There are well over 100 of ski resorts in France. In addition, seven of the largest 10 interconnected ski areas are found in France, and you will find everything from small, quaint and typically French resorts, to famous nightlife and après-ski. How to choose where to work?

With so many options, the choice can be overwhelming. Here are five of the better places to find a job and work a winter season.


5. Val d’Isère

Val d’Isère is one the Alps’ renowned resorts. Part of the enormous Espace Killy interconnected area, Val d’Isère has huge choices for cruising terrain as well as off-piste terrain. Tignes, the connected resort, also has excellent backcountry options to explore over the course of the season, if one resort isn’t enough.

Val d’Isère is very popular among British seasonal workers, although you will also find plenty of Scandinavians, in addition to French seasonal workers.


4. Les Deux Alpes

Hugely popular among British, Les Deux Alpes does not immediately spring to mind when thinking about working a season. However, for those looking for an energetic season, Les Deux Alpes is a solid choice.

The best riding is off-piste at Les Deux Alpes. Right next to Les Deux Alpes is La Grave, one of the coolest off-piste areas in France. Working a season gives you the chance to properly explore this area (remembering avalanche precautions, of course).

In addition, there is a heaving après-ski at Les Deux Alpes, with the British in particular out every night of the week. If social nights and dizzying backcountry heights are what you want, Les Deux Alpes could be the place to find a job.


3. Val Thorens

Val Thorens is the highest resort town in Europe, and receives the most foreign visitors of any French ski resort. It is part of the enormous and stunning Three Valleys – the largest interlinked ski area in the world. Among your seasonal worker colleagues, you are likely to find lots of Scandinavians, British, Belgians, Dutch and Germans.

The highest lift at the resort goes up to 3,230m which provides stunning views over the French Alps, while the resort is surrounded by a cone of spectacular and imposing peaks.

The high altitude, in addition to the Glacier de Péclet, means a relatively long season which can last from mid-November all the way through to May. This means more work for seasonal workers and more days riding. The high altitude also means relatively reliable snow cover. And the quieter nightlife at Val Thorens means you get more time to enjoy more mountain serenity.


2. Méribel

Whereas Val Thorens is perched high up in The Three Valleys, Méribel is in the literal and figurative middle.

A season at Méribel means Savoyard French architecture, a resort geared towards intermediates and the majesty of the surrounding mountains of The Three Valleys. With 600km of on-piste runs and 40,000 hectares (four times the area of Paris!) to choose from within The Three Valleys, you can never be short of terrain to explore if you work a season at Méribel.

Méribel is also known for its après scene and Brit-owned bars. While Méribel isn’t the resort to go to if you wish to save money or get away from the crowds, those who are looking for a social time and alpine beauty could do worse than Méribel.


1. Chamonix

The myth, the legend, Chamonix. Famous world-wide for its gnarly selection of backcountry and big mountain terrain, film crews come from around the world to film at Chamonix. But a season at Chamonix is so much more than chutes and drop-offs.

Home to the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Blanc, and nestled in a valley surrounded by six ski areas, Chamonix also has a great selection of terrain for beginners and intermediates. The charming town bustles with tourists during both summer and winter, with the result that there are a lot of jobs for foreigners each season.

In addition, the festivals and events at Chamonix are seemingly non-stop throughout the winter season, with music, freeride events, downhill tournaments, and food and wine celebrations to remind you that you are in France.

Chamonix has a fantastic combination of typical French alpine town and modern bustling ski resort. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular place to find a job.


The premier southern hemisphere destination for powder hunters, New Zealand has a strong reputation for off-piste and backcountry riding. Here is a quick selection of the better places in New Zealand at which to work a winter season.


5. Mt Hutt, Canterbury


Mt Hutt is the biggest resort in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The beauty about working at Mt Hutt is that you have easy access to the myriad club fields in the Canterbury region, in addition to the nice terrain beginner and intermediate terrain at Mt Hutt. The Canterbury club fields are famed for their backcountry riding.

The snow is among the best in New Zealand due to its height, even if the weather gets a little gnarly from time to time.

The town of Methven is very close by and, while not in the same league as Queenstown or Wanaka, it has a super chilled vibe and is much cheaper than those other towns. On the other hand, if you are willing to splash out, Methven is home to the best heli-skiing companies down under.


4. Whakapapa/Turoa, Mt Ruapehu

Pronounced ‘fukka puppa’, the Whakapapa/Turoa resorts lie on different sides of the active Mt Ruapehu volcano. Ruapehu is the highest mountain on NZ’s northern island, and consequently the most popular for Auckland and Wellington riders.

The resort is entirely above the tree-line, resulting in wide-open bowls, chutes and drop-offs, and occasional gnarly weather. The high elevation means there is generally a decent snow-pack, which can lead to excellent spring riding conditions.

The nightlife is smaller than at Queenstown and Wanaka, but the local vibe is very friendly and there are some cool events throughout the season.


3. Treble Cone, Otago

For truly technical lines and advanced pitches, Treble Cone is the place to go. To that you can add spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and the fact that as a seasonal worker you will live in the town of Wanaka which is the second most lively ski town in NZ after Queenstown.

With only 10% of the terrain rated for beginners, Treble Cone is the resort to work at if you wish to push yourself a little to improve over the course of the season.


2. Wanaka, Otago

Wanaka is not in fact a ski resort, but rather the base for two resorts in the area – Treble Cone and Cardrona. It is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park which ensures a steady stream of tourists year-round.

Wanaka is surely one of the most chilled out towns on the planet, with the locals always happy for a yarn about the conditions up on the mountains and the best local powder stashes.

Given the nightlife is fun but lacks the intensity of Queenstown, Wanaka is a great place to look for a job if you want access to excellent terrain, you want to be able to have a night out occasionally during the season, but you don’t want the intensity of Queenstown.

You are likely to bump into your friends and workmates all over Wanaka, so always have some good stories on hand about the latest crazy trick you pulled up on the mountain!


1. Queenstown, Otago

Undoubtedly New Zealand’s premier ski resort town, Queenstown brings in seasonal workers from all over the world each season. The major nearby resorts are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, each of which has a distinct flavour, but plenty of nice terrain and park for seasonal workers to rip throughout the season.

In addition, there is an enormous bar and après ski scene at Queenstown, with an expansive selection of after-work drinking holes, food and places to catch a few beats. Queenstown is one of the bigger ski resort party towns in the world.

Queenstown also stays alive in summer as one of the world’s best extreme sports destinations, so there is always the option to stay on for summer (and then come back again in winter!).

If you like action, snow, backcountry and nightlife, Queenstown could be the place for you.


Often overlooked by seasonal workers, Australian resorts can offer surprisingly good conditions and very fun mountains at which to find a job and work a season. Below, the top five Australian resorts to work a season.


5. Mt Buller, Victoria

With 22 lifts whisking riders around both the northern and southern side of the Mt Buller ridge, Mt Buller (Mouth Buller) is an unexpectedly large operation with a large contingent of seasonal staff. The only major downhill mountain within a day-trip’s drive from Melbourne, at around three and a half hours’ drive, Mt Buller attracts both day-trippers and holiday-makers and is the busiest resort in Victoria. An added bonus of working at Buller is the proximity to Melbourne if you want to get out over the weekend.

There is a good community of workers at Mt Buller and, although the terrain is not the most technical in the country, there is nonetheless some nice terrain to work on your technique over the season. Mt Buller is mostly a quieter resort in terms of nightlife, good for those who like to enjoy Australian alpine serenity.


4. Mt Hotham, Victoria

If you are after advanced and technical terrain in Australia, look no further than Mt Hotham (Mount Hotham).

The Mary’s Slide run is one of the best run’s for expert riders in Australia, while there is some nice backcountry and off-piste around the Spargo’s area.

Mt Hotham is the highest mountain in Victoria, meaning the snow is generally quite nice, at least on the higher runs, and the alpine environment is among the prettiest in Australia.

With a small community of seasonal staff, Mt Hotham also has a good vibe among the seasonal workers.


3. Perisher, New South Wales

Perisher is owned by the massive American resort conglomerate, Vail Resorts. As you would expect, Perisher is a slick operation, with runs cascading off seven peaks around the resort. It is Australia’s largest resort by a stretch, with 47 lifts and 1,245ha (3,076 acres) of skiable terrain.

The runs are mostly short pitch and geared heavily toward intermediate riders. However, Perisher gets nice snow which is retained very nicely, given the runs face in all directions and you can therefore always find a decent patch of snow.

In addition, the town of Jindabyne is at the base of the skitube train. Jindabyne is the base for three resorts in the area – Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte’s Pass, and has something on every night of the winter season.


2. Falls Creek, Victoria

The only fully ski-in, ski-out resort in Australia, Falls Creek is the largest resort in Victoria in terms of terrain. Home to the famed International Poma, which in its former incarnation lay waste to many a beginner skier as they were dragged up the hill, the lift infrastructure at Falls is now modern and smooth.

For those who like park, Falls puts together one of the best freestyle terrain park facilities in the country each season. Being a quieter resort on-piste, Falls Creek’s wide-open terrain means you can really dig the skis or board in and go for a nice, long carve on your days off.


1. Thredbo, New South Wales

Australia’s biggest vertical drop is found at Thredbo. At Thredbo, you will also find the longest run in the country – the Supertrail at 5.9km – stretches from the summit to the base of Kosciuszko Express quad chair. With a consistent fall-line, steep pitch and nice trees, Thredbo has a lot for beginners to expert seasonal workers.

Beside the top-notch terrain, the other exceptionally cool thing about Thredbo is its après-ski and nightlife. There is a party to be found each day at the end of the day, and plenty of people around to enjoy the alpine festivities with you.

Thredbo has all the ingredients for an amazing Australian season.

Canada has incredible resorts to live the alpine dream for a season. Here are our top 10 Canadian resorts at which to work a winter season and where to find the best jobs.

10. Sun Peaks, British Columbia


At number 10, Sun Peaks is a British Columbia resort around 45 minutes north of Kamloops with the second largest skiable terrain in Canada. A cruiser’s resort, with runs so wide it’s like playing on a runway and so few crowds it feels lonely up there, Sun Peaks also delivers a friendly vibe and a solid night on the town, minus the hardcore boarders and skiers.


9. Castle Mountain, British Columbia


Big mountain terrain and a small community vibe. It’s all about the riding at Castle – head elsewhere for nightlife. But the incredible terrain which includes amazing chutes and drop-offs has seasonal workers on the mountain every moment they aren’t working, while the small number of staff means you instantly become part of a great community.


8. Fernie, British Columbia

If being one of the biggest resorts in Canada wasn’t enough, how about powder that is considered to be among the best in the country? Throw in the fact that the resort is super empty during the week, given Fernie has a focus on holiday-makers rather than day-trippers, as well as a cool old mining town and you have the makings of an excellent season.

7. Big White, British Columbia


Popular especially with Australian seasonal workers, the snow at Big White is plentiful while the skiable terrain is the third biggest in BC. The terrain is intermediate heavy and there is also has a decent terrain park for those days when the conditions up the hill aren’t spectacular. The vibe among staff is very international and, for those coming from overseas, the fact that so many international staff come through each season means they are nicely set up to accommodate foreign workers and make the transition to working overseas an easier one.


6. Red Mountain, British Columbia


Red Mountain is a bit hick, a bit back country, and a little bit rickety. Some of the chairlifts could do with an upgrade. But that’s the point of Red Mountain. It’s all about the snowboarding and skiing… and it’s got some amazing terrain to offer in the form of chutes, steeps and some of the best backcountry in BC. The nearby town of Rossland is also among the best ski towns in Canada due to the friendliness of locals and the fact that everyone is psyched to get on the hill as much as possible.


5. Whitewater, British Columbia

Located in the Kootenay Rockies region of BC, Whitewater is the classic counterculture ski resort. The locals are unified by their conscious decision to step out of the rat race and into a community where it is not uncommon to see businesses close on a powder day so the owners and staff can go riding. Meanwhile, the backcountry riding at Whitewater is absolutely awesome and will have you hiking and looping your favorite lines again and again.


4. Kicking Horse, British Columbia


With over 85 in-bound chutes, Kicking Horse has some of the best lift-accessed terrain in North America. Also, the small crowds means the best terrain is rarely tracked out giving you freshies all throughout the season. The nearby town of Golden is an established town that was already in place before the construction of the resort, meaning you get to live in an authentic BC community among beautiful alpine peaks.


3. The Town of Banff, Alberta

Banff is the base for three ski resorts in the region – Lake Louise (45 mins drive), Sunshine Village (25 mins drive) and Banff Norquay. While Norquay is a small local’s resort, Lake Louise and Sunshine are both truly world class, with famous Canadian big mountain terrain and rocky lines to keep you satisfied the entire season. When you then consider that Banff is just about Canada’s premier winter tourist town and the bars and nightlife kick on every night of the week – well – you have all the ingredients for a great season.


2. Revelstoke, British Columbia


With just a few lifts at the resort, you could be forgiven for thinking that, on paper, the terrain at Revelstoke is a bit so-so. But once you get to the mountain, you quickly realise that having the largest vertical drop in the country, abundant snow and incredible hike-to terrain is why so many seasonal workers want to work at Revelstoke each season. The secret of how awesome working at Revelstoke is definitely out.


1. Whistler, British Columbia


Unquestionably Canada’s best overall resort, and still the most popular resort in Canada at which to work a season, Whistler simply has it all. Truly enormous terrain, the most in North America by a margin, some of the best terrain parks imaginable, a huge contingent of staff both international and local across the resort and businesses in town, and a non-stop energy in the village throughout the season. The après-ski and nightlife also ranks as the most thriving in Canada with parties and dancing every day and in every corner.

Unsurprisingly dominated by west coast resorts, with representatives from Utah, Colorado, California, Montana, Washington State and Wyoming, here are our top 10 U.S. resorts at which to work a winter season.


10. Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte is a hidden gem in central Colorado with some of the gnarliest in-bound terrain in the country. The Crested Butte mountain is stunning craggy peak which rises sharply from the surrounding tablelands while the town is one of the few remaining authentic ski and mining towns left in Colorado as it has resisted the advances of the developers.

Moreover, Gunnison, a college town, is just nearby ensuring a continuous energy in the area on the slopes and at night and making Crested Butte a top place to find a job.


9. Mt Baker, Washington State


Mt Baker makes it onto the list simply by virtue of its awesome snowfall average; the highest in the country. The resort averages 16.7 metres (659 inches) of snow per season which means powder days are plentiful throughout the season and many, many faceshots await seasonal workers.


8. Telluride, Colorado


A combination of extreme terrain, in-bound hiking, plentiful on-piste cruisers and a chilled out, historical town make Telluride an excellent place to work a season. Its remote location reminds you of its frontier history – the notorious train and bank robber, Butch Cassidy, robbed his first bank in this city.

The terrain is among the most varied in the country, with options for the extreme junkie to the seasonal worker looking to improve technique on-piste.


7. Breckenridge, Colorado

Located in a cluster of resorts in Summit County which includes Copper Mountain, Keystone, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge rises above in terms of its terrain, snowfall and charming, vibrant mining town with some of the best après-ski in the country.

You can add to that some of the best terrain parks in the world which, by themselves, attract a number of seasonal workers to Breckenridge each season to find a job. Also, the convenience of being in Summit County with access to all the shops in nearby towns you would need throughout the season helps to keep costs down.


6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Legendary is the word best used to describe Jackson Hole. This resort draws the world’s best riders to tackle its mythical and gnarly terrain, including the famous ‘Corbet’s Couloir’ which leaves even the best riders with a thumping heart. There is some terrain here that only the best riders in the world would dare tackle, and that’s just within the resort boundaries.

The nearby town of Jackson is a great ole western country town which acts as the gateway to a large number of tourist spots, including Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and where you are likely to see cowboy hats all over town and in the bars.


5. Snowbird, Utah

With 12.7 metres (500 inches) of arguably the driest powder on the planet, and with the longest season of the Utah resorts, Snowbird ranks highly as a place to work a season.

In close proximity to Salt Lake City, Snowbird employees tend to live in the Utah capital which means access to shops and other amenities of a big city. And with some of the wildest terrain in Utah, you will be riding steep and deep on every day off work throughout the season.


4. Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky is the biggest resort in the U.S. with a monster 5,750 acres of skiable terrain (only Whistler has more skiable terrain in North America), a 4,350 vertical drop and a yearly average of 400 inches (10m) of snow. It appropriately takes on Montana’s tagline ‘Big Sky’.

To work a season at Big Sky is to work and ride a combination of huge terrain and sparse crowds which is essentially unmatched by any resort in North America.


3. Mammoth, California

The only Californian mountain to make the list, Mammoth Mountain stands above its Lake Tahoe rivals. The snow at Mammoth is truly awesome, with an average of around 400 inches of powder which is drier than the Tahoe resorts.

The Mammoth terrain parks ‘Unbound’ are among the top terrain parks each season in North America or even the world, with many pro riders calling Mammoth their home solely for this reason.


2. Vail, Colorado

While many resorts claim to have it all, it is perhaps Vail which comes closest in the U.S. to actually backing that up. Almost unique among ski resorts, Vail maintains an even mix of local ski resort authenticity and ski resort glamour.

While some riders at Vail are indeed big money, a vibe which manifests in the high end shops and eye-catching houses, seasonal workers will also find a year-round population, friendly locals, a relaxed, mountain vibe and plenty of cheap eats and local drinking haunts. That combination, along with famous Colorado powder and sun, is what makes Vail an excellent resort at which to work a winter season.


1. Aspen, Colorado

Colorado’s iconic resort, former home to author Hunter S. Thompson and bastion of American counterculture, is today equally the domain of celebrities and the super wealthy.

With four separate non-linked mountains, each with its own character of terrain to explore during the season (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass), seasonal workers will have plenty to carve and explore on days off.

There is a great working culture at Aspen too, with a large number of foreign workers in addition to plenty of foreign riders coming to experience Aspen-life each season. Finally, Aspen town is incredibly cool with a thriving nightlife and a great vibe among staff.


Honorable mentions for our top 10 list go to Grand Targhee, Wyoming and Alta, Utah.

by Jennifer Garston

Keeping Your Car Safe In The French Alps This Winter

In 2017/18, Storm Eleanor wreaked havoc in the French Alps. Heavy snowfall and avalanche warnings made it nigh on impossible for ski resort workers to travel to work in their vehicles as they found themselves snowed in in nearby villages.

In early December 2018, the French Alps experienced their first snowfall of the season, with between 30 and 100 cm falling in Southern areas, and much more is anticipated over the coming weeks and months. Therefore, when it comes to working during the French snow season, it’s essential you take steps to safeguard your vehicle so that you can safely get to and from the ski resort you work at.


Check the safety of your vehicle

Your vehicle’s battery is a crucial component to ensure you make it safely to work at the slopes. Car batteries have a typical life of four years. However, during severe cold weather extra strain is put on the battery due to the heating system and lights needing to be used much more frequently.

Therefore, you should routinely check that your car battery is in good condition with a multimeter tester. Other crucial parts on your vehicle to check regularly include the antifreeze level, lights, brakes, oil level, and your tire tread.

During your journeys to and from work at the French Alps, it’s best to be prepared for an emergency as extreme weather warnings can be issued at short notice. recommends that drivers check their antifreeze levels, brakes, heater, oil, windscreen wipers, and lights, among other items on a regular basis to ensure every trip in and around The Alps is as safe as can be.

Get snow chains & tires

There are areas of France and The Alps where snow chains are compulsory. However, even if you’re driving through a route where they’re not required by law, it’s advisable to have a set in your car as a sudden flurry of fresh snowfall can happen at any time in the region.

Chains can be quite difficult to fit, particularly if you have never had to do so before. In the middle of a storm, in freezing temperatures, is hardly the best time to try for the first time. Make sure you try at home in dry conditions at least once, before setting out. This will also ensure you have bought the correct size for your wheel.

Meanwhile, new legislation is set to come into force as of the 2019/2020 snow season. This will make it mandatory for light vehicles traveling in the French Alps to have winter tires fitted between November 1st and March 31st. So, it’s best to be prepared now and get your tires changed to winter ones for optimum safety.

Pack provisions

Legally, French law states that all vehicles driving on French roads must carry a reflective safety jacket, warning triangle, and a breathalyzer. In addition to these items, it’s advisable to pack provisions in case you find yourself stuck in the snow in the middle of The Alps following a sudden avalanche or heavy drift of snow. It’s sensible to carry around a shovel, windscreen scraper, flashlight, jumper cables, and tow rope in your vehicle.

Meanwhile, consider the emergency kit you may need if you do find yourself snowed in in your car or at your workplace ski resort, such as a blanket, scarf, gloves, food, drink, and medication.

Watch out for chips

It’s common for chips to appear in a car’s windscreen. And when your windscreen heaters are put on full blast onto the freezing cold glass, these chips can worsen and cause cracks to appear which can hinder your view when driving. With temperatures during snow season commonly sitting below zero, it’s essential that you make a habit out of checking your windscreen for chips. Should you notice any, be sure to use your resort wages to have your vehicle repaired and made safe again.

Drive safe

Driving in and around the French Alps is considerably different from driving on a standard road in the winter. You shouldn’t expect the roads to and from the ski resort to be gritted for your journey ahead. Therefore, it’s crucial that you know how to operate your vehicle in snowy and icy conditions so that you can stay road safe.

Rather than pulling away in first gear, chose the highest gear possible as this will give you better control of your vehicle. It’s also important to monitor your speed closely and avoid going too fast or too slow as this can result in accidents, especially on unfamiliar roads. And give your car’s engine a few minutes to warm up before each journey as this will minimize the risk of stalling in the snow.

Securing a job at a ski resort in the French Alps will provide you with a bundle of experience. However, when you’re making your way to and from work, you need to take precautions in your car, especially as freak weather conditions commonly hit The Alps during peak season.

For best practice, always carry out safety checks on your vehicle, get snow chains and tires, pack winter provisions for you and your car, be mindful of chips in your windscreen, and, most of all, take care when driving in adverse weather conditions.


As you embark on your next ski season, tax is probably one of the last things on your mind. But it certainly should be as doing it properly could mean thousands of extra dollars or euros in your pocket at the end of season – best used to plan your next season!

In many cases, you will be able to claim most, if not all, of you tax back at the end of the season if you are just staying in the country for the winter season.


Tax in Australia

Pay in Australia is taxed as you go, so tax will be taken out of your pay each pay cheque.

If you are a resident in Australia, there is a tax free threshold meaning that if you earn less than a certain amount for the year you won’t pay any tax. However, while you work, you will be taxed straight away, meaning that even if you earn less than the tax free threshold, you will still be taxed at the 19% rate (assuming that you earn less than around $20,000 for the year).

If you are a non-resident and on a working holiday visa, you will be taxed at 15% from the first dollar you earn.

Australia also has a superannuation scheme for retirement. This is currently set at 9.5 per cent on top of your pay and is automatically paid into a superannuation account which is inaccessible until you reach retirement age, or you permanently leave the country. Therefore once you leave Australia, you can claim your superannuation back.

The tax year runs from 1 July to 30 July.

Getting your Aussie tax back has a straightforward and safe tax return service tailored to the needs of working holidaymakers, backpackers, and students working in Australia. With more than 18 years’ experience, guarantees the maximum legal refund and full tax compliance.

The average Income tax refund for Australia for customers is $2600.

All you need to do to claim your income or superannuation refund is simply register and the team will take care of the entire process, from start to finish. Get started here with a free refund estimate.


Tax in Canada

Both the federal and provincial governments levy income taxes on wages.

The first tax bracket is 15% and this will be deducted from your salary as you earn throughout the season. There is no tax free threshold in Canada.

For provincial tax, the lowest tax rate is 5.06% for the first bracket in British Columbia, up to 16% for the first bracket in Québec.

The Canadian tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December and you can make a claim to get some of your tax back after you have left.

You can go back 5 years to claim a refund.

Getting your Canadian tax back’s team files over 322,000 tax returns each year and guarantees the maximum refund legally possible. All you need to do is simply register and will start the process for you.

The average tax refund customers get for Canada is $904.

You’ll need your T4 document to get your tax back which is the end of year earnings statement from your employer.

Get started here with a free refund estimate.


Tax in New Zealand

Tax is taken out of your pay as you earn in New Zealand. However, there is no tax free threshold. The first bracket rate on tax is 10.5% and 17.5% for the second bracket. The second bracket kicks in around $14,000.

If you don’t have a tax number, known as an IRD number, tax will be deducted at the highest rate of 38%. It is therefore a good idea to get an IRD number straight away upon arrival.

New Zealand does not have the usual suite of taxes of other countries. There is no payroll tax, no social security tax, no inheritance tax, no state/local tax, no capital gains tax (except on certain particular forms of investments) and no healthcare tax (only very low levy for the New Zealand accident compensation scheme).

The New Zealand tax year runs from 1 April to 31 March of the following year.

If you stay in New Zealand less than 183 days, you are a non-resident for tax purposes and only taxed on New Zealand income. If you stay longer than that, the full range of taxes applies, including on overseas income.

Getting your Kiwi tax back

Global tax refund leader can assist you in getting your tax refund from New Zealand quickly and stress-free.

Get started here with a free refund estimate.

The average tax refund customers get for New Zealand is $550.

All you need to apply is register here and will take care of the entire process from start to finish. Once your refund arrives, it will be transferred to your bank account anywhere in the world.

If you’ve lost your documents, can get replacements for you.

You can go back as far as 2003 to get your New Zealand tax refund.


Tax in the United States

In the United States, employers withhold income tax as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes from wages. Tax laws are highly complex in the U.S. given the mix of tax jurisdictions including Federal, State, Local and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).

Each of these taxes may be partially claimed back if you earn less than a certain amount for the year.

Income tax is levied by both the State Government and the Federal Government on your wage. State taxes are deductible for federal tax purposes. Rates vary considerably between States and range from 1% to 16% of taxable income.

The U.S. tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Your tax return should be lodged by April 15 the following year.

Getting your American tax back can get your U.S. tax back as most J1 visa-holders overpay tax when they are in the United States.

The average tax refund for U.S. Taxback customers is $800.

To claim your US tax refund, you will need your W2 form. The W2 form is the official government form that you receive from your employer in January outlining your earnings.

To apply for your refund, register here and Taxback will provide you with a free, no-obligation tax refund estimate and start the process for you. You are guaranteed a safe and secure application process with instant updates.

If you’ve lost your documents, can get replacements.

Get started here with a free refund estimate


Tax in Austria

Along with social insurance contributions, income tax will be deducted from your salary throughout the season. You will be paying around 15% tax on your earnings.

Income tax is known as Lohnsteuer. Tax withheld is akin to a down payment on your final tax bill which is calculated at the end of the tax year. The annual tax assessment is called Arbeitnehmerveranlagung (try saying that fast!).

You need a form called a Lohnzettel to claim your tax back. This is the official government document outlining your earnings and tax paid from your employer at the end of the tax year.

Many seasonal workers are eligible for a tax refund based on how long they worked, the type of job they had and the income they earned.

You have up to five years to claim any overpaid Austrian tax.

Getting your Austria tax back will guarantee you getting the maximum refund possible without you having to worry about understanding the complex tax laws.

You can get an instant and free tax refund estimation of your refund here.

The average tax refund for Austrian Taxback clients is €650.

For more information about and how can help you get your tax back from Austria, get started here.


Tax in Japan

In Japan, taxes are automatically deducted from your salary as you earn throughout the season. This is done in conjunction with a self-assessment system whereby you determine your tax amount at the end of the tax year by filing a tax return.

The first tax bracket is 5% and the second tax bracket is 10% of income which kicks in after around USD18,700.

As you earn, you also have to contribute 11% of your earnings into the Japanese pension fund. You are able to claim back a portion of these contributions.

You may also have to pay local tax depending on the prefecture in which you worked.

The Japanese tax year is from 1 January to 31 December. If tax is not withheld by your employer, your tax is due in full by March 15 of the following year (mid April if you pay by automatic bank transfer).

You will also need to make two prepayments throughout the year – one in July (if in Japan at that point) and one in November.

You can claim your tax refund from Japan up to five years after you leave.

Getting your Japanese tax back’s team of highly qualified experts will provide you with a free estimate of your refund and if you are happy with it, they will complete your application.

You will receive the maximum legal refund straight to your bank account and in the currency of your choice.

Get your tax back at at

If you’ve contributed to a Japanese pension fund, you could be also due to claim a pension refund as soon as you leave the country. You can try’s Free Pension Calculator to get a rough idea of how much you’re owed.


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Now that you have decided why to work a snow season, you have chosen an awesome resort, and you have sorted out your gear, what can you expect from your snow season?


Your job could be any number of things, from chef, to cashier, to rental assistant to ski instructor.

As a general rule, you should expect to work full-time hours – that is, five days per week. Ski resorts do not hire more staff than is necessary, given the cost of hiring. If you are working for a tour company, you are often expected to work up to six days a week.

While working a snow season is great fun, with a job comes all the usual responsibilities such as doing menial chores and cleaning. Many of the lower end jobs become very repetitive as the season progresses.

You should expect to be up early most days. Peak customer demand is usually in the morning as the lifts open.

You should expect resort management to constantly repeat how important customer service is, and how important it is to go out of your way to make the customer feel welcome.

Many ski resorts run very close margins of profit and, while you may only be there one season, this is how they make a living. Poor numbers at resorts means they will struggle to make a profit – and ski resorts are forced to shut down each year due to a lack of profitability.

As with all service jobs, you may dislike a large number of the customers. Many customers will be rude. Many will not do as you say (lift operators be warned). Don’t let them get to you, just brush it off, keep up a smile, and remember that while they have only a few days on the hill, you get the whole season.

Money and Pay

Entry level jobs at ski resorts will usually pay the minimum wage. More specialised roles, such as ski instructors, snow groomers, resort management and ski patrollers will earn more depending on experience levels.

Bar and wait staff in restaurants and bars can usually expect to earn a little bit extra due to tips, though of course that depends on the country in which you are working (North Americans are known for tipping – Europeans not so much).

If you are coming in from another part of the country, or internationally, you should expect to spend quite a lot of money on start-up costs. Even if you have a job lined up for your arrival, you will need money for:

  • Transfers to the resort (bus/train)
  • 4 – 6 weeks rent plus the landlord’s bond
  • Food
  • Tipping and going out getting to know everyone
  • New gear you buy because you forgot something or you simply want to upgrade
  • Start up costs for the apartment.

A rough guide for these costs is around USD$2000 on top of your flight costs. Once you pay check comes in, you should be able to live off the money you earn.

Further, you may wish to plan road trips in the first few weeks. By all means be thrifty with money, but do not miss out on epic powder days down the road because of it.

Ski and Snowboard Time

Getting onto the slopes as much as possible is generally why seasonal workers come to the snow.

However, you should ease into the season. Experienced snow season workers (such as ski patrol and avalanche crew) who work professionally in the ski industry have a rule of thumb to take it easy the first seven full days on the mountain.

Only afterwards will they hit the gnarlier terrain. They pace themselves, knowing that they will 100 days or more on their lift pass for the season.

Much of the best terrain – chutes and bowls out the back – will often not even open up until a couple of months before the end of the season. You need to play the long game.

Depending on your job, you may get two full days off per week in addition to ride breaks during the day, if you are lucky. 100 days on the slopes for the season is generally a very respectable number.

You may notice that many seasonal workers become picky with the days they ride as the season progresses. Too icy? “Let’s just chill inside today in the warm apartment and play pool.”

Remember also that your days off are also the time when you will need to do your shopping and errands, which can cut into your ride time for the season.

You should generally battle against the urge to stay indoors on a semi-decent day. You are guaranteed to not improve while sitting watching snowboard movies and dreaming. To improve you need to push yourself a little bit.

Some seasonal workers will come out for their first season and tackle chutes quite confidently by the end of the season. Some who do not push themselves will struggle to look decent on intermediate runs by the end of the season. As always, make sure you seek specific advice before hitting up avalanche prone or other dangerous terrain.


Unfortunately, many first-time seasonal workers get injured within a few weeks of arriving. This is principally due to going too hard, too early, and not working into the season. Injuries are also relatively common throughout the season among seasonal workers.

A common injury is snowboarders with a broken collarbone. Many first-time seasonal workers become overconfident early on. Then, they pick up too much speed on an access trail or another easy slope, catch an edge and fall badly, crashing down on a collarbone. That sucks!

Keep to your limits early, and then hit it harder once the season has warmed up.

Lifestyle and Nightlife

Your life over the season will revolve around your job, riding or shopping on days off and going out at night.

Depending on your town, you may be in a lively town or a backwater.

In the resort towns known for their après-ski and nightlife, there will be a constant flurry of tourists and events on every night of the week in the bars should you choose to join them.

In smaller towns, there are usually certain nights of the week when seasonal workers head out together to the bar or pub.

However, as you will usually be working five days a week, on many nights you will be too exhausted to go out. Instead, you will want to just cook some pasta, watch TV and go to bed in time for the next morning.

Towards the end of the season, many people get burned out and become ready to leave. In fact, many people usually quit during the season. For many, the season is done a few months out from the end.

Many of the guys will lose weight! This is due to hard riding and the eating of a lot of pasta and not much else. While mountain food (burgers / hot chocolates etc.) can be very dense, it is also quite expensive.

The best advice is to always get to the supermarket every week for shopping, even when you cannot be bothered. It takes effort to eat well at a ski resort, so you will have to go out of your way.

Customers and Colleagues

For the most part you will meet some of the best people you are ever likely to meet. These will be people who live for the snow and good times in the powder and park.

Nonetheless, like any work environment, there will be wide range of people with whom you will work. Some people may be odd, some you will not like.

Your bosses will generally be quite relaxed, but they still work there every year, and you are still a newbie to them. If you make their job easy, they will be more likely to help you out and get you onto the slopes in downtime.

The customers are, like in all hospitality roles, a mixed bag. While most are there to have fun and are quite relaxed, there are always a few who are uptight or just having a bad day.

Finally – Don’t Forget

Respect the mountain and avalanches. You should always take the correct precautions when in the snow in relation to avalanches and other hazards associated with skiing and snowboarding. It is never advisable to ski or snowboard alone and you should always carry the correct equipment and know how to use the equipment in case of an emergency.

Hit it hard and there are no friends on a powder day!

Ski season is the ultimate life experience and you’ll be addicted before you know it. Find out if you’re in it for the long haul.

For some, ski season is the absolute, best time of their lives. For others, they realise it’s not for them and they either endure it or quickly make an exit.

Ski season is a hedonistic bubble, focused on adventure and the worship of snow. When you’re not partying or nursing a hangover, you’ll spend your days working a menial job and cruising the mountains with friends.

You’ll crash your comfort zone through new territories, chasing adrenaline and euphoric highs. It’s the stuff of golden-hued memories. But, like all those curated images on social media, the reality is a little less shiny. You will get SAD (seasonal affective disorder), worn-out, sick, lonely, homesick, broke, and existential questions of your life’s purpose can plague you.

Ski season is totally what you make it — it’s your experience after all. Who you are and the people you surround yourself with will determine your experience. At many resorts, ski season is known for its massive party culture, so if you don’t really enjoy parties or losing your inhibitions regularly, you’re going to be in the minority. Because of this, it’s heaven for the 18 to early twenty-year-olds who are finding themselves. For those in the older demographic, it’s a second chance to relive that recklessness.

Ski season is a vacation from the real world and it’s not a surprise people decide to stay. Summer beckons and before you know it winter is right around the corner. Rinse and repeat.

What’s a typical day during ski season like?

Ski season equals epic days, spontaneous adventures mixed with everyday blues and low-paying jobs. Once you’ve sorted your overpriced shoebox accommodation, and made it through the quiet shoulder season, it’s finally what you’ve been waiting for — winter!

You wake up on your floor mattress each morning and check the snow report to see if there’s any freshies. Then you get on your group message and see who is going up. You spend the day skiing/snowboarding. If you work at 12, that’s gonna suck on a powder day.

Otherwise, you get home in time for a quick shower and push away the urge to nap. Perhaps you start your dinner shift serving at the local restaurant for $11 an hour. Close to finish you get a message from your friends saying they’re heading out to the local bar. You meet up with them and party till the early morning. Rinse and repeat.


Do a ski season or a vacation?

So you like snow huh? Enough to bury yourself in it for a good four to six months?

If you have the time, ease yourself into the decision and book a trip. This will help you work out if it aligns with your lifestyle and values. You’ll get a real feel for life as a seasonaire and you can get information on the ground from other ski bums.

It’s also great way to make contacts for next ski season and potential jobs and accommodation. If you find that you are homesick or glad to head back to reality at the end of your trip maybe, while you love ski culture, you prefer it in shorter stints.

A six-month break from reality?

You may think ski season is a short time-out from your normal routine but don’t be surprised if you end up staying longer. When you make the effort to move somewhere far and new, it’s going to take a lot more than some ambiguous “return to real life” plan to bring you back.

You might find you love your new home so much that you don’t want to go home. You might meet somebody special! Or the time-creep happens where you keep postponing booking a flight home to see more of your surroundings (that kinda thing ends up taking years).

When deciding to make any huge change to your life that involves moving somewhere completely new, you need to understand your energy levels and motivations. Does ski season represent a life goal to you? Does it make you excited?

If you’re doing something that makes you excited then you’re generally on the right path because you’re likely to put in the effort. It takes a lot of energy to set up a new life plus time for the adjustment period.

They say it takes about six-months to two years to settle somewhere new. Fortunately ski season is full of other transients but there’s still some truth to this concept.

If it’s your absolute first time doing a ski season then you’ll be at the bottom of the food chain. Be prepared for a few weeks at the start doing the hard work of getting everything sorted (job and accommodation) while you live out of a suitcase. You’ll be entering a rat race aiming for the best experience, the best friends, the best accommodation, and the best job.

And you will face cold weather, potentially long months of only cloud, low pay, tedious jobs, and expensive housing.

Other ways to do it

How you plan your experience comes down to who you are as a person. If you only want to take a six-month break, having a job or something exciting to move onto at the end will ease the changeover.

A great way to do a ski season without investing too much time is to not get a job and rely on your savings. You get all the pow days and partying you want without having to worry about making your dishwashing shift. You also are committed to making it a fun experience and with extra money you can pay more for accommodation and activities and ensure you really have the best experience.

If ski season is something you want to do, but let’s say you’re not 100% amped on it, then look at what would make it work better for you. If you love skiing but you also like having a job/purpose in life, try to secure a more professional type job that uses your skills. Make that the aim of your time with ski culture on the side. This might mean you live in a town further away from the main action, but it may be a more culturally immersed experience.

Or you could set a single goal or project to achieve during your time, like a video documentary, that you can add to your skill set.


Do it alone or with friends?

Personally, I tend to jump into things headfirst and alone, but, like the famous Beatles song, we get by with a little help from our friends. Out of my ski seasons, the one I did with friends I knew from back home was hands-down the best.

Ski season is like high school and if you have your clique you’re set. Having people that know you — that you can moan to about the hardships of ski life — will make your experience easier and more fun. Together you’ll push each other’s skills on the mountain and you have an instant group to party and let loose with.

They’re also a support network, which is super important when you’re miles away from family and friends or in another time zone/country. That’s not to say you can’t find this if you go alone.

The essential thing is to find a house with like-minded people and a friendly workplace because this is where you’ll meet most of your crew.

Going alone is not something to be scared of. It may just be, initially, a more muted experience than the one you ideally envision. The friends you meet during ski season come from all over the world and you’ll hold those bonds for many years to come.



Make ski season yours

In the end there is a bunch of warnings and advice that can be given before doing a doing ski season. But there are also a million external factors, good and bad, that will impact your personal experience.

Know yourself and what makes you happy and work that into your experience. You’ll grow and change and get lost and hopefully find yourself and new perspectives.

You’ll have ups and downs but an amazing time regardless and that will make it worthwhile.


It is the eternal debate waged to varying degrees of intensity at après-ski bars around the world.

Ultimately, you should know that all powder lovers respect both skiers and snowboarders. Both offer the chance to experience the pure rush of shredding the mountains, and that’s what it’s all about!

First Time at the Snow

The general wisdom is that the first three days are easier on skis than on a snowboard, as skiers are able to stand up and their legs are not locked in. Snowboarding will be a pain in the butt (literally), for the first three days as you struggle to move without falling onto your backside.

However, after that initial period, snowboarders tend to graduate to intermediate slopes a little quicker than those on skis and, in general, will be able to loosely navigate most of the mountain in a shorter period of time.

Progressing to an Advanced Level

Once you get past that intermediate phase, both skis and snowboards take seasons to master. After that point, it becomes more about athleticism and natural balance.


DIN settings

Another initial factor in choosing skis or snowboard may be discomfort with being locked into a snowboard without a release mechanism. Conversely, ski boots are locked into ski bindings and provide the ability to release from the skis in the event of a crash.

DIN settings refer to the tension required to release a skier from their bindings (standards for alpine ski bindings are set by the Deutsches Institut für Normung).

All skiers, but particularly beginners, should make sure that their DIN settings are set correctly so that they are able to release from their bindings when they crash to avoid injury.

Getting Around the Mountain

Flat areas are difficult for snowboarders as you will need to unstrap and skate along. Skiers have poles to help them move along flat areas and are not strapped in.

Snowboarders also tend to dislike moguls as they are annoying to move around on a single edge, whereas skiers often love the bumps.


Skis have made a big comeback in places where backcountry is popular, such as in Canada and New Zealand. Skis are more versatile for backcountry as you are more able to tackle rockier, narrow terrain and traverse where required.

Not that boarders cannot hit up the backcountry, but you generally have to be pretty good on a snowboard to tackle the chutes and rocks that skiers tackle, given the ability of skiers to simply walk out of an area if it becomes too treacherous.

In places like Canada, where the backcountry culture is very strong, it is not unusual to see 90% of kids on a school excursion on skis, all itching to get out into the backcountry.


This debate rages on. On this point, you’re probably better off checking out a few ski and snowboard movies to make your own arguments. Tanner Hall (skis) and Travis Rice (snowboard) should start you off!

Terrain Park

It was snowboarders who originally pioneered terrain park riding and, among park rats, snowboarding is still more popular than skiing.

Snowboards tend to be more agile in the terrain park and easier to start pulling simpler tricks such as grabs. However, ski technology has slowly allowed skis to catch up in the park and now many skiers are able to boost higher than snowboarders in the half pipe and on other features.

Pure Speed

If it’s pure speed you’re after, then skis usually edge out snowboarders in a fall-line race.

Riding Powder

Both boards and skis rock in powder but both are difficult to master in powder. Snowboarding – it’s like you’re surfing the hill. Skiing – it’s like you’re riding clouds. Both will involve incredible powder face shots which is all that matters!

If Working the Whole Season Just Try Both!

If you are spending the entire season at the snow, why not try both skiing and snowboarding at some point? They require different skills and will provide for a new challenge if you get in a form slump on your preferred plank.

Choose your option

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