Starting a job in a new resort is somewhat more involved than starting a new job in many other professions. Mainly because in other professions your job doesn’t revolve around knowing the place like the back of your hand, or often being in a completely new country. As I went about my season, there were several things I realised I could have done before heading out that would have made me feel that little bit more secure and in the know.
Welcome to the guest blog from Ori Lister from skiinstructordiaries.com
Check out my 7 thoughts, how do they compare to yours?
1. Learn the resort map
Now a days it’s incredibly easy to jump online and find a decent resort map of your new work place. If it’s a huge location you will probably struggle to memorise the map, and even in smaller resorts transferring your map knowledge to snowy runs can sometimes not be all that simple. However having at least a rough idea of where things are on the mountain, and the best routes to get down/back to base, will make that initial orientation that much easier for you. If you can learn where most the bathrooms on the mountain are your guests will thank you for it later!
2. Message people who worked there last season
Talking to someone with hands on experience can be utterly invaluable, whether they let you know the best pizza spot in town, or just give you a better idea of what to expect, having the chance to chat is something we should all be keen for. The easiest way I’ve found is to hop onto instagram and search by location, scroll through enough posts with your resort tagged and you’ll find the instructors. All you can do is pop over a message and ask! We’re a friendly bunch.
3. Try and find people working there this season
Now this one is harder than finding someone who has already worked there before. Unless there are official facebook groups for your workplace, your best bet is to just post into ski/snowboard job groups asking if anyone’s working there this season. It can help to be able to match a name with a face and if you’re both from the same home country, travelling together can make it seem that bit less intimidating. I found G months before we went to Argentina together, if I hadn’t had reached out and messaged her first who knows if this site would exist today!
4. Find out your work and dorm situation
Before I had even left for my season, one of my friends already wanted to come visit around Christmas time. Because I was contracted and entitled to holiday days I naively expected to be able to book those days off and just have them stay in my dorms. In retrospect my brain was FAR from engaged and should have known I would have NEVER gotten those peak days off, but at the time I just didn’t think that much about it. When I realised that wasn’t going to happen I soon also realised my dorm rules were strict, no guests past certain hours and all that jazz. So before you go making arrangements for people to come visit, get a rough idea of how time off at your job works and what your regulations are, save yourself the embarrassment down the line.
5. Attempt to learn a little of their language
Despite being in Japan I was in a mainly English speaking resort. Over my season I picked up hello, good morning,thank you, yes and let’s go. That was it. Looking back I am ashamed that I didn’t put more effort in to respecting my host country. I wish I had learnt just a little bit more Japanese before I had left the UK, I have found that no matter where I go in the world, the very effort of trying to converse in the locals language will be seen as respectful. I’m not saying we should all get fluent, that we have to be perfect, but it would have been nice to have been able to know a few more phrases to bust out and have a better basis to pick up some in the future and be able to properly thank and respect my local colleagues.
6. Planned my workouts accordingly
Before I left for Japan I was always working out. I’d cycle for a couple of hours every other day, focus on my mobility and lower core strength. I thought I could just keep it up on my season and didn’t make a plan to maintain my mobility and fitness. We had a completely free gym for use whenever we weren’t working and I stepped in it maybe twice. Mostly because I hadn’t even thought about how I would go about maintaining my level of fitness when I was on my feet skiing all day. Next season I will be planning shorter mobility and flexibility sessions I can fit around my lessons, and change from stamina focused to power and intensity focused, shorter sessions that I can make work with my busy schedule.
7. Thought about what I’d miss from home
When you’re diving head first into a new experience the last thing on your mind is the little things you will be leaving behind. If you haven’t been out of your home country for any considerable length of time you might not even realise what little things you will come to miss! After a couple of months abroad I had intense cravings for marmite, only satisfied by buying and shipping a couple of jars to where I was working, at a ridiculous price I might add. Bringing along small items can really help combat homesickness or just satisfy those cravings that come about! Whether its friends and family you bring along in picture form, hobbies you can alter to do abroad, or just your favourite snack, the worst that will happen is it stays unopened.
Many thanks to Ori for her fantastic blog and we hope it inspires you to look for a job in a ski resort … Good Luck