Ski resort jobs Europe
By: Gerry Aldridge (justin) 2011.12.28
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TOP 10 SKI RESORTS IN THE WORLD (according to askmen.com)
10. Aspen, CO
9. Cortina, Italy
8. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
7. Stowe, Vermont
6. Chamonix - Mont Blanc, France
5. Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta
4. Vail, CO
3. Zermatt, Switzerland
2. Kitzbuhel, Austria
1. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
"We don't have all day, you know!" the chef screams at me at my ski resort jobs Europe, as beads of sweat trickle down through the crevices of his face. He swings around sharply, his hands meet mine in mid-air, and, like a relay runner, he neatly plucks the newly washed pot he so vitally needs from my fingers. In this one instance, plongeur and grand chef unite in battle, and become the ultimate team at a ski station in the French Alps.
Of course, I didn't work all winter in steaming gray dishwater just to bond with a cranky master chef, or to learn new recipes and earn a reasonable paycheck. Those were all mere side benefits - I was there for the fresh, soul-cleansing powder of Mont Blanc.
Imagine: four months of continuous skiing, a bit of hard work, and a bundle of cash at the end of it. Realize: there's heavy competition for the jobs, so arrive in mid-November to begin searching and networking. I began my search by registering with a local job center, l'Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi (anpe.fr), from which I managed to wheedle the addresses of two restaurants looking for dishwashers in Megeve, a fairy-tale cluster of chalets nestled at the foot of the Alps near Chamonix. Both jobs, however, had been taken by the time I got there. The promise of pow kept me going, though, and with a little perseverance and a lot of walking from hotel to restaurant to hotel to restaurant, I got lucky at the Old Megeve, a rustic restaurant smack in the middle of town.
Washing dishes at a ski station is actually the best job in a restaurant if your primary goal is to go skiing or snowboarding. After the critical lunch rush, the plongeur and the chef are usually the first to leave; fewer hours in sudsy water equals more afternoons on the slopes. Plongeurs make less than waiters (about $1,000 per month), but who cares? My ski pass cost next to nothing because I was a saisonier, my skis came from the rental shop down the road, and my boss gave me a cool apartment to share with one of the waiters. By the spring, I had enough cash to keep traveling, but more important, I'd perfected my mogul technique.
Photo by Lonely Planet Images