Deciding to live in a resort community is easy. The hard part is finding a place to live and a job that allows you to enjoy the reasons you moved there in the first place. Making it work requires tenacity, boldness and a willingness to do what it takes to get what you want. The answers will be different depending on whether you’re in it to experience the lifestyle for a short time or set down roots in some beautiful place that most can only dream about visiting.
Living in a resort, whether for a season or a lifetime – takes some moxie and not a little bit of effort. But for those who can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the rewards of that lifestyle are big. Before you move, save your money, because housing is often expensive and jobs are few and / or low wage. However, like any other “small town” which is what every resort is no matter how large, once you become a “local,” you will be able to tap into the hidden job and housing markets and “locals deals” offered to all who are willing to put in the time and have the determination to stay in paradise no matter. The longer you live in a resort – the more respected as a local you will be – and the more opportunities you will have as opposed to those that plan to stay only for a season. But don’t let that deter you! I highly recommend at least one season spent hustling to stay alive and partying hard in a resort. Much like a college degree, living in a resort will better prepare you for life as you learn to coexist with multiple roommates, survive on tips and your wits, and deal with tourists and their particular kind of annoying behavior.
If you want to live in a mountain ski resort, choose wisely. Each mountain resort will have a personality, if you want celebrities and billionaires go to Aspen; if you want a laid back serious ski town go to Silverton. Most mountain ski towns are all but closed in the “mud season,” from mid-April to early June and September / October. Time your arrival for June or November for jobs and May / September / October for housing. It’s a little bit of chicken or the egg syndrome here, which comes first – the house or the job? Some resorts have a policy of not giving you the job if you don’t already have a place to live and some rentals want to know you have a job before they will rent to you. To make it easier for your first time, you can apply to resort employers online and ask if they have “employee housing,” often offered as part of the employee contract. If you want to head out and take your chances, make sure you have enough funds to cover first / last rent and a couple months of expenses.
Vail Resorts is one of the biggest on-mountain employers at resorts across the west
Ski Industry Jobs is a US ski resort online job board listed by state
Similar to working in the mountains, there are people who spend every year bouncing from their winter to summer jobs, either in the same place or around the country / world. Almost all resorts are seasonal to some degree – even those without harsh weather seasons – as there is always a high season and a low season for tourism. Make sure you head out there to look for a job just prior to or at the start of the high season as that’s when employers are most likely to hire a newbie from out of town.
Cool Works lists jobs in seasonal and beautiful places around the US – I host their feed on the right.
Season Workers is an international website offering seasonal, hospitality, and teaching opportunities with a great forum – useful if you have a work permit for other countries (see Blog on BUNAC for how to obtain one)