Not sure whether to do a ski season this winter? The fact that Brexit will probably ruin future seasons for Brit seasonaires is one good reason to go NOW. Then there's the prospect of six months skiing or snowboarding and probably the best time you'll have in your life. If you really need any more persuasion then ex-seasonaire, Emma Taylor has 8 good reasons why to take that gap before uni, postpone getting a proper job after uni, even give up your proper job - and start packing
There are a thousand and one reasons why you should do a ski season, and head to the hills for a winter working abroad. Ex-seasonaires could talk until they are blue in the face about the pros and cons (mostly pros) about doing a winter season. With a misty-eyed glaze as the memories of dancing on tables and steezy ‘almost’ 360° spins flood their Jäger-addled brains, they’ll urge you to follow in their footsteps to do a season. And they are right. You absolutely should. But I am here to say you need to do a season not some time in the future but right now. Chop, chop there’s snow time like the present and here’s why...
1) First BREXSH*T
If you’re even remotely toying with the idea of doing a ski season on the continent, for the love of God / mountains / snow just do it. Do it now. Or you’ll miss the boat on what could be the last winter Brits can easily hop over to some of the best mountains and work with little to no extra cost or bureaucratic fuss.
The result of the farcical 'easiest thing in human history' will see travel companies employing less staff from Britain, especially squashing opportunities for workers aged 18 to 24 (the bulk of seasonaire employees) as the hike in business costs could reach up 58 percent says a report by Seasonal Businesses in Travel. Tour operators will no longer be able to sustain UK staff in Europe on UK terms, like still paying tax and National Insurance in the UK. Instead, they’ll have to contribute to more expensive continental state social insurance programmes.
The ski industry is expected to be among the hardest hit with not only jobs going to EU nationals or disappearing altogether post-Brexit, but the overall price of already expensive ski holidays set to increase. At the time of writing this (144 dark days to go) and still with an abysmally shambolic uncertainty over what’s going to happen to the UK’s travel industry, I beg of you would-be-seasonaires just pack a bag and go. Now could be your only shot.
Excuse me while I go hurl plates at the wall and scream. #PeoplesVote
2) Dreaming Of A White Christmas - or Easter?
Or a snow filled New Year's? A crisp and cosy Valentine’s? Extreme-eggcitement for Easter? And maybe a boozy birthday on the slopes? It’s a bit of a soppy sentiment, but celebrating holidays and birthdays which fall in ski season with snow on the ground and a tummy full of warm Glühwein provides semi-magical memories to look back on.
Not only will there be unfamiliar festivities to join in with in your adoptive home for the winter months (Krampus was an education for me), but you’ll build strong bonds with your resort family during 'traditional' days of togetherness which can be invaluable when you’re missing those you’ve left in the UK.
Just think, you could be ticking off a number on the bucket list by cruising powder on Christmas Day with new friends and eating dinner at 10pm because you were all too busy dancing at après to turn an oven on (hopefully you weren't chalet hosts).
3) Fall In Love With Somewhere New
Although most tour companies take your preferred location wishes into consideration, expect to be placed somewhere you may never have heard of or even thought of trying. It’s different to where you’ve been comfortable with in the past but chances are you’ll come out the other end devastatingly smitten with your fresh spot to ski.
I was a die-hard skiing Francophile. I adored the food, the wine, the language (still very much do) and loved the sleek Swiss efficiency of Geneva airport when unscathed by a Snowmageddon of blocked roads and cancelled flights. As I was told my position was based in Austria, the big bubble of enthusiasm I had for working abroad deflated. I wasn’t mad on schnitzel, had no idea what to expect and my dreams of becoming the melodic French-speaking, casually sophisticated woman I desperately wanted to evolve into evaporated.
But, like an unexpected great love who surprisingly crashes into your life, Austria’s romantic wild charm swept me off my feet and will forever keep my marshmallow heart.
Having the placement decision made for me highlighted how closed off I was from being receptive to an experience in a resort I would never have picked for myself. The result? I am much more open to making an effort to ski anywhere else out there and to falling head over heels all over again.
4) Three(ish) Years To Become An Olympian
Ok, it’s a long stretch. And the likelihood of becoming even close to the next Jenny Jones or Billy Morgan is quite slim. But a lot could happen between now and Beijing 2022. You may set your sights on Olympic glory in slopestyle or end up just perfecting your carving technique, either way using the next winter Olympics is a decent yardstick of time to drastically improve your ski or snowboard abilities.
The best way to sharpen those skills is practising often for a dedicated block of time; say, at least once a week for roughly six months?
5) The Easiest Job Interview?
The first lot of in-resort seasonaires will be bused out to the moutains in the next few weeks. Office workers will be in place already. It’s at this point before winter officially kicks off that people will start to drop out of offered roles they accepted in the summer as a better gig might have cropped up or it was all getting too real.
This leaves a logistical and administrative nightmare for those coordinating job recruitment for ski resorts. They will be scrabbling around trying to fill now-vacant positions at the last minute and shuffling staff members about like a deck of cards. You would be scooped up and revered as a precious Fabergé egg if you start knocking on doors now asking if they have any free places. Grateful recruiters, who back in the summer put seasonaire applicants through complicated psychometric hoops in en masse all day interviews, will now be so pleased to have you interested, they’ll practically buckle you in on a plane themselves before you’ve even asked what the role is.
Bonus points if you can leave at less than a week’s notice, I’ve seen drinks sincerely raised to toast a last-minute rep replacement.
6) Work, Ride, Repeat V Work, Work, Work
The work-reward balance for Millennials and Gen-Z is hugely imbalanced compared to those of previous generations. According to the Huffington Post 'Snowflake Millennials Are Actually Working Harder Than Their Parents For Less' and have taken a big dip in overall happiness because of it. For most of us, the possibility of even owning a brick of a house is a dead pipe dream.
Even holding down sensibly paid ‘grown-up’ jobs will see us working well past pension years, struggling to rent our teeny shared shoeboxes and keep ourselves fed with enough avocados. So taking a winter off to live your life for a season or two (maybe five) right now isn’t going to dramatically divert you away from the stretched out beige existence of what is considered normality.
And working in the University Of The Mountains is an education in itself, teaching life skills that you won't learn on campus and honing talents that'll impress future employers. Like being good at handling people (ski reps take a bow) and amazing in a crisis (chalet chefs we salute you).
There is always a strong chance you’ll be badly bitten by the snow bug and end up in the business side of this industry see Ski Bum's Guide To A Proper Job In The Mountains . Who knows, you might strike Insta-gold and become the next big thing on the internet.
7) The Snow Is Disappearing
If the recent climate change report from the UN didn’t persuade you to make more sustainable choices then I don’t know what else will. But here’s another depressing reason why you should get your skates on and do a winter in mountains, global warming has caused glaciers to recede and is creating shorter ski seasons. A recent study on climate change supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation with input from MeteoSwiss shows on average the snow season in resorts like Zermatt and Grindelwald start 12 days later and end 25 days earlier than they did in 1970.
Although not an immediate danger to punters and seasonal staff, there’s no denying the worry that came from no-snow starts for three years on the trot before last winter. More people should become snow-loving seasonaires and ski holidaymakers right now. Hopefully this will mean they’ll want to contribute a tiny bit to lessening their life-long impact on the environment to protect our winters to come and for waaaay after we’re gone.
8) Bloody Go Already
If you’ve read through this whole article and are still sitting on the fence, take this as a sign - and go. Doing a ski season is never a bad idea, the only regrets stem from those who weren’t brave enough to give it a bash (I Googled ‘I regret my ski season’ = big fat nothing). And guess what? You can come home again if you really hate it and gave it everything you’ve got.
There are also 11 Good Reasons NOT To Do A Season, so check them out. And then you can't blame anyone.
A ski season is literally made up of crap accommodation, blood, sweat and many, many tears and the furthest thing from Chalet Girl or an Ed Sheeran music video.
But what it will be is a thousand times better than expectations and worth every ranting red-faced client, every horrible work-hangover, every divert, delay and transfer day drama, because you’ll get to ski or snowboard every week for the next six months.
Emma swapped an office on an industrial estate for an office in St. Johann i.T, Austria, working for Crystal Ski as part of their AUSROW operations team. Her proudest moment was driving a minibus down mountain roads in a blizzard.