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Skiing Biology Jobs???

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Is there any sort of job offered by ski resorts to biologists? I will be finishing up my undergrad soon then going off to grad school. I am starting to try to figure out what exactly I want to do with my biology degree and couldn't think of anything better than to be employeed by a ski resort. I don't even know if any such jobs exist. I just wanted to throw this out there to some people who would have an idea and offer some feedback. Any ideas?????
post #2 of 23
I have a PhD in a biological subfield and live in CO. Unfortunately, I learned a little late about the true job market for advanced degrees in biology. I suggest you initially sit down with folks in the career department of your undergraduate university....it can be a real eye opening experience. Second, if you still want to go to grad school, make sure you attend one in a state that has good snow and numerous ski resorts. You will most likely be financially challenged if you are a full time grad student and it helps when the resorts are near to get your "fix".

Despite the tone of the above message, I am not bitter about either moving to CO to attain my degree 16yrs ago or about deciding to stay. Some of my best experiences in these years have been on skis.

Go to grad school because you are passionate about learning in your field, but pick an area where you can enjoy your time outside of school too.
post #3 of 23
How about a job with the Park Service in a mountainous state? Or work doing environmental impact studies for/against ski area construction or expansion?
post #4 of 23
I have worked with too many people and have been in and out of the "bio-sciences" for years .... forestry to fishing ... and enviro ..

Get at least an MS! There are 1,000,000,000 "unique" individuals just like you out there and many will be lucky to even get a job in their field. :

With an MS, at least you can survive in government .... with a BS ... yer' toast!

IMHO .... colleges are big business; no more or no less. They push out "product" faster than Henry Ford could ever dream of. Unfortunately supply of "product" is in excess of demand.
post #5 of 23
There was an article in SKI, I believe about a forest guy who worked with ski resorts who wanted to expand. I don't recall what his background was, only that skiing the backcountry was part of his job. I doubt they need more than three of those guys, tho.
post #6 of 23
Only the largest areas employ anything even remotely related. Even then, it has to do with environmental policy and working with agencies like the national forest service. It's pretty tough to break into.

Have you considered learning how weld?
post #7 of 23
You guys are being way to pessimistic. There are plenty of jobs out there for Biology majors at ski resorts.

Some of the top ones are lifties, groomers, bartenders, busboys, waiters, etc...
post #8 of 23
Coach forgot the most important one ..... Instructor ....
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
Coach forgot the most important one ..... Instructor ....
I figured since he didn't have an advanced degree, he was underqualified. I was thinking entry level here.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
.... colleges are big business; no more or no less. They push out "product" faster than Henry Ford could ever dream of. Unfortunately supply of "product" is in excess of demand.
It's not the amount of product: when you push out product, the quality goes down. At least it does for degrees/diplomas that actually matter.

There are many that don't make finding employment any easier. Around here, "english lit" means "cab driver".
post #11 of 23
Having a BS in Biology (among other things ) and a MS in Biology/Ecology and working for a resort part time in the winter, I can say their aren't many opportunities to use your particular degree in the ski industry. Yes, there is the occasional EIS for resort expansion, but that happens so infrequently, that it's usually shopped out to consultants. However, the idea of working for the Forest Service or Park service is a fair one. I say fair because positions other than seasonal ones are difficult to impossible to come by unless you are a veteran or have some other career service to speak of. That's just the nature of the federal government in this day and age. This simple reality is why I'm in UT. I can have a 9-5 using my degree and still have access to world class skiing on a daily/weekly basis if I want to.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
However, the idea of working for the Forest Service or Park service is a fair one. I say fair because positions other than seasonal ones are difficult to impossible to come by unless you are a veteran or have some other career service to speak of. That's just the nature of the federal government in this day and age.
A federal employee explained to me that you don't get those jobs by applying for them.....you "network your way in", whatever that means.

I once applied for a job with US AID (aid for underdeveloped counties). I had an advanced degree in a technical field, and experience living and working overseas. They replied there was nothing available to me because they only were looking for people with an advanced degree in a technical field, and experience living and working overseas.
post #13 of 23
In 1994 the government ceased hiring advanced degree positions for the Dept of the Interior, Forest Service,...etc. and only promoted from within. The jobs available for new employees were entry level and part time positions. All this happened as I was graduating and going through the application process. By that time I had decided not to leave CO. I'm glad I stayed. Now we just need to return to the winter conditions we had through the early 90's out here.

WVSkier, don't let all of us depress you. Do your research well in advance, and like newfydog stated, learn how to network. Also, get a T.A. or R.A. at the grad school you select....it should give you some spare time to hit the slopes compared to a "real" job while you are attending classes.
post #14 of 23
I'm old fashioned about this. Never underestimate the power of a college degree, any college degree. I have a weak one, Geography, and still it opened some crucial doors many years ago. Plenty of good Govt jobs or Govt contractor jobs in Wash DC area, plenty.
There are still a rare, few dinosaurs in USGovt Civil Service who have done very well with only a high school diploma, but they are almost all older folks and are extraordinarily smart, lucky, or hard working. It is increasingly true, however, that just about everyone under age 40 these days with professional/managerial aspirations needs not only an Undergraduate Degree, but also must get their Masters Degree ticket punched.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
This simple reality is why I'm in UT. I can have a 9-5 using my degree and still have access to world class skiing on a daily/weekly basis if I want to.
Lonnie....This is another thing that I am seriously considering. I was just wanting to throw this topic out there to see if anyone had some ideas because I was doing some wishful thinking and got to wondering if any sort of jobs like that were offered at ski resorts. I love Biology and I am almost half-way done with my BS and still haven't really figured out what exactly in the field of biology I want to do......What kinds of jobs are offered then in the UT area?? What type of job is it that you have??
post #16 of 23
I cannot think of many jobs at specific areas related to Biology, however, you might want to look into the National Forest agencies (Don't know the names) because many areas are run on National Forest land and require approval for expansion. While it might not be truly working for a ski area, it could potentially be working with many ski areas.
post #17 of 23
WvSkier, it just depends. When I say that, what I mean is that in the Ski Industry, things are changing at a lot of areas. On my staff, I have 2 young guys who patrol for me in the winter and in the summer use their Enviro. Sci degrees to plan our stormwater and erosion control program. (huge job) One of the guys chairs our Enviro. Steering Commitee. We have a consultant on staff to deal with wildlife and habitat issuses. If he didn't have another job as a Cat Driver at another resort nearby we would hire him full time in a minute.

It depends on the area and what they have going in terms of development and their views on sustainability. Right now the entire sustainable slopes movement is pretty big within the ski industry.

However... It is unlikely that with little to no ski resort experience, that you will be hired right out of school for such a position. If it were me, I would pick a school in a western state with a MS program that suited my needs and is close to a ski area that is motivated by enviromental concerns. I would work part time with that company at whatever entry level job I could land and develop some solid contacts. Employment beyond entry level seasonal work in the ski industry is all about contacts and networking.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
On my staff, I have 2 young guys who patrol for me in the winter and in the summer use their Enviro. Sci degrees to plan our stormwater and erosion control program. (huge job) One of the guys chairs our Enviro. Steering Commitee. .
You might pick up some Geology courses. particularly hydrology along the way. Check out schools for an MS with a ski area in town...Boise State,
Northern Arizona, the Montana schools. Univ. of Vermont etc.
post #19 of 23
There is an interesting Snow Science program at Montana State. I went to a seminar about what they do and it is related to avalanche control. They apparently get to spend time at Bridger in some shack generating avalanches and measuring things while protected by this flimsy plywood structure. I am sure it is highly technical as it is somehow involved in Materials Science. But it looked a hoot for those who like to live dangerously.
post #20 of 23
I would look very carefully at the government jobs, both state and federal. But, you need to think "long term" and not just at what is on the plate in front of you. Think of the number of agencies that could use a biologist, but think "outside the box", more in terms of where your bio talents could be used and how much they pay within the categories.

You may have to sacrifice up front to get into an agency, but you then have the ability to "bid" jobs in other regions that are only open to current employees ..... translation .... you take a job in DC (hiss/boo), and then pay dues in order to transfer hit some other area.

Apply for as many as you can.
post #21 of 23
Use your bio degree to get into med school. Vail village hospital residency anyone?
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223
Use your bio degree to get into med school. Vail village hospital residency anyone?
Good suggestion. Ditto for becoming a nurse. Good thing about those jobs is you can take 'em anywhere in ski country and you will be in demand and get good/decent pay.


Speaking from experience, starting a Fed job in DC so that you can transfer later to nice field location (my unrealized idea was Europe) has a couple flaws, one, you'll get hooked on the higher pay grades available in an urban location, two, you might meet your future spouse in the meantime and grow roots at that same urban location.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj
Good suggestion. Ditto for becoming a nurse. Good thing about those jobs is you can take 'em anywhere in ski country and you will be in demand and get good/decent pay.
Of course, you need a 3.5 or higher to have a chance, and you need to have taken the pre-requisite courses. I would think you have though, as you need advanced chem for advanced bio. Then there's the MCAT to worry about. Not easy, but it's kickass option, IMO.
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