Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s it like to live and work a ski season in France?
It is all about the lifestyle and experience! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have access to the best mountains in the world and experience the French culture. You will need to have lots of energy as skiing, working and socialising for 4 or 5 months can get tiring, but totally worth it! The work load is higher at the start of the season because tasks take longer as you are just getting used to the job. Before long you will become more efficient with your work and have more time to shred on the skis or board. So, be prepared to work hard early but it all pays off in the second half of the season.
Very important is maintaining a high work performance for your employers. They are relying on you to work the entire season or work contract. Most jobs are in customer service and can be very demanding, especially during the peak holiday periods. But once you are making friends and up skiing in the mountains, it is all worth the effort and an experience you will never ever forget!
Check out the France Blog for more info.
Q: I don’t speak any French. Can I still get a job?
Yes there are many jobs available in the French Alps that do not require French language skills. In fact, a pre-requisite for many jobs is English, as many of the guests or customers come from English speaking backgrounds or do not speak French.
However, speaking some French will make finding a job much easier. Due to the difficult economic situation and high unemployment in France and Europe at the moment, there are many job seekers and therefore there is high competition for jobs. Those applicants that have a working knowledge of French are the first to receive job offers. Many employers require at least a minimum Level 1 of French. If you don’t speak any French, we highly recommend enrolling in a French course before departure or on arrival.
Q: Do I need work experience?
Previous work experience in one of the following areas is essential; retail, ski rental, cooking/catering, hotel, bar, restaurant, cleaning or driving. Many chalet jobs require driving skills. As most vehicles in the mountains are manual, the ability to drive manual is normally required.
Q: How much will I be paid?
Pay is normally minimum wage, but can increase with more experience and skills you have. The minimum wage in France is 9.40 Euros per hour gross. Around 15% social charges are deducted from this. All salaries are paid at the end of the month. Good chalet hosts can earn tips from guests, often up to 100 Euros a week extra. Chalet companies will generally provide shared accommodation, food, a lift pass and equipment for the season. However the pay isn’t that much as these extras are deducted from the minimum wage. Most people aim to break even while working a ski season. It is possible to save money, but if you go out socialising every night, then most likely you will have to dip into your savings.
Q: What are the best jobs to maximise time on the slopes?
In the French Alps, shops generally open 9am – 12:30pm and 3:30pm – 8pm every day. Some shops will be open all day on the weekends. This gives you the opportunity to ski almost every day.
Night jobs such as bar or restaurant work will generally provide most days to ski.
Chalet workers will normally have 1 day off per week and should be able to ski from late morning into the afternoon every other day, except for the guest changeover day, when there is normally no time to ski. Set up and training at the beginning of the ski season and close down of the chalets at the end of the ski season generally provides less time to ski.
Q: I have a European or UK passport. Can you still find me a job?
Yes. If you have a European or UK passport you can skip the visa process as you have full work rights in France.
Q: What can I expect for accommodation?
If accommodation is included in the job, you will almost always be sharing a room with at least 1 other person (of the same sex) and often in a bunk bed. You will be very lucky if you get your own room. The cost of the accommodation will be deducted from your pay.
If you are finding your own accommodation, it can be expensive as seasonal accommodation is limited in the ski resorts in the French Alps. To cut costs the best options are normally small shared studios or 1 bedroom apartments with 2 to 4 people. We will help you every step of the way.
In the end, it is all about where you are, the people you meet and the experience of living in the mountains. During the days you will work and ski and there are normally plenty of options for socialising in the evenings – so not really much time spent in your accommodation.
Q: Can’t I just organise my own trip?
It would be good if it was that simple. It is very hard to organise a job and accommodation if you don’t know where you are going and what the work conditions and facilities are like. France has rising unemployment as a result of the European debt crisis, making competition for jobs much higher and positions in ski resorts much harder to secure. You may get lucky, but it may go terribly wrong. Plus you will need adequate ski travel insurance and there are certain conditions and requirements to obtain the French Working Holiday Visa. At Ski Jobs France, we have years of experience and refined programs: we want to share our knowledge. We have created a hassle free program which can make what seems impossible, a reality.
We will help you every step of the way including:
Resume and interview tips relevant to France
Guaranteed job in a ski resort in France
Assistance finding accommodation, if not included in the job
Discounts on the best ski travel insurance
A step by step guide to obtaining a French working holiday visa
Access to the cheap flights
Assistance arranging transfers to resorts
French Tips: Information to open a bank account and the best mobile service/calling cards to use
Access to cheap or free season passes
And most importantly, having the time of your life! Living in the French Alps!
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