Everything You Need to Know About Ski Resort Jobs Australia
Updated on January 10th, 2020
Have you ever thought about working a snow season? Maybe you’re a keen skier or snowboarder and want to take your riding ability to the next level. Or maybe you’re backpacking around the country and want to earn some money at the same time. If so, the perfect thing for you to do is work one of the ski resort jobs in Australia at one of the amazing but underrated ski resorts. You may also want to consider working on an island on the Great Barrier Reef.
I learnt to ski in Australia and although I have now skied all over the world, (see guides on Lake Tahoe, California and Jasna, Slovakia) my heart will always hold a soft spot for skiing in Australia. When people ask me what the mountains are like; I tell them I’ve had some of my best days skiing here, there are so many days of sunshine, the terrain is challenging but also beginner-friendly, the community will welcome you with open arms and at night you can always find live music, a DJ or a themed party somewhere.
If you are interested in working one of the ski season jobs, read on for what you need to know about applying and working a snow job in Australia.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information on my disclaimer click here.
Everything you need to know about working ski resort jobs in Australia
When is the Australian ski season?
The Australian ski season officially kicks off the June long weekend. The Queen’s Birthday holiday changes year to year but is usually in the second week of the month. Australian snowfall can be quite unpredictable but assuming all is well with the snow gods, the season will run until the Labour Day Holiday in October. Which means you will have a solid 4 months of skiing and riding.
For most roles, employers will want their staff for training purposes as close to the June long weekend as possible. Demand for staff usually starts diminishing throughout the month of September, but if you want to stay until the end your employer can usually make that happen.
High season is most of July due to school holidays around the country. This year the school holidays fall between the 6th and 21st of July in NSW and the 29th of June to the 14th of July for VIC. Expect to work long, hard days during these dates and a week either side. Don’t worry though there will be plenty of time for riding outside of these dates.
The application process and when to apply
Applications for ski resort jobs in Australia open early February each year and close in April. If you miss this cut off you can apply for a private company, but these to will fill up before the season begins.
For the mountain operation positions, head to the websites listed below. Firstly, read through the descriptions about different roles and pick which jobs would suit you most. Don’t worry if you do not have experience in a certain role. Most of the positions available are suitable for people to learn on the job. Just arrive with a positive, can-do attitude and you’ll pick up the skills in no time. You do not need to decide who you want to work for straight away. Secondly, register and apply for a few resorts. As well as
What and where are the resorts?
Australia has 5 main ski resorts which accept both international and domestic applications. These major resorts are located in southern New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC) and are home to Australia’s highest peaks.
Where you can find ski resort jobs in Australia
Ski Resorts NSW, Australia
The two resorts in NSW; Thredbo and Perisher are located within the Kosciuszko National Park and form part of the Great Diving Range. Canberra is the closest city and is an easy two-hour drive north. Both Thredbo and Perisher are six hours drive southwest of Sydney. Most of the staff live 20-30 mins away from the resorts in the base town of Jindabyne. If you zoom in on the map you can see that Jindabyne sits on a lovely lake which is surrounded by Australian gum trees. Here you will find great snow sports shops and plenty of restaurants and nightlife. During the season there are often some big Australian artists and DJ’s who come through and perform.
Fun fact: Mount Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest peak and sits at 2,228m above sea level.
Getting here and to work
As most employees live in Jindabyne you have to find your own way up the mountain each day. There is no public bus and workers will either hitchhike or organise rides ahead of time with someone who has a car. If you foresee this being a problem for you, you are better off finding work in the Victorian ski resorts.
When I said I had a soft spot for the Australian ski resorts, where my heart really lies is in Thredbo. This mountain not only holds special memories for me as a child, but it is also is where I taught skiing as an adult.
Thredbo has the largest vertical change of any of the Australian resorts, which means the longest runs in the country. While the terrain is suitable for beginners to expert, it is the NSW resort which caters best to the advanced skiers and riders. Thredbo has a great apres-ski scene and a cute village with over 30 cafes, bars and restaurants. You will also find an indoor aquatic centre, shopping and walking trails.
What sets Thredbo apart:
Thredbo is a perfect sized resort to work at. Big enough that you will never get bored but small enough that the staff in each department become life long friends. There are parties throughout the season in the village or down in Jindabyne.
Apply for Thredbo jobs.
Perisher is the largest resort in Australia and is comprised of four interlinked sections. While there are some accommodation and dining facilities up at Perisher, the village is small and most visitors choose to stay in Jindabyne. Best suited for intermediate riders and boasts five terrain parks, one which can be accessed during weekly night riding sessions.
Save on having to drive up the mountain by riding the Perisher Ski Tube. Located before the entrance to the National Park the tube is an electric railway which cuts through the mountain range and straight to the resort.
What sets Perisher apart:
Over 3000 acres of skiable terrain makes Perisher the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. You’ll enjoy trying to explore as much of the four villages, Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggins and Guthega as you can.
Apply for Perisher jobs.
Ski Resorts Victoria, Australia
The three main resorts in Victoria are Falls Creek, Mount Buller and Mount Hotham and also makes up part of the Great Diving Range. Skiers and snowboarders will find something unique about each of the Victorian resorts. Most workers at the Victorian resorts live in the base villages which eliminates the need to drive to work daily, making it ideal for international employees. From Melbourne, the closest resort is Mount Buller which is a 3-hour drive and Falls Creek and Mount Hotham both take around 4.5 hours. As with NSW, it is compulsory to carry chains when driving in the mountains.
If you are arriving from overseas or interstate the easiest way to get to any of the Victorian ski resorts is to fly to Melbourne and take a coach. Mt Hotham and Falls Creek each have their own bus system while there are more options for getting to Mt Buller.
If you are after a one-stop village for the season, Falls Creek is your go-to resort. During a good snowfall year, the village becomes ski-in, ski-out. Cars must be parked at the base which makes the village pedestrian-only. With great bars, nightlife and happy hours, staff will enjoy many nights out after work. The terrain is great for beginners progressing to intermediate riders.
What sets Fall Creek apart:
Once you arrive in the village for the season, you have everything you need. Falls Creek is also the largest cross country ski area in Australia.
Apply for Falls Creek jobs.
Mt Buller is the closest resort to Melbourne which also makes it the busiest during the high season. For this reason, Buller has the greatest number of lifts in the state. The village is located in the valley offering spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the surrounding mountains.
⇒ See More: Complete g
uide to skiing in Jasna Slovakia
Each year Mt Buller hires over 800 winter season staff who make up the over 1/10th of the beds available on the mountain.
What sets Mt Buller apart:
Enjoy living in a large resort village at the base of the mountain. As a result, you have easy access around the village with the free ski buses that run throughout the season.
Apply for Mt Buller jobs.
Mt Hotham is Victoria’s highest ski resort, which increases the potential for more snow and better skiing during the not so great snow years. Known as the Victorian resort for keen riders, advanced skiers and boarders will have access to plenty of advanced and expert terrain in bounds and easy access to backcountry riding.
What sets Mount Hotham apart:
While most villages sit at the base of the resort, Mt Hotham is the opposite. From the village, you ski down into the resort and take the lifts back up at the end of the day.
Apply for Mt Hotham jobs.
What are my work options?
When doing a ski season, you have two options for ski resort jobs. Firstly, you can work for the mountain – by following the links above. Or secondly, you can work for a private company at the mountain.
Working for the mountain
There are quite a few perks to working for the mountain. To begin with, you are working for a large company which can come with bonuses like:
- Free ski pass
- Free or discounted lessons and rentals
- Discounts at the resort owned restaurants, bars and shops
- Events and parties for staff, including themed nights out, race days and dinners
- Access to employee housing
Each mountain will have a similar list of seasonal winter only positions. Some of these include:
- Administration and reception
- Daycare and ski school helpers
- Hotel – front office, housekeeping, food and beverage and chefs
- Ski and snowboard instructors – both qualified and non-qualified positions
- Lift attendant and ticket-checkers
- Rental gear attendant
- Retail and ticket selling staff
- On mountain bar and restaurant staff
Working for a private company
Working for a private company comes with its pros and cons. In fact, working ski jobs in Australia does not mean you must work for the resort. For instance, there are plenty of smaller businesses located within and around the resort that you can work for. The biggest question you will want to be answered is if you get a free lift pass? As these can be particularly expensive and easily cost upwards of $1000! In addition, some benefits to these jobs are:
- You become part of the family and are a valued employee
- Jobs are released closer to the start of ski season if you miss the resort roles
- The possibility of living for free on the premises
- Apply for a job in your usual field
Another key point, apart from the lift pass is whether the company offers accommodation for their employees. Because, if not, finding housing can be quite difficult in a mountain town.
If you missed out on the application period at the resort, local business will start advertising afterwards. Firstly, find the town you want to work in. Once you know where you want to work, you will be able to find jobs by looking at online job boards and by contacting companies directly. In Australia, the main employment websites are Seek and Indeed.
The following are some common jobs in the mountains which are operated by private companies:
- Cafes and restaurants: food and beverage, baristas, chefs
- Ski shops
- Hotels and ski chalets: housekeeping, front office and food and beverage
Where will you be living?
If you work for the resort and are a new employee you are generally given first dibs at employee housing. Expect to share a room with at least one other in a share house type set up. Which means everyone will have access to a kitchen, lounge room, bathroom and laundry facilities. Couples will get their own rooms. Just don’t forget to tell the resort when you get hired.
Rent will be deducted from your pay each week and usually costs around $190. Don’t worry because although this may sound expensive to some international workers, it is reflective of wages in Australia. This also includes all utilities and wifi. Depending on the resort you get hired at, you will either be living int he villages (VIC) or in Jindabyne (NSW).
By no means are the accommodation facilities 5-star quality and some resorts and complexes are better than others. I have lived in a few places in Jindabyne and one in Falls Creek and have no complaints. The main thing about doing a ski season is the people you live with. So long as you have great housemates you will have a great season.
How much will I earn?
Ski resort jobs in Australia pay competitive wages and tend to be higher than a lot of the world. Each job will vary slightly but you can expect to earn between $19-$23/hour plus in some circumstances penalty rates for working on weekends, public holidays or at night.
Some online resources
There are a few great Facebook groups to help season workers find housing and jobs.
Thredbo and Perisher
- Jindabyne Job Guide
- Jindabyne Notice Board
- Thredbo Notice Board
- Looking to Live Around Jindabyne
- Perisher Valley Job Guide.
Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller
- Falls Creek Staff and Locals
- Falls Creek Ride Share
- Carpool to Falls Creek or Mt Hotham
- Mt Hotham Seasoners 2019
- Mount Buller Community Board
- Mount Buller Job Search
- Mt Buller Ride Share
Other smaller resorts that offer ski resort jobs Australia
If you like working for smaller companies and don’t mind being in a smaller ski resort you might want to check out the following resorts.
- Selwyn Snowfields
- Charlotte Pass
- Mount Baw Baw
- Mount Buffalo
- Ben Lomond
Good luck in finding ski resort jobs in Australia and enjoying a snow season of a lifetime.
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