Ski Resort Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Education requirements vary depending on the facility and type of work involved, though most resorts expect at least a high school diploma for their entry-level positions. High school courses that will be helpful include general business, mathematics, speech, and physical education. Learning a foreign language should also be helpful, since many foreign visitors vacation at American ski resorts.

Postsecondary Training

Many resorts prefer to hire college students as seasonal help. Management positions usually require a college degree. Some institutions offer degrees in ski industry management. For example, Sierra Nevada College offers a bachelor's degree in ski business and resort management. Lyndon State College awards a bachelor's degree in mountain recreation management. And Northern Michigan University/Gogebic Community College offer a joint associate degree in ski area management. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Entry-level jobs such as clerks, wait staff, and ski lift operators do not require certification. However, you must be certified to qualify as a professional ski or snowboard instructor. Certification is provided by the Professional Ski Instructors of America–American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Certification consists of skill tests, further education, and on-the-job experience. Satisfactory completion of a certification exam is also required. Ski instructors must be re-certified every one to two years, depending on the region in which they teach. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to work in entry-level positions, but those with prior work experience will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and possibly earning higher pay. High-level positions, such as nurse or executive, require previous work experience.

All employees, especially those who deal with customers, are a reflection of the resort for which they work. Different jobs call for different qualities in a worker. Responsibility is key when working the ski lift, as is tact when confronting troublesome skiers. Ski instructors need to be physically fit, as well as patient and understanding with their students. Ski patrol members must be able to react quickly in emergencies and have the foresight to spot potential trouble situations.

Workers who speak a second language will have an advantage. Many ski enthusiasts from South America travel to the United States for world-class skiing, so workers who are fluent in Spanish or Portuguese will have good job prospects. Most positions can be altered to accommodate employees who are physically challenged. It is best to check with each resort to learn their policies and employee requirements.