Smart Moves: Get stuck into snow business

AS ANYONE who has ever managed the staff in a ski resort will know, the fantasy of working in a glamorous-sounding place for five months - shimmying down the slopes in a daily whoosh of powder and putting in the odd half-hour to keep the chalet looking tidy - is far from the reality.

While working a season in the Alps is still a popular choice for teenagers and graduates, there are others for whom it has been a life-changing experience. Some even say that, far from marking them out as unconcerned or lazy about their career paths, working at a holiday resort provided lessons which have been foundational, and even unobtainable in a more ordinary management position.

A chalet girl or boy earns up to pounds 330 per month with a company such as Skiworld - ski pass and accommodation are thrown in for free. Reps, who lead ski groups on the slopes, earn up to pounds 350. A resort manager, managing up to 30 staff and a budget of thousands, can earn pounds 575 per month, plus a hefty end-of-season bonus.

Most don't have the intention of going on to a career in the travel and tourism industry, says Diane Palumbo, sales and managing director of Skiworld and a former rep. After two winters on the slopes, she began working for Club Europe and then for the Youth Hostel Association, moving to her present job last year. "The first problem you encounter is that your staff are spaced out all over the resort, up to 40 minutes' walk away. Being based in the office now, I am conscious of how I used to feel," she says. "It's hard if you don't have a sense of being close to the decision- making process, or feel supported. You're managing staff, motivating and monitoring them. I was away from head office, and you are never sure of your limits of responsibility. It was a huge learning curve."

The resort worker's day is a long one, with chalet staff starting at 7am to prepare breakfast for up to 12, followed by a long round of cleaning, administration and shopping. Ms Palumbo found she became good at prioritising and time management. "You get focused at getting through the workload," she says.

Her former colleague Emma Heath agrees. "Things never run smoothly; people get lost or injured. We were all responsible for sorting out problems. And even though you're cooking the same meals, you have to be able to prepare it all on time." Sometimes she wishes she could go back out for another season.

The slopes can also be a demanding arena for practising "people" skills. "Customer service is absolutely crucial. Every week your external clients change; you have 100 new agendas, faces, expectations, methods of communication and priorities.

Perhaps the greatest test comes when circumstances threaten to capsize a customer's holiday. "When you are having to tell someone that the police have been called [because of an accident], and you've got a good idea of what's going on, you know you have to be ready with practical suggestions."

But was there any time left in such a hectic management schedule to enjoy the blue skies, crisp powder and breathtaking runs? Ms Palumbo concludes that the scenery outside is just an added incentive to polish off your quota of chores. "If you're good at your job, you can do it."

For more information on working in a resort, contact Skiworld (tel: 0171 602 4826).

Suggested Topics
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?