Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Winter Seasonal Job Destinations

Kathi Noaker

With the summer season now over, many of you are looking ahead to your winter adventure. We thought an overview of the different winter opportunities might be helpful. And you might learn about some that hadn’t even crossed your mind!

Winter seasonal jobs are often synonymous with skiing. Back in my day – yes, I just said that – there was still such a thing as being a ski bum, which is what I aspired to in high school and what originally brought me to the Rockies after I graduated. I turned what would in the future be referred to as a “Gap Year” into ten, and many of those winters I managed 100 days on the mountain – Park City, Mt. Bachelor, Big Sky and Bridger Bowl. Flash forward – being a ski bum isn’t quite what it used to be, but working a winter season at a ski resort, or in a ski resort town, is still certainly a thing, and 100 days on the mountain is still an admirable goal. IMHO 😉 

There’s a whole lot of variation in the employee ski resort experience nowadays. Many of the bigger mountains are owned by large resort corporations. However, the individual resorts vary in culture quite a bit, and each one has a unique history, style, and environment. You’ll find that there are also some pretty cool smaller and even family-owned ski resorts. Some are in developed mountain towns where you’ll find lots of winter jobs at satellite businesses – lodges, restaurants, retail shops, etc. – that cater to the ski tourist clientele, while some resorts are still fairly rural and the nearest town may be 20 miles away. 

It used to be that ski resort company housing was few and far between, which meant if you wanted to work and ski, you had to find lots of roommates to pull it off. Although that’s still the case with some resorts, we’ve seen a fair increase in some type of company housing over the last few years.

A ski town winter job you might not have thought about is being a bus driver. City governments in ski towns often provide transportation services in the form of shuttle and bus services, and they hire seasonal drivers. Look closely at their listings as some provide and pay for you to get your CDL license. The pay is generally pretty good, and some also have housing. 

If you’re all about the snow, but want a more rural experience, there are winter guest ranches and lodges that groom kilometers of nordic trails, rent snowmobiles and/or run dog sleds.  You’ll find typical food & beverage and guest service jobs, but also ski instructor positions, snowmobile guides and mechanics, trail groomer positions, and dog musher opportunities. And if you’re really game for a winter experience, the northern lights await you at lodges in Alaska.

If you’re a warm weather seeker, you’ll find opportunities in Arizona and Texas at guest ranches and lodges, in California at Death Valley National Park, at hunting lodges in Georgia, and in Florida at hotels, restaurants and resorts at various locations. 

Some other unique winter opportunities that we’ll see posted include Outdoor Education instructors, Christmas Light decorators, and ice castle builders. 

Lastly, Conservation Corps often have a variety of positions that can start anywhere from late fall to early winter. You might be surprised at the diversity of their opportunities. 

As is the nature of the seasonal work world, job postings come and go, so if something we’ve mentioned isn’t currently on the site, chances are it will pop up again. Just as there are going to be opportunities posted that we haven’t mentioned here. 

If you’re looking for something specific, consider creating a job seeker account so you can create a favorites list and save your searches.