Insider's Guide to Chalet Jobs
Thinking of doing your first ski season and would like to get to grips with how it all works? You've come to the right place.
We've worked in catered chalet holidays for many years, and have done our time working for lots of other chalet holiday companies before starting our own luxury chalet holidays venture. Here's the Chalets Meribel insiders guide to chalet jobs. Please note this is not specifically for our chalet company, we currently do not employ any chalet hosts. It's more of a general guide to chalet jobs for first timers. Enjoy.
A normal day in a Catered Chalet
You might arrive into your chalet around 7am to prepare breakfast. Your guests will eat then be leaving the chalet around 9am. After clearing up breakfast then it's cleaning time. You'll clean the whole chalet top to bottom, and finally bake a cake, which you lay out as afternoon tea; a lovely welcome back to the chalet your guests find when they return after a day's skiing. You should be all done maybe around 11:30, then the time is your own to go skiing.
You might arrive back into the chalet 4:30 to 5 pm. If there's children in the chalet then you'd prepare and earlier high tea (simple, child-friendly meal) to serve maybe at 5:30, otherwise it's onto the show piece: a gourmet 3 or 4 course evening meal. You might serve this at 7.30pm, and probably be all finished up and leaving the chalet around 9.30pm.
This might be the norm for 5 days of the week. The other two days:
Transfer day - the guests can depart and arrive just about any time, and you need to scrub every inch of the chalet so it looks like it came of of the box yesterday. No skiing on transfer day, just one very long day in the chalet.
Day off - most chalet holiday companies give one day off per week.
Job Roles Available
Although it depends on the company, you'll generally hear of 3 different job titles:
In larger chalets (6+ bedrooms) or luxury catered chalets then there'll be a chalet chef. The job is almost purely cooking, and you'd be expected to have chef qualifications and/or lots of cooking experience.
In smaller chalets (3 - 5 bedrooms) there'll be a chalet host instead of a chef. This is a mixed role, cooking, cleaning and serving the guests. Experience required depends on the company. Generally you'd not be required to have any catering qualifications, though some cooking experience is normally required and you'll be given training too.
Often the role for first timers, you would be an assistant to a chalet host or chalet chef. Your job would be cleaning, serving and washing up. No experience is generally necessary; here holiday companies are looking for the right personality.
As a rule of thumb most chalet jobs will include:
- Lift pass for the season
- Ski or snowboard hire (this is often pretty basic kit though)
- Good tips
Sometimes you'll also get:
- Travel from the UK to the ski Resort and back
Although the salaries can be low they really are just pocket money, almost all costs are covered, and a good chalet host can get good tips too.
Downsides & What to be aware of
Understandably many people have a rose-tinted view of what a chalet season can be like. Here are some bit you should be aware of.
- You are here to work, not ski! It sometimes comes as a shock that the hours are long and the work can be demanding. You'll be expected to take your job seriously and to do it with pride.
- The start of the season is tough. Your pre-season time in mostly scrubbing and carrying. Then it's on to Christmas and New Year. It's a busy and expensive time of year with demanding guests. You'll be run off your feet. Only when January comes do things calm down a bit and you'll be able to relax and properly enjoy some ski time.
- You will be customer facing the whole time, so you need to be the type of person that enjoys that interaction and helping people with all sorts of specific and unusual requests.
What are Chalet Holiday Companies Looking for?
It's mostly about being the right personality. For a holiday company then you'll be their public face, what the guests think of you is a huge factor on if they'll enjoy their holiday. So first and foremost is the personality. They'll be looking for someone that's:
- Hard working and here to take it seriously
- Always smiling and looking for extra ways to help.
- Ideally with experience in a customer facing role, preferably in a holiday environment
For chalet hosting jobs then cooking experience is important too (lots of experience for the chef roles). It doesn't have to be in catered chalet holidays though. Indeed some companies almost prefer your experience to be outside of catered chalets, that way they can mould you into the perfect catered chalet host.
Okay that's probably more than enough information on chalet work for you. Any questions though please feel free to get in touch. We were all newbies once and we are happy to share our experiences if it helps. Enjoy your ski season & good luck!
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Page written by Phil Teare.