Alex Regan, having left University, is on his first season as a chalet host in the resort of Les Gets, France.
Alex, can you tell us about a typical day as a chalet host?
I was a flexi chalet host at the start of the season so helped out in various chalets for whoever especially needed help. We had a big problem with food distribution as a lot of the time the hosts got the wrong amount of food or the incorrect ingredients. My job then changed to stores co-ordinator.
A typical day as a chalet host is roughly as follows:
- 7am arrive at chalet and prepare breakfast
- 8am serve breakfast
- 8.30am Start food prep for evening dinner service
- 10am Clean all bedrooms and bathrooms and make sure chalet is clean and tidy
- 11.30-4pm Ski!
- 4pm Prep for evening dinner service which includes 2 canapés and a 3 course meal
- 7.30pm Serve canapés and aperitif. Dinner at 8pm
- 9pm Finish clearing dinner and make sure kitchen area is clean
On transfer day: All workers will start work anytime between 5am-6.30am depending on guest flights. This day involves turning around the whole chalet so it looks 'new as it is in the brochure' before the next set of guests arrive at around midday that same day. This is a long day as it can be solid work from 5am-9pm without any breaks.
What qualifications do you need?
In terms of qualifications, for a chalet host you need to have some cooking experience. Some were asked to go on the company's cooking course before doing the season (a mere £500!) of which £250 is returned if you complete the season.
I found the job through natives.co.uk which most ski companies advertise through. You can also look at Workaseason.com which is one big company including Esprit/Ski Total/Inghams.
Do you get much time on the slopes?
On a typical day, a chalet host should get 4 hours of skiing which is more than enough as the job is so tiring in itself, let alone with skiing. Childcare workers tend to get less ski time as they work through the day but have more time off in the evenings.
"A chalet host should get 4 hours of skiing which is more than enough as the job is so tiring in itself."
I've got to say the best part about my job is the skiing. That's the reason I came out here and I do get to ski a fair bit. About 3/4 hours a day and all day on day off. Most people tend to ski about half the time they're off as we need rest sometimes. It's also great to work with people of a similar age who are all there for the same reason as you. It reminds me of my 1st year of university living with each other and going out at night.
And the worst bits...?
The worst bits about it are the hours we have to work. I have enjoyed my season but the work is worsened by the fact the our wage is something like 27 pence an hour. Our main pay is the ski pass/ski hire, food and accommodation.
I work in Les Gets but my lift pass also covers Morzine and Avoriaz.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in a ski resort?
Go with a small company who aren't so driven by profit and budgets. Apply to individual chalets and restaurants as long as you have accurate information about the work you will have to do. If you are good at handy work, be a maintenance man as they seem to never do any work! Ski resorts are great places and if you love skiing I would recommend it. I know it's difficult but it's important that you find a job abroad that doesn't mar your enjoyment of doing a ski season too much.
I Did It: Alex Regan
Alex, 22, comes from Potters Bar just north of London and finished uni last Summer at Southampton. With a music degree under his belt, Alex is still looking for a job within that area.