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is being a lift op (liftie) worth it?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
hi all,
sorry if this isn't the place for this, also i couldn't find any info on this by searching...
hopefully someone can provide some advice, or maybe even share some personal experiences...
has anyone ever been a lift operator? know anyone who has? i'm considering being one this winter out in salt lake city. my only reservation at this point is that i was told (at the mountain i'm looking at) lift ops work 5 days a week (all day long the days they work) and i'm wondering how much skiing i'll actually get to do. i know that you rotate positions so you get a run every so often (every hour maybe?). but would i be able to get significantly more skiing in if i got a different job, like working at a lodge or restuarant on the mountain?
i don't mind shovelling snow or working out in the cold...i just want to ski!
as a liftie, will i get to ski enough to satisfy my urges?

thanks all,
manz
post #2 of 21
If you really want to ski all day, try being a dish pig or other role that is mostly a night job. Lifties get to ski a little, but mostly on their days off. I think working restaurants and hotels is your best shot, but those are the jobs that fill fastest, too.
post #3 of 21
At the resort where I work, There are typically three or four folks assigned to a lift depending upon the day of the week, weather, etc. One at the base, one at the top, and one or two "extras". The extra folks help with loading/unloading, shovel if required, facilitate breaks.

The three or four folks rotate from top to bottom hourly, hence, they ski or board to rotate. They also are assigned to lifts on a first come to work basis. On a daily basis they arrive at work and "sign up" for the lift they want. The person who arrives last gets the "carrot toe" at the beginner area which I understand is pure hell on a busy day.

Soooooo......I think most get a fair number of runs in on a daily basis
post #4 of 21
I don't recall ever seeing a liftie ski. Bartender is the best job in a ski town.

John
post #5 of 21
I was a liftie. You get to ski a bit. Like maybe you would be on a lift that required a ride to the top in the morning and ski down. I enjoyed those runs, the mountain all to yourself. However I worked in rentals the year after being a liftie and it was the far superior job. At 1:30 or so they would let us go and ski for two hours like every day. Being a liftie is Grueling work. Every chair that goes by for someone you have to grab and pull back. Those chairs each way like 300 pounds. The most sore I was ever in my entire life was when I was learning that skill. I could barely move for like 2 weeks it was awful. Of course then you get good at it and it is no problem, but expect lots of pain in the beginning. The other thing that sucks about being a liftie is combine the hard labor of grabbing each chair, with the exposure to the elements and long days, in the end after each day of work you are shot and begging for some sleep. Rentals is much better than being a liftie, get to ski, ski all of the sweet boards. There was a little bit of fun in the crowd control part of the lift job though

Alfonse
post #6 of 21
I'd say look into other jobs around the ski area. The one advantage of being a liftie is the season pass (if the money matters). However, if you can find work bussing or waiting tables in a restaraunt owned by the ski area, you usually get a pass. You could also look into other on-snow jobs such as ski safety, ski host, tour guide, etc., assuming you have the skiing/riding ability for it.

When I did my ski bumming, I taught at Breck and bussed tables at Keystone, so that I could night ski ate keystone and ski A-Basin on my days off (Back then Keystone and A-Basin were owned by the same people, and Breck was owned by someone else (the Japaneese))
post #7 of 21
I would echo the sentiments listed above. One of the better jobs is working at a rental shop. Maybe 25-30 hours a week. You get 2-3 days off (or more) and during the days you work, you often times get to take a ski break for 2 hours. Plus, you get a free ski pass to use.

Bartending has got to be a good job as well. Hell, I was a ski instructor and my boss, who had worked at the resort for over 10 years, had a night bartending job, if that tells you anything.
post #8 of 21
Be advised that it is now the middle of October and most of the premo jobs are taken. I worked as liftie myself. I had 4 days on and 3 days off. I got in 2 runs everyday. But being a lift op is the one position that the mtn is always taking applecations for because the burnout rate is so high.

The mtn job you really want is the "Ski Ambassodors" position. You ski all day long for work. You are basically a skiing customer service person. And there are days you almost feel like you are wiping peoples butts. But it is also a foot in the door with ski patrol. And you must be an expert skier, and they want a certain look from you. So shave.
post #9 of 21
Liftie doesn't sound like the way to go. Hell, with deals like the Colorado Pass, why bother taking a crappy job for a pass at all?

I mean, if you're hell bent on a season @ JH, then OK. They get a lotta cheddar for that pass. But elsewhere, there are deals galore.
post #10 of 21
I was a lift op. and worked doing just about everything that needs doing at a summit lodge. I agree with those posting above that you wprk a lot as a lift op. and don't get enough skiing. As a newbie, at a large area you may be relegated to a beginner lift near the base lodge and not get to ski at all on work days. The summit lodge job guaranteed at least one top to bottom run at the end of the day. Plus, I often had a schedule that had me reporting for work at 11:00AM giving me a couple hours skiing time before work. (Almost got fired after coming in late a 2 powder mornings in a row.)

One place I was a lift-op at, I lucked out an got on a lift maintenance crew. I skied around all morning delivering lunches to the lift crews, then made the rounds again and spelled them for their lunch breaks. That was a sweet, sweet job. (again I came close to getting fired, this time because there were certain runs you were not allowed to take, the fun ones, of course, and I took 'em.)

A buddy of mine had probably the best ski job I've heard of. He was a groomer. He reported for work every afternoon on the mountain at 4PM, and worked until midnight. He had a free pass and got to ski every day and basically drive around the mountain at night.
post #11 of 21
Dos'nt seem like very much fun to me. If your up top your always watching,watching every second every person how boring can it get.
Good Luck:

I hope your not serious about all the good jobs already being snatched up.Though I plan on working for Vail BC.ski school I will still need a 2nd job to pay the bill's. And my arrivale date has moved to Nov 15 due to a recent injury Hopfully it will all still work.

I don't mean to hijack your thread BUT if anyone in Vail or Avon has a nice room w/private bath on bus rt for rent please let me know I am an awsome cook and a quiet hard working, neat person looking to ski and have fun.
post #12 of 21
Lifties hardly get to ski. They make all sorts of promises to you and give you the pass, then they keep adding hours to your schedule and you don't get to ski. Look for something else! If it has to be at a ski area check to see if they have embassadors or ski safety patrols in addition to the ski patrol...there is less training for these and you are on skis all of the time.

I was thinking the original poster was local when I made this post. Since he is not I think that the embassador and safety patrols would be out of the question, at least for this year.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
wow, thanks for all the replies...especially from people who actually had this job.
i've since reconsidered and am now applying to work at a mid-mountain lodge (food related work). from everyone i talk to it sounds like you get in way more skiing this way, and the work is easier.
i could just buy a pass, but then i'd need to also be covering food and lodging...this way i'm living on the mountain and get kitchen privledges. granted i have to work for all this...but i don't have the cash to support myself for a whole winter in a ski town.
peace,
manz
post #14 of 21
I will disagree with the others, (I am a disagreeable sort). Alta lift ops get to ski. Apply there. I spent a winter at PCMR as a lift op. I got to ski some and learned to ski there (I thought I knew how to ski). I skied my days off, met some great people and stayed in the ski industry. Everybody has to start somewhere, most of the posts here aren't very realistic. Sure, get a bartender job in a ski town, where you are the new guy/gal, good luck! NO, become a ski ambassador, you are new in town, yet H.R. is dying to give you this job.... WTF?

Take a job, do it well, be positive and go the extra mile, your supervisor will love you for it. Ski towns are full of people who are there for one year and want to slack and ski. They are gone with the winter snow. Thank god!
post #15 of 21
I'll second Jack Merde's sentiment.

It is always a good thing to do what you are hired for to the best of your ability---whether liftie or CEO---makes no difference (except maybe the pay! )

He has a point about being the new kid on the block---no one will hire you over someone that has already done a good job and paid at least a modicum of dues at jobs like snow maker or liftie.

Take what you can get the first year and do it as well as you know how.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Merde
Take a job, do it well, be positive and go the extra mile, your supervisor will love you for it.
That's good advice for anyone. The best preparation for the future is to do the best with what you have now.
FWIW liftie is one of the most important jobs on the mountain. Think about it: they are among the few employees interact with every customer, and they are responsible for operating fairly dangerous public transportation system. Some of the above posts even disparaged the lifties who work the beginner lifts. If I were running a ski area, the beginner lift lifties would be the most trained, best lifties I could find. I don't think many people come back for a second day after a bad lift experience the first day.
Regardless, bartender is still a better job.
John
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Merde
NO, become a ski ambassador, you are new in town, yet H.R. is dying to give you this job.... WTF?
Sorry, I didn't read his post carefully. I didn't realize he would be new in town. When you are new in town you take what you can get, do the best that you can at the job and are happy for it. If you stay around for a while, then I'd say go for the ski ambassador or another position with more skiing.
post #18 of 21
Manzarek: THE DOORS can open yours. If you play keyboards like Ray get a job in a house band at a major ski resort.
post #19 of 21
I started as a lifty at Hunter 20 years ago. I ended up being the guy that gave breaks, skied lft to lift all day. The following year I did thier on mountain insurance follow ups, accidents both skiers and employees. Also helped as assistant to lift ops. Skied 7 days a week and got paid. Perfect. Ask around about what jobs are availible.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Merde
I will disagree with the others, (I am a disagreeable sort). Alta lift ops get to ski. Apply there. I spent a winter at PCMR as a lift op. I got to ski some and learned to ski there (I thought I knew how to ski). I skied my days off, met some great people and stayed in the ski industry. Everybody has to start somewhere, most of the posts here aren't very realistic. Sure, get a bartender job in a ski town, where you are the new guy/gal, good luck! NO, become a ski ambassador, you are new in town, yet H.R. is dying to give you this job.... WTF?

Take a job, do it well, be positive and go the extra mile, your supervisor will love you for it. Ski towns are full of people who are there for one year and want to slack and ski. They are gone with the winter snow. Thank god!
Jack you are the professor of resort life.

The first job I had back in the day was as a liftie. You meet a lot of people, thus you are networking. Just work hard, have fun, and you will move up.



However, the bartender gig is where it is at. Learn to work the tourists for tips, and you will be in the chips.
post #21 of 21
Just saw this and remembered you were interested........................


http://www.ironwooddailyglobe.com/1012skil.htm


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