On-Resort Guide Season Tips: Settling into Your Resort
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and you’re jetting off to start your season….The first few days fly by in a blizzard of discovering your resort, meeting people (and then awkwardly forgetting their names), getting your skis and lift pass and trying out the slopes for the first time, training for your job and familiarizing yourself with a new world. The beginning is sure to be a fantastic and unforgettable time where it seems that nothing is planned, there’s always something to do with events just rolling on one after the next, and sleep is certainly at a premium. But how do you go about maximizing the first month or so?
Given you’ve chosen to work a season the chances are you’ve skied or boarded before and have been to resorts in other countries, so the environment won’t be entirely foreign to you. Even so, you may never have been to this resort before or even lived abroad for an extended period, and you probably don’t know anyone there either. Nevertheless, you’ve committed to working for 5 months, so throw yourself in at the deep end and get involved in things from day one.
Even before you’ve unpacked your gear, get to know your roommates, colleagues and employers as these are the people you’ll be spending a lot of time with. Start off on a positive note, make a good impression and people will want to get to know you. Making friends is never easy but the majority of people starting their season are in the same boat as you which is a great advantage.
Outside of your workplace, the best way to meet others is to head down to the local bars where most seasonaires will socialize and you’ll find start of the season events advertised. I went on ESF-hosted seasonaire skiing trips around resort a couple of days after arriving and it was brilliant to get out and discover the slopes, meet other seasonaires and get some tips from ski instructors for free! Then in the evenings there was live music and fancy dress parties to break the ice and get stuck into – I seem to remember the beach wear themed one sounded great but was highly regretted at 2am on the walk home!
The beginning of a new adventure is always intense with so many things to do, people to meet and jobs to learn about. You should make the most of the party atmosphere and have the time of your life, but remember that burning yourself out before the season proper starts isn’t the best of ideas. Yes, definitely enjoy yourself but make sure you’re still capable of functioning and working a full day, especially if you have a client-facing role!
Money is another important thing to take into consideration, and whilst I wholeheartedly recommended maximizing your first month in this exciting environment, try to keep an eye on your spending especially when out in the evenings. Seasonaire wages are rarely overgenerous and blowing it all even before you get your first salary isn’t clever, particularly if you think you’ll need to invest in new snow shoes, gloves, ski boots etc – even with seasonaire discounts they don’t come cheap.
Talking about equipment and skiing, try not to bite off more than you can chew in the first few weeks. If you haven’t hit the slopes for a while or aren’t in the best of shape, start off slowly, you don’t want to go injuring yourself and you’ll have plenty of time after the first few weeks to master jumps and tricks. What’s more, alcohol and skiing/boarding don’t mix well – I won’t give you all the details of one novice skier who had a few too many and decided to head up the mountain, didn’t tighten their ski boots properly and promptly broke their ankle.
Something else worth bearing in mind is that unless you’re working in the USA or Canada, the likelihood is that English won’t be the native language although it will be spoken to some degree by most workers in resort. A simple ‘Bonjour, ça va?’ (or the equivalent!) goes a long way and if you can pick up some of the language then you’ll double the number of people you can speak to and make friends with.
All in all, have fun! Whether it’s on the pistes, in the town or whilst working, be positive, enjoy yourself, and start as you mean to go on.