What you need to know before applying for a job
If you are British, you will now need a Visa to work in France or other European countries. You will need to secure a job offer first, then the company will apply for the work permit. Once they have that you have to apply for the Visa which allows 6 months in a 12 month period to work abroad (it is actually initially for 3 months and requires renewing during the season but the company will deal with this) . It is a long stay visa 'travailleur saisonnier'. There are many companies that are prepared to go this route in order to get British staff, so there are lots of opportunities still and the process is getting easier each year.
Australians and New Zealanders can work in Europe providing they have work visas prior to leaving their country.
Europeans or those from the Schengen Zone - No work visas necessary - freedom of movement to work anywhere in the EU. Some countries may require some paperwork submitted but in France, Europeans can work without a visa. Providing you speak English, you will find it easy to get work as a chalet host especially if you have completed a cooking course! There are lots of Dutch companies running catered chalets which attract not only Dutch clientele but other nationalities too.
What do employers look for?
All employers vary on their criteria, but essentially you need to be hard working and flexible as that is what working a season requires. Age is a minimum of 17/18 years (if you are turning 18 during the season you might be considered) and there is no maximum age. Some companies prefer older staff (over 24 years) as that is what their guests expect. Generally if you are older, you will be expected to be left to your own devices and be more responsible. The companies who employ younger staff will have a resort manager to keep a close eye and be there if there is an emergency. Some companies only employ couples or two friends, usually for chalets that cater for over 12 people. Three people are required when numbers reach over 18 and then there is usually an experienced head chef, so you will be the assistant. If you lack confidence cooking in a chalet by yourself, this is a good way to gain that experience and the following season, you could easily run a chalet by yourself. English speaking is essential as the majority of guests are British.
If you have any hospitality experience, whether it be serving in a bar to waitressing, it will give you an edge. I strongly advise getting a job in hospitality before applying for jobs as competition is tough and the employers favour those who have some experience.
When does the season start?
Generally, the beginning of December until the 3rd week in April. Some companies do training week which gives you a chance to get to know the other chalet staff.
What hours will I work?
This again varies but running a chalet will mean early morning 7h30 to late morning 11h00 – then back again from 17h30 to 21h00. Some companies cater for 5 days and others 6 days. You will get at least one day off per week and if it is a chalet that offers 6 days catering, 2 x half days or another whole day off is normal. As the season progresses, you will get quicker and will work less hours.
What is the package they offer?
Each company is different but they will tell you exactly what is on offer before you go for an interview so you can decide which one suits your needs.
In general they offer Accommodation, Food in the Chalet, Salary and Return Travel to the resort. In addition, you may get a ski pass, ski hire and ski insurance. If they do not provide the latter, then the wage will reflect this and it is deducted from your wage but at a season worker's rate. The wages to work in a chalet are much higher than they used to be and generally the staff are able to save every penny! New regulations state that in France, you must be on a French contract which is based on a minimum hourly rate however you won't get all the benefits included in your package such as ski pass - they will be deducted but you will still be left with more than the staff earned before!
What Accommodation do I get?
It could be a live-in job – which means you will get a room normally with its own bathroom on a shared or sole basis. Otherwise the accommodation can vary from a tiny studio to a huge shared staff house. There are pros and cons to living-in and each person has their own views on it. Accommodation is usually basic but don't worry - you will be at work or on the slopes so really won't matter!
Do I need insurance for the season?
You should get a rescue insurance in your package, so if you have an accident you will be covered for rescue from the piste to the hospital. If they do not provide this, it is easy to obtain and not expensive. For personal items, check with your travel insurance company as generally they don’t cover periods as long as 4 months but there are specialists that do. Some companies offer or can certainly recommend a good insurance to cover you.
Go to our 'Chalet Jobs' page to see just some of the companies we work with.