It's tough to become a really good skier when you only do it for one week or at best two weeks each year. It's easy if you spend a whole season in the mountains. Except for those who are carelessly wealthy, the best way to do that is to get a job in a resort. The pay is lousy: £100 a week or less for a lowly, ski-bum's job. But you will be housed, fed, and most importantly given a season-long lift pass.
The short cut to researching the employment possibilities is to log on to www.natives.co.uk, "the season workers' website". It deals to a limited extent with summer work, including ski-resort jobs in the southern hemisphere: posted on its pages early this week were a couple of vacancies for chalet staff (with "positive, outgoing personalities", and work permits) at Mount Potts Alpine Lodge in New Zealand. But the focus is mainly on winter employment in the Alps.
Now, towards the end of the season, is the worst time for seeking resort work; but the site has a job-finding service, where personal details and requirements can be entered in anticipation of the start of the hiring season, in May. In the meantime, job-seekers can study the interview tips offered. Punctuality is obviously a weak point among ski staff: the mantra "Be on time!" is repeated three times. For those wanting to approach employers direct, the site also has contact details for 200 ski operators.
Even skiers who have no plans to move to the mountains will find that the site provides a diverting insight into the after-hours culture of ski-bumming. There is a "nearest McDonald's" index (30 minutes from Val d'Isère, 45 from Méribel) in its resort guides, a list of high-altitude cybercafés, and a page of "worst chat-up lines". Not even an excess of alcohol can excuse most of them, although there is something to be said for "I'm fighting the urge to make you the happiest woman on earth", overheard in Dick's Tea-Bar at Val d'Isère.Reuse content