Bar jobs in ski resorts and how to get one

Bar jobs in a ski resort : how to get one and what to expect

Riding all day in powder then working in the evening , with live bands and great mates … sounds perfect ? There’s a whole lot more to working as bar staff in the alps then just pouring pints and having a great time.

So you turn up in resort and there’s snow on the ground , you can’t wait to get your pass and hit the slopes  .. HANG ON A MINUTE !

What you can expect in those first few heady days in the snow

To get your ski pass you’re going to need your new boss to provide you with your contract , and lets face it they are probably mega busy right now.Don’t expect it to be put in your hand the second you arrive .If there is snow on the terrace the best thing you can do is ask your boss if they want it cleared and start digging … always seems like fun for the first hour ( just try doing it in a blizzard at midnight ) , once you have teamed up with some of your new work buddies and shifted some neige ( try not to put it on next doors terrace !) the boss will probably have printed your contract off and signed it , you just need to scoot to the lift pass office with your readies and all the paperwork and you are off ..OR ARE YOU ?

Realities of bar job in the alps Bar job staff day off

Well you kinda thought you would be doing shifts from say 7pm til close 6 days a week so you could get some serious park time in , BUT in reality working/riding and partying will burn you out in 2 weeks flat , plus the bar is open from 10am …so they need you to cover shifts over lunch / apres ski and evenings ( the classic triple split shift ) .

To be honest even working day shifts can be great , if its dumped then throw your work gear in a backpack and hit first lift and do a few loops on the nearest chair/bubble lift , then fly into work and get grafting. You will be the one with the biggest smile on your face all day taking the first lines before half the resort actually got on the slopes .

Bar job responsibilities clearing snow from chalet

So what can you expect in terms of work , well most bar/restaurants need you to be able to multi task , so don’t expect to be hanging round serving drinks if the kitchen is flat out .Be prepared to jump in with the KP’s and help wash up ( plonge !) , ask chefs if anything needs chopping /peeling etc .. the chefs can be your best buddies ! If its snowing then get ready with the snow shovels and move blackboards in so they don’t get wrecked etc. Stock rooms need tidying , stock checks need doing , glasses polished , Vin Chaud making , Knives & Forks polishing , restaurant mopping .. TOILETS CLEANING … yep you name it and you will be doing it …” if there’s time to lean , there’s time to clean ”  … but when the band kicks off and the beers / jagers are flowing then the bar is the best place on earth to work !

Nothing beats that feeling at the end of the night when you have just persuaded the last punter to go home after a staggeringly busy night , you all look at each other and think S**T did we just get through that ?! The stories all come out about who left with who , and which chalet girl is not going to make it up for work in the morning etc etc

Of course then you guys need to grab a beer at the local club and do it all for yourselves ….. but don’t forget , lifts open at 9am and you are on a split shift tomorrow !!

Take a look at these positions on the site right now :

Bar Staff Courchevel 

Bar Staff Les Arcs

Bar Staff Wengen

Bar Staff France

Latest jobs are all found HERE

The most extreme ski runs in Europe

The Most Extreme Ski Runs in Europe

Extreme Skiing

The very best thing about working in a ski resort is that you get to hit the slopes during your time off. However if you’ve been riding for a number of years then you might find that your usual red runs just don’t seem as challenging as they used to be. But just where do you go if you want to test your ski skills to the max? We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most extreme ski runs in Europe, which should only be attempted by the very bravest among you. But remember, conditions play a big part in all of this. With fresh powder they become much simpler, but after a few days of clear skies they turn into truly terrifying ice fields. Read on to find out why only the best skiers head to these European runs.

The Champagne Run, Alpe d’Huez, FranceChampagne run Alpe Dhuez

 

This one isn’t for the fainthearted. With 2,200m to ski down from the Pic Blanc, the Champagne Run is a real test of endurance that’ll take about half an hour if you do it without stopping. You’ll go through a mix of blacks and reds and the famous Le Tunnel run, but be prepared for some heavy snow on the lower slopes. Why’s it called the Champagne Run? Because if you finish it then you definitely deserve a drink to celebrate!

The Lauberhorn-Wengen, SwitzerlandLauberhorn Wengen

The 2500m summit makes this downhill course the longest in the world, with 4.5kms to have fun on. The famous Lauberhorn race is hosted here, where pro skiers regularly reach 160km per hour! There are also a number of challenges along the course, including the Hundschopf, a scary 130-foot jump over a rock nose. The Lauberhorn-Wengen should definitely only be attempted by seasoned skiers who have spent years perfecting their skills.

Grand Couloir, Courchevel, FranceGrand Couloir Courchevel

Courchevel might be best known for its stunning luxury ski chalets, but it also hosts one of the trickiest ski runs in Europe. To get to the Grand Couloir you need to follow a narrow gutter formed by the passage of other skiers, which makes it extremely difficult to get through. There are also big drops either side, and the entry to Grand Couloir is around 35 degrees, so you need to be prepared!

Harakiri-Mayrhofen, AustriaExtreme Ski harakiri mayerhofen

This Austrian slope has an average incline of 78%, making it the steepest in the country. It’s only 150m long, but many a skier has ended up falling over the finish line after a number of high impact tumbles. If you make it to the end you’ll be cheered by a cheering section of ski fans, and you’ll have the bumps and bruises to prove it!

La Chavanette, Avoriaz, FranceExtreme Ski La Chavanette Avoriaz

This famous piste stands on the Swiss-French border close to Avoriaz and includes a 331m vertical drop. It starts with a 50m narrow pass, before leading on to two rocky outcrops which are 10m apart. La Chavanette is also referred to as a Swiss Wall, which should tell you everything you need to know about its difficulty!

If you’re looking to work in a ski resort and you’re after something a bit more exciting then try one of these destinations, we’re sure the thrillseekers amongst you will definitely agree!

Ski chalet host , a day in the life (part 1)

A day in the life of a chalet host

What is it really like to be a ski chalet host in the alps?

6:30am and the alarm’s going off , turn that racket off ! Then the phone alarm starts going ( always good to  have two alarms , especially after last nights antics ) .A quick view of myself in the mirror versus time left for a shower means it’s on with the company beanie ,get dressed and run round to the chalet .

YES it’s snowing big pizza flakes , which is a double edged sword as I am going to have to dig my way into the chaletchalet host digging snow  . So 10 minutes later and with a little help from the baker as he delivered the morning baguettes and I am into my chalet.I discover the guests had a little party last night , clearly wine & cheese was on “their” menu . Anyhow , get on with it and it’s:

  • Porridge on the hob
  • Eggs boiling ( 6 minutes for a soft egg at this altitude)
  • Cereals / jam & bread out
  • Coffee on (thank god)
  • Started baking the afternoon tea ,today it’s going to be lemon drizzle cake

And it’s only 7:45am ! If it all goes smoothly I be out by 10:30.The mountains are calling me .

The next 60 minutes are all about getting the guests fed , and out of the ski chalet. It’s all about making sure the breakfast fills them up , they find all the lost goggles/gloves/children and piste maps. Do they know where they are meeting the ski guide ?  have a great day guys and see you in the bar for après ski !

Finally you have the chalet to yourself

So with the chalet empty , turn up the dodgy French radio and get cleaning bogs & beds , clean breakfast , lay the table for afternoon tea , order more wine from the chalet manager for tonight ( naughty guests !) ,sweep , mop , clear more snow !

10:40am and I am outta here , text my mates , ski gear on sharpish , sandwich made and stuffed in my ski jacket . If you can accomplish all that and make it on the hill by 11am , that’s a winner.

Time to hit the slopes

You now get to spend the day with your buddies  riding the slopes and face-planting in powderface-plant in the snow .Digging myself out of tree holes , eating a squashed sandwich on a freezing chairlift , a quick vin chaud , more  laps of our fav tree run then a little cheeky après ski for an hour ( really wish I had peeled all the veg for tonight !)

To be continued in part 2

mid-season blues

If you have got the mid-season blues then read on

So by round about this time of the ski season you are just about sick of the following :

  • queueing for lifts with all the french kids on holiday
  • cooking the same menu week in – week out
  • your boss (!)
  • not having any clean clothes
  • the same shifts
  • listening to the same old stories round the dinner table in the chalet
  • I could go on and ON … but then that would only depress you

But on the other hand lets think about what is left of the ski season

  • lifts are open later …. so your days off a way better plus you can squeeze an extra half hour in the park before work !
  • Spring snow is just the best ,chase it around the mountain all day long but be careful
  • the suns gonna come out ,honest
  • picnic time on the slopes ,time to fill a backpack with wine cheese n bread and head to a sunny spot on the hill
  • Apres bands start playing out on the terraces !! bring your own folie douce to life in resort
  • Start thinking about the summer ,where are you going ? Greek islands / Ibiza etc ,or are you heading for another winter down under ?
  • It’s a great time to be thinking about next years job, make sure you register at Cool Ski Jobs for job alerts !
  • End of ski season parties are just round the corner ,just dont hold one in your chalet if you have just completed the end of season deep clean .
  • La Tania charity day is coming too , so if you are in or near the three valleys get ready for the biggest booze up of the winter
  • once we have all packed our bags and found our way back home then The London Apres Party is the next best thing !

So chin up you lot , there are worse places to be working in life and trust me, the second its all over you will be craving for it to start again, don’t wish it all away, just enjoy the last 6 weeks and stay safe !

 

So if you want a job next ski season then make sure you Click here to register for job alerts , tweet with us on Twitter , Like us on Facebook  or come pin with us on Pintrest !

Christmas Dinner Top Tips

Ski Chalet Christmas dinnerCooking Christmas dinner in your ski chalet

Right then , do not panic ! Just because you are cooking your first Christmas lunch ever and you are doing it for 12 guests in a kitchen. I know you have only just walked into  it a week ago and its at altitude. We are here to help you get through it without waking up face down in a bar after getting the sack !

Top tips on cooking Christmas lunch

Christmas dinner checklistFirstly  you need to check you have everything you need so write a list. Work through the menu first, from canapes , starters , main course , pudding and then onto coffees. Break this down into everything you will need to complete each part of the menu. you will need to include everything from pots & pans ( is the roasting tray big enough ? ) to all the ingredients ( including oils , butters etc ) .

How do chefs get it right every time ?

The most important aspect of cookery is timing , this runs true from professional kitchens to the simple cafe and you are no different. So working backwards from what time you are expecting to have pudding build an image of what time the main course should be served. Remember to leave yourself time in between courses to clear away  and plate up the following course.

Now look at the timings for cooking the turkey

Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Hours
6 to 8 pounds2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours

Remember these times are for an un-stuffed turkey ( cook your stuffing separately its easier ) at sea level, so depending on your altitude you will need to increase these times. Always allow your turkey to rest for at least 90 minutes  before you carve it, in my opinion I would aim to cook the turkey in the morning once the guests have gone out skiing and you are tidying up after all the unwrapping of Xmas pressies. Make your gravy from the juices and any stock you have built up during the week . Reheating the turkey can be achieved in a roasting tin with some of the gravy covering the meat and tightly sealed with foil , place this in the oven about 60 minutes before you are going to serve it.

cooking Christmas sproutsCooking your Christmas vegetables

Sprouts are a must have on Christmas day , cook these the day before for 8-10 mins (depending on altitude ) and then plunge them straight into icy cold water to halt the cooking. Drain the sprouts and dry off nicely, store in a cling-filmed container and throw into boiling water for 2 minutes just before you serve the main course.

For your roast parsnips (panais in French) , par boil these before putting in the oven to roast , leave them in nice big pieces, that way if you leave them in a little too long they will not dry out .

Classic roast potatoes

There are a million recipes for the perfect roast potato, my trick is par boil in salted water for about 10 minutes , just enough so they give a little on the outer edge but are uncooked in the middle. Place them back in the dry pan and give a shake to fluff up the edges, sift a little flour over them as you shake them around, this will make them extra crispy. Place a large roasting tin in the oven with olive oil or goosefat ( if you can get it ) , add your potatoes to the red hot fat along with 5/6 bashed cloves of garlic and some sprigs of rosemary. Then whack ’em in the oven for a good 45 minutes on 220C for the first 20 minutes .Try to get a single even layer of potatoes ( use 2 trays if you have to) .

Final advice for Christmas day in your ski chalet

Make sure you get your table laid nice and early , that way you will stop the guests from  using it to play games etc , which could seriously mess up your timings .

Don’t start drinking too early ! believe me I have made that mistake, you do not want to ruin the guests  christmas and end up at chalet Gatwick for boxing day ! Remember that the guests are all having the best christmas. They have been skiing , had a couple of cheeky xmas apres ski drinkies and looking forward to a wonderful week with their family , so they are in a good mood. Just relax , run through your timings 2/3 times in your head .. add 5 minutes on here and there to allow for little mistakes and enjoy yourself.

Any problems just tweet us on Christmas day with the hashtag #Xmaspanic

 

How cool is cool ?

So you wanted the coolest job in the mountains , how about being a ski or snowboard instructor ?

spend the winter deep in the pow !

One great way to spending seasons in the powder is to hook up with an instructor school and spend the winter tweaking your skills and learning the ways of the mountain. Canada can offer a great way to kick start your instructor career and enable you to spend up to 5 months having the time of your life plus learning skills that can go on to be a lifetime  on the slopes.

There are several companies offering you the chance to live the dream , we spoke to Steve at The Wintersports Company over a beer at the ski show , Steve and his wife run this great little company and can give you the chance to make a start on the coolest of cool ski jobs  , with packages from 3 to 18 weeks , with accommodation , food and lift pass all included  ( plus your flights and transfers) , you can spend 5 hours a day  in lessons and push yourself hard to become a level 3 .. or take a more leisurely approach ..either way this could be the start of something big for you .

Day in the life of a chalet host PART 2

.. So après ski is just too good to leave , the guests are loving the live band and have bought me a couple of drinkies , I’ll just have “one more” then run back to the chalet .

Fortunately all the guests are still in the pub so I can quickly put away the afternoon tea .. Just leave the cake on the side and they can take some out on the hill tomorrow ; quickly lay the fire and get that roaring , nothing better after a great day on the mountain .

Running a teeny bit late means a readjustment of tonight’s menu , cheese on toast will be ok ..ha ha , I wish !

Peel the spuds , slice and into the dish with tons of garlic and the gratin dauphinoise can look after themselves ( top tip from an “old” chalet girl : put a tray with water in it under the gratin , as it bubbles over the tray will catch all the cream and not burn on the bottom of the oven , 30 minutes cleaning saved there !) .The boeuf bourgingnon was cooked yesterday and should just need a slow reheat and smells yummy , and to make things easy I’ll serve that with braised red cabbage , cos that can cook itself too !

Quick run home and get changed , making it back to the chalet in 20 mins , how come I could never get ready that quick in my old life in England ?

Guests are heading back and the sound of baths and showers may mean only one thing … Yep the electrics tripped off again , no panic as I lit the candles the moment I heard them all heading to the bathrooms , leccy is back on and we should be ok if everyone takes it in turns to get showered etc …just hope it hasn’t slowed the gratin down !!!!!

So dishing up around the table and the stories are flooding out of the days antics , how they allskied the couloirs in knee deep powder and how little timmy did a 360 without faceplanting ( shame) ; I seem to have the national ski team of Surrey here this week !

The old classic of banoffee pie is the all time favourite and it hits the spot big time , the ladies are all wolfing it down , after all they did do a full days skiing today so they deserve it( I swear I saw them shopping at lunchtime as I grab a beer with my mates) .

Dishwasher is on the third cycle since I got into the chalet at 5:30pm and I’m loading it again , my nails and hands are completely buggered from washing up , Ahh well who cares …what a day !

Well if any of the guests are up for it there’s a dub step night at the pub and i can hear it calling me ( along with my good friend for the season : Jagermeister !) …. See you all at 6:30am ..let’s do it all again tomorrow !