Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Ski Life – Working at a Ski Resort

One of the best ways to REALLY enjoy winter is to work at a ski resort.  Opportunities exist all across the country as 37 of the US’s 50 states host a ski/snowboard resort.  Location, terrain, nearby communities and snowfall are all elements to consider when pondering where to spend your winter.  When job opportunities are posted, the earlier you start applying, the broader the variety of positions and your choices on location will be. Ski resorts biggest hiring push happens August – October, but some start earlier. With literally thousands of jobs, they’ll often continue to recruit throughout their season.

Some resorts are near major metropolitan areas; Eldora & Loveland Pass near Denver, Colorado, Alta & Snowbird just outside Salt Lake City, Utah, and Crystal Mountain & Stevens Pass near Seattle.  Some are more isolated, like Big Sky in Montana, Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee in the Tetons, Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho or Crested Butte in Colorado.

Kick-start your winter experience this season by working in a winter wonderland. You can live where most people dream they’ll get the chance to visit!

5 Awesome Benefits of Working at a Ski Resort

Work with like-minded people.  Some of the strongest friendships I’ve formed over the years have been folks I met while working at a ski resort.  You’re surrounded by adventurous great people, all with a common interest; playing in the snow!

Weekdays.  Ski resorts are their busiest on the weekends.  More people on the hill, longer lift lines.  This is also when resorts need the most positions staffed, aka staff scheduled.  Perfect!  You have time off to enjoy your killer backyard when there are fewer people on the mountain!

Options & variety.  Most ski resort positions are seasonal.  Linking winter resort work with summer-season employment for a rafting or adventure outfitter, on a guest ranch, at a summer camp, in a National Park, or at one of the many other summer seasonal employers can create consistent employment. Many ski resorts have established or are developing summer operations as well, keeping your options wide open!

Miscellaneous perks.  Free lessons, discounted rentals, gear deals, pass vouchers for friends & family, all add up to providing more value for your ski resort employment experience.  Some resorts offer employee housing, which is a great benefit as housing has become more difficult to find in mountain towns.

Free skiing.  You want to ski or snowboard a lot, right?  One of the biggest benefits you may receive is a free resort pass!  Many work schedules accommodate riding before or after work, or on lunch breaks.  With some positions such as ski/snowboard instructors, terrain park attendants, and ski patrol, riding is mandatory on the job.  Seeking that 100+ day season?  Short of not working at all, to maximize your on-snow days, working at a ski resort is the gig for you. Some resorts also have relationships with nearby ski areas to offer reciprocal lift ticket benefits to their employees, allowing opportunities to visit multiple resorts over the season.


Doug van Houten grew up in northern Wyoming, and after college, has made a career out of living in mountain towns.  Learning to ski in college, he has spent over 20 years skiing throughout Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Utah, logging over 80 days during a couple of seasons.

While no longer working in the ski/hospitality industry, he can still be found taking an occasional powder day from work or watching the sun rise in Wyoming’s Teton Range.  He even found his first cool job using CoolWorks!