Working a ski season in USA
Do you need a visa: Even before the trouble in 2001, the United States have
been strict about who can and cannot enter the country. Unless you want to be
branded an "illegal alien", working a season in the USA requires a valid work visa.
For more information, please see our visas article here:
Do you have to learn another language:
No, English will get you through the average day on an American piste. Indeed their love of British accents will act as a positive bonus for you, but make sure you plum it up Hugh Grant style else they will mistake you for an Aussie.
So where can you work? Basically almost everywhere, but if you are looking for the best skiing, the best night life, the busiest resorts and the best snow conditions, then you should be thinking about the resorts of the Rocky Mountains, including Veil, Aspen and the wonderfully named Powderhorn. Colorado may be USA's skiing Mecca, but one of our favourites is Mammoth Mountain in California's Sierra Nevada range - it is a year round resort, but when the snow falls it's massive three and a half thousand acres offer everything from snowmobiles to cross country skiing on an average thirty three feet of snow per year(!) It seems America really do manage to do everything bigger than the rest of the world.
So what is it like to live and work in an American ski resort?
After you have your work visa the mountains are your oyster. There are resorts in a large number of the fifty states and the most popular resorts attract people with lots of money to spend. Businesses have sprung up in their hundreds to take a cut of this lucrative hobby. People holiday on the slopes, but big American cities are never far away, so day trippers turn out in huge numbers too. This all means that you should be able to find plenty of work options, especially in service industries like restaurants, hotels and bars, though you have to be quick as most fill up by the start of the summer, and with near record unemployment in the USA, competition from locals is currently higher than it has ever been.
Both skiing and snowboarding are very popular in the USA. If you want to instruct, then the US qualification is called PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America). While holding this qualification may give you an advantage, it is still perfectly possible to work and teach skiing in the USA with the qualification of a different country. Be sure to read our article about getting the right qualification on this page: www.bestskijobs.co.uk/articles/ski-snowboard-instructor-qualifications.php. Another point to add, and something that will go in your favour, the majority of your clients will be English speaking, which will give you an advantage over some of our European neighbours who may not have English as a first language.