Do you have any advice on getting work in an Alpine resort? I have just finished my degree and although I don't speak French, I have worked in the hospitality sector as a chef.

Tom Bell

by e-mail

The travel editor writes: The Ski Club of Great Britain (tel: 0181-410 2009) produces the Alpine Employment Fact Sheet, which lists the types of work available, from washing-up to being a tour rep, and gives contacts for relevant tour operators. It is updated several times a season and gives general advice, details on resorts and recommends books. The fact sheet is free to members, pounds 2 to non-members (tel: 0181-410 2015).

Many of France's top resorts are purpose-built with self-catering accommodation, so there is less scope for casual work in restaurants or bars, and ski bums generally fund their season in France working as chalet maids or tour reps. But the pay is generally better in France than in other countries.

Some of the older Alpine resorts, such as Chamonix and Morzine, with less self-catering accommodation and more apres-ski, may offer better opportunities for hospitality work. Competition for jobs is fierce and a command of the French language is essential - both to secure a job and to enjoy yourself while there. There are many English bars in Meribel and Val d'Isere where French would not be essential, but you must get your CV in early to start work in November or December as these jobs are very popular and often taken up by the same clique every year.

Austria joined the European Union in 1995, so EU residents can turn up and find a job on the spot. Hotel work is plentiful and local tourist boards provide lists of hotels. The official line for those wishing to work in Switzerland is that they must first obtain a job and then the employer must apply for a work permit (valid up to nine months per year). The Swiss police make regular checks at ski resorts, so illegal work is hard to find.

A comprehensive, practical guide book is Working in Ski Resorts - Europe & North America by Victoria Pybus (Vacation Work pounds 10.99).