Working a ski season in Austria
Do you need a visa: If you are an EU citizen you do not need a visa to work in an Austrian ski resort.
Do you have to learn another language:
Austria's official main language, the one that is taught in schools, is German.
Most people speak this as their first language, but like many other European
countries, English is widely spoken. One thing you will notice if you do decide to work in Austria, is the tourist profile. There are definitely less English people and more Germans and Dutch. Even if you cannot speak German, learning enough to be able to order meals or do your shopping would be a good idea.
So what is it like to live and work in an Austrian ski resort?
In a word, lovely. Austria has a lot going for it, not least the food and friendly welcoming atmosphere. And the fact that you won't feel like you are spending half your wages on food and drink is a big plus. Like all alpine ski resorts, the winter population is a largely cosmopolitan affair, but many of the more popular resorts still manage to hold on to their unique Tyrolean and Alpine charm and 'Austrian-ness', perhaps because they are slightly smaller and less sprawling than the popular French resorts - the resort of Alpbach that we mentioned above is a great example - the kind of place that you could see yourself living all year round, let alone during the winter. Perhaps this is a bit of a generalization and won't be true of all resorts, but many Austrian ski villages seem less commercial than in other parts of the Alps. Of course they exist to make money, but somehow it is not quite so obvious.
What types of work are available?
If you want to work at a resort with a snowboard bias, the main contender has to be the SPC snowboard centre at Mayrhofen, though plenty of other resorts cater to snowboarders and better facilities being added each year. If you want to teach skiing, you are spoilt for choice, though speaking German, while not strictly essential, is recommended. We feature some great teaching courses on this page, with the Austrian Anwärter qualification being highly regarded around the world. Most companies who offer to get you the Anwarter qualification will also improve your language skills - part of the test is German language proficiency, though nothing too difficult. Definitely have a look at the Ski Instructor Academy advert below as they offer a great instructor course with a guaranteed job once you qualify.
Less specialist jobs such as in hotels and chalets are not as easy to find as they once were, with plenty of Austrian nationals more than happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the more menial tasks. There are still opportunities to find work though, especially with UK based tour operators who tend to recruit British staff where possible. If you can speak German, you may be able to contact Austrian companies directly to seek employment, especially towards the end of the summer or right at the start of the season when they may be more receptive, especially as time is running out for them with those more difficult to fill chef and catering roles.
However you decide to get established there, Austria is a great place to start your ski instructor career, or to simply enjoy a winter season with a great atmosphere.