Working a ski season in France
Do you need a visa: If you are an EU citizen you do not need a visa to work in France.
Do you have to learn French: It would certainly help, though if you are working for a British company, with British guests, you should be able to get by with basic school level French.
So you want to work in France
When it comes to powder, there is no denying that France has it all. In spades. Blessed with a large slab of the European Alps in its back garden, France has created a series of winter playgrounds that attract people from all over the world. We have all heard of the popular resorts, made famous by films and as the winter retreats of the rich and famous, examples include Les Arcs, La Plagne, Meribel, Val d'Isere, Courchevel, Chamonix, Tignes, Val Thorens, the list goes on. And with well over two hundred resorts offering good quality terrain for those of us who like to slide about on snow, it is no wonder that France grabs a huge proportion of market share. What does that mean for us? Plenty of opportunities to work in France during the ski season!
Choosing a resort?
France is probably the obvious choice for most Brits, being easy to get to and having lots of opportunities, but while you may view choosing to spend your winter in the country as a bit of a no brainer, you won't all be lucky enough to choose your resort. In general, the bigger the resort, the more opportunities to find employment. Don't let that put you off though, some of the smallest resorts are also the most charming, and are more likely to have held on to their true alpine character. It all depends on the experience that you are looking for.
If you manage to secure a job with one of the big companies, like Neilson, or Mark Warner, they need staff in lots of different French resorts, and while some may ask your preferred choice, most will send you to where they need you most, so don't automatically think biggest company equals best choice. Alternatively you may have decided that you really want to work in a specific resort and apply for employers solely in that area. This is great if you know where you want to be, and location is one of your biggest criteria. No matter who you apply to, make sure you do your homework on their resorts. If you can talk about the place with some knowledge you are sure to impress at the interview stage.
Types of ski resort jobs
Every resort will have a range of jobs to suit everyone, both with and without previous experience. Obviously, the more qualifications you need, the less competitive the position will be - for example, if we are advertising a position for bar staff in Meribel then we will get thousands of applications, whereas a head chef may get less than ten. The best thing to do is accept that other people are going to apply for 'your job', and concentrate on making your application better than everyone else's. If you are one of the many who like the idea of working in the French Alps for a few months, but you don't really know what type of work you want to do, have a look at the above categories for some good inspiration and insight, or view the links on the right for all current French resort work opportunities for the coming season.