by then anyway.

I've done a nice 15-year stint in corporate IT as my third major professional theme (fourth or fifth if you count some short-term or part-time careers). That puts me about 5 years overdue for totally changing direction again!

To take it back to Hanna's question - I do think that the international flavor of a staff at a destination resort adds a certain cachet. And there's always been a strong belief in many countries including the US that working a season abroad is a great way to bring peoples and cultures closer. I'd love for my daughter Kara to work a year in Europe or Australia or S. America - so why shouldn't Hanna have that opportunity too?

But there are valid issues on a broader scope about the increasing number of international hires and almost "bulk-loaded" staffs brought in. Perhaps somewhere in Summit is somebody who is deliberately willing to be underemployed in order to live the mountain life, who would want that job. Perhaps somewhere in Ohio there's somebody who wants that chance. Should there be an order of priority for who gets a shot at it? I don't know the answer but it's a fair question and there isn't a single answer.

(Posted from my Boston-based corporate job that I'm tentatively planning to keep for at least one more year. Wave hi to the firewall monitors; I might have just accelarated my timeframe)
post #21 of 46
Originally Posted by Bonni
I don't think LM is jaded, but realistic.

Jobs are not easy to come by, and you might not be able to pay the rent with some of those restaurant jobs, even if you get one right away.

Better to have fair warning than spend the first 2 months sweating bullets and sleeping on someone's couch.
Hanna posted "I was hoping to work in a bar or restaurant - i have experience and qualifications etc., "
I assume Hanna is well aware of the pay these types of jobs offer.

Come Hanna! I have found most people at the resorts are pretty welcoming. I would be really surprised if you could not find a job in a bar or restaurant. Unless you have some money saved you probably like Rusty said share a place, but isn't that all a part of it?
post #22 of 46
On the snow.com job website, which is the website for Vail Resorts, there were 200+ fulltime jobs at this time. I have several friends who work for the Town of Breckenridge at various positions. As far as lodging, there are apartments for rent for people who work at Breckenridge ski area. I imagine that you will have to act fast if you want to get one of these places.

If you have any questions about Breckenridge area, please let me know.
I will be glad to show you around.
post #23 of 46
Thread Starter 
thanks so much to everyone,

sorry to cause all those arguments, but i do see where everyone is coming from!
i'm not looking to stay in a nice place with my own bedroom or anything! i've worked in the Aussie ski resorts, and in France and i know that sharing a tiny room in a dodgy apartment is what it's all about!

Lisa Marie - my visa is only valid for the U.S - so i can't go to canada.

as for working for the resorts thamselves - most say that international applicants are only accepted on a walk-in basis, so i'll have to wait and see.

i understand that people are annoyed that internationals take away their jobs - it happens everywhere all over the world - there's heaps of backpackers like me all over australia, but i'm not looking for a great job - i'll literally do anything, and i'm not coming to the US to make money - just enough to get by on as long as i can ski!

thanks for all the advice and encouragement (and realiatic viewpoints)
post #24 of 46

Thank you for wanting to visit our country, and our (including myself as a part-time semi-local) beautiful part of it.

Heaven knows we could use some people who actually want to come here these days, rather than boycott us!

I still have to make myself an opportunity to visit your country, though as you quite rightly mention anywhere you go you'll find friendly folk from Oz. I've enjoyed a drink or three with your compatriots in quite a few places.

Good luck with your job search and I hope you have a great time here!
post #25 of 46
Hanna, ski areas here in Summit are hiring hundreds of seasonal workers from now through early November. If you were here and walked into a human resources department or looked online at the jobs listings, you would have your pick. Not high paying, but you'd get your pass and will be able to live and work here for the season. There are four major mountains within a half hour of each other and plenty of roommate shares ($500 per month plus share utilities. Heck, I'm going to be renting a room in my condo!) and enough employee housing to get by. You should just come here ASAP and do it!
post #26 of 46
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
My husband currently lives in Boston. He comes out here a few times a month. We own a business and property here. He is more qualified than most people in his field. But when applying for jobs, preference is always given to full time locals.
I believe she did say it.
post #27 of 46
Good luck Hanna in whatever you decide to do! If you do come to Summit County, please PM me. I'd be glad to introduce you to this crazy gang of folks out here!
post #28 of 46
post #29 of 46
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
I believe she did say it.
Well only I can speak for myself and I didn't say it.

Anyhow, what LM said was only in the context that of course they want somebody who doesn't have to relocate, can come in for interviews and can start ASAP and they know is already on the ground here. Rather than a hire me and maybe I'll show up risk. Same advice people like mike_m and pinhead and others have given me, and good advice it is.

As a sometime-hiring manager myself, I'd be wary of hiring someone on a promise that they'd move to take the job. That's just a natural preference for someone geographically available, not anything unfair or prejudicial against non-locals. Just a fact of life.

Which is why I have a Dillon CO VOIP phone number that rings on my desk back east and simultaneously on my cell phone anywhere I am. And a customized version of my IT resume which only gives my Dillon address. When/If I apply for a serious IT job in CO, I apply as a local - and like I said, for the right position I'd quit my current job next day and be a local full time - I've already got my wife, dog, cats, half my clothes, and most importantly my good skis out there

But like I also said, I'm not doing a serious general job search in CO yet. Thus the Mark can't find a job statement is totally misleading and a bit of an unfair hit.

Give me a year. Then I'll legitimately complain about it Or be competing with Hanna for waitperson jobs. My daughter just started as a Starbucks barrista - so maybe I have an in! :

(oops, just started an anti-globalization Starbucks is/is not evil thread hijacking)
post #30 of 46
Rusty's comments from the Copper Mountain Thread:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...opper+Mountain in reference to my enthusiam about living here:
"Lisa......you may change your tune about paradise when it takes you an hour to get through the gridlock between Frisco and Breck on a weekend or you find yourself among 28,000 skiers (that's a typical number over the holidays) at Breck. It can be a wonderful spot but I'll tell you there are folks in Grand County, Steamboat, etc who refer to it as Scum-it County for good reason.

It often strikes me as Myrtle Beach with snow!"

So, who's the jaded one?
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