Updated: Oct 28, 2020
You've managed to figure out a way to get around Brexit (if that applies), you've weighed up a Winter in an office with stricter Covid restrictions constantly looming vs waking up in the Alps and you've got a job sorted for the winter... but what's next? We've got some 'Essential' Tips for you- keep reading to the end of the article to find some useful things to take!
How you season will be very much depends on the Country and Resort that you end up in, as well as the job that you get. However, we have some general tips from our many European seasons to help a newbie to find their feet. Whether you're reading this for yourself, a friend or a relative, we hope it can bring you some insight and help with the preparation to make sure you have the best time possible.
1. Make sure that you have Insurance
It's not fun but the most important point. Particularly because of the times we live in, it is ESSENTIAL to make sure that you have proper insurance. Every long-time Seasonaire will have a few stories to tell about people that they've known who have skipped out on paying for the very boring but extremely important cover for their Winter. Whether you end up in an accident or not often has absolutely nothing to do with your ability on, or off, the piste. They are called accidents for a reason and I've been skied into many times over the years. It's also exceptionally common for people to slip and fall, causing an injury, just walking around town- particularly after Apres Ski. Make sure that you get cover for Off Piste and the Park if you intend to use it. Know the terms and conditions and tell someone how they can find your insurance details in case you're in a very serious accident.
Some Resorts have Seasonaire cards which include Mountain Rescue but not necessarily your Medical Expenses. Read the fine print and be sure of what you're covered for.
2. Save (or borrow) some money for your first month
Many Businesses and Tour Operators in European Resorts start their staff in mid-November. It's very common, however, for those staff not to be paid until the end of December. That means you have to make it through a month and a half without getting a salary. Not only do you need to think about Food, Beer and other Essentials, but you have Christmas and New Years Eve in that time. So plan ahead to make sure that you can enjoy the festive period and don't need to stress about eating.
3. Your work team will (probably) become your family
This is often the case with Tour Operator teams as they generally hire young staff. Bar Staff and other Season Workers often form very tight knit crews too. Don't be worried about not making friends or being left out. The people you work and live with will get to know you very fast (and vice versa) so you don't need to stress about loneliness. Due to the generally cramped accommodation and intense work patterns, you will get to know more about the people you spend your season with than you ever expected.
4. What about Equipment?
If you already have your own equipment (Skis/Board/Boots)- lucky you! Make friends with some people who work in Ski Shops so that you can pay them with beer to service your Skis or Board for you. If you don't, then don't worry as most Jobs or Resorts organise contracts with a local hire whop for Season Workers to access equipment for free or extremely cheaply.
If you are going out for the season but have a limited budget, I recommend investing in your own boots rather than Board or Skis. Your feet will thank me. You'll be able to get something half decent to ride at the beginning of the season and then upgrade later when you can find a good deal.
If you're new to Skiing or Snowboarding, then you really don't need to be too concerned with the quality of equipment that you have while you learn. Ever heard the term, "all the gear and no idea"? Don't be that person. You'll be too busy having fun to notice anyway!
5. Lift Pass
Some Resorts have a Season Pass Price for Workers- sounds great, right? But often they will not allow you to get your pass without your Work Contract and it happens fairly regularly that employers do not give out Contracts until the first day of work which can sometimes be after the Lifts have already opened. Double check on Facebook Groups, with your experienced contacts or ask you employer what the situation is so you can be prepared when you get there. It can often take a Lift Pass office a few days to process all of the passes for the Workers so bear that in mind too. We hate to be the 'bringer of bad news' but if knowing this in advance means that you can make it up on the mountain for opening day then it's worth it!
Useful things to take:
• Secret Santa Present - guaranteed there will be a Secret Santa at work and it's much easier/cheaper to buy a present outside of a Ski Resort
• Fancy Dress Outfit - there will be multiple occasions where this is handy
• Passport Sized Photos - Sometimes you need them for Loyalty Cards, Seasonaire Cards, Passes... just take a couple in case
• Lip Balm - You'll need it, always lose them and can really just never have enough
• Travel Sized Toiletries - Just take enough for the first few days and then order proper sized products to arrive once you've arrived. It saves on all important luggage space/weight!\
Hit us up with any questions or comments! We'd love to hear if any of these Tips are useful and what else you would like to hear from us.