September 2018

Mountain Spy :: September 2018

"How do I find a new job in the winter sports industry?"

Written by David Meeker | 1908 Views | 0 comment

THE QUESTION: “I’m looking into a career change, possibly into the ski industry. I have a background in marketing and I’m wondering what opportunities are available at your resort, and if you have any recommendations?”

Ski areas often lament that experienced, reliable staff can be hard to find, and that balancing the gender scale is equally difficult. For this call, our newest team member, Sarah W., was the Spy. So how keen are resorts to recruit a female caller interested in working there? Are they engaging and excited? Or will staffers simply pass her on to the website?

Send us a good question to use for Mountain Spy, and if we use it, we won’t call your resort. Promise. Send questions to

Mountain 1, NH

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, hold on just a moment.
SAM: No problem. Thanks.
Staff: OK. I'm sorry about that. Thank you for holding. I'm actually going to transfer you over to our HR department and they can let you know what career opportunities we have.
SAM: Great. Thank you so much.
Staff: You're welcome.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, you know, what, why don't I take down your email if that's OK. And I'll email you.
SAM: Um, I'm not really comfortable with that, is there another way?
Staff: Yeah, definitely. Um, if you go onto (website) all of our open positions are listed there.
SAM: OK, great. And is it pretty common that you have a lot of open positions before the season?
Staff: Not all of our winter seasonal positions are posted up there, but the full-time year-round ones are.
SAM: Oh, Great. Well thank you so much.
Staff: OK, awesome. Well thank you so much.
SAM: Sure. Bye.
Staff: OK, bye bye.

Score: 5
Comment: The HR rep wasn’t super engaging, and the conversation got a bit awkward, but she did direct me to the website with a little prying.

Mountain 2, VT

Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general information.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yup. I can send you to HR who will then tell you to go to our website. (laughs gruffly.)
SAM: (laughs) OK. Thank you.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um. Oh, let me transfer you. OK? Thank you.
Third contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, um, let's see here. So currently we do not have any marketing positions available, but we will be posting more of our winter positions in August. Once in a while we'll have a position open up, um, within marketing or, like, events. Um, but it's really hit or miss each winter. Um, so I definitely suggest that you just keep an eye on our website. Um, and then if you're open to something, maybe not in marketing but still looking to kind of get into the industry. Um, same thing. Keep an eye on our website.
SAM: I'm looking to explore my options.
Staff: Let me see here what we do have. If you're looking for maybe something different and still have some responsibility, we do have certain key positions, which are more like team leaders or, um, positions that just can contain a little more responsibility. If you’re open to something seasonal, we certainly have those. Have you ever worked in the ski industry before?
SAM: I haven’t. I'm passionate about the sport and I wouldn't mind spending a little more time outside. So that's why I'm looking in this direction. I'm basically trying to figure out what opportunities are out there.
Staff: Yeah. The best thing to do is keep an eye on the website. We will be having our first winter job fair in October. And with our jobs being posted sooner than that, like if you see something you're interested in, you could certainly apply earlier. (explains application and hiring process, plus length of typical seasonal jobs) You're always welcome to call us in human resources and we can see kind of what the status of your application is. What's really nice about our jobs fairs is we try to get all the departments that are hiring to be represented. So, um, the nice thing is you can kind of walk around and talk with a variety of supervisors and managers from the departments that we have and kind of see what might be a good fit.
SAM: Well that sounds like a great opportunity. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.
Staff: Yeah, like I said, if you have any further questions, give us a call here.
SAM: Will do. Thanks a lot.
Staff: All right, no problem. Bye.

Score: 9
Comment: A very pleasant experience and chocked full of info, but one point off for the multiple contacts and the dismissive nature of the first contact.

Mountain 3, CO

Answering phone: Automated machine, stayed online for agent.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes. So we have all open jobs posted on the internet right now. Um, OK. Let me give you the exact website. (Gives website.) And that'll give you options and, um, you can kind of choose from there. Do you have any other questions?
SAM: No, I think that's it. Thank you.
Staff: Yeah, you're welcome. Have a good day.
SAM: OK, bye.

Score: 3
Comment: Felt rushed, like I was wasting his time. Gave website and wanted to move on.

Mountain 4, CA

Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose HR.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I'm sure we've got all of our current open positions posted on our website under the employment page, so you can check it out there. Um, and it looks like we're going to start posting more winter specific positions beginning in August. Um, but yeah, you can read through the job descriptions if you see something that matches your interest and skillset, um, you can apply online.
SAM: Great. Any recommendations?
Staff: Um, it just kind of depends if you want to stick to marketing specifically, um, that's gonna definitely narrow down what your options are if you just maybe want to get your foot in the door, um, and take a seasonal position initially and then kind of get a feel for our resort and see what other opportunities come for the summer.
SAM: Great. Well, thank you for your help. I appreciate it.
Staff: Yeah, absolutely. You have a nice day.
SAM: You too. Bye.
Staff: Bye.

Score: 7
Comment: Friendly, informative and to the point, but could have been a bit more invested.

Mountain 5, BC

Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general inquiries.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, OK. And what city are you living in?
SAM: I’m actually in the United States, but I am open to relocation.
Staff: OK. Um, I don't believe we have any openings currently for marketing positions. Let me just check to make sure (checking). So we have a couple, but pretty much any position would mean moving to Canada.
SAM: No problem. That sounds wonderful.
Staff: We’re the best. (laughs)
SAM: I'm not married to marketing either, you know, I'm just trying to change gears a little bit and, um, you know, skiing is a passion of mine so I'm kind of looking into what kind of opportunities are out there and if it's a move I'd want to make.
Staff: Yeah, for sure. So I would definitely check out our website (gives website).
Staff: We have all the jobs posted there and they are listed by department and location.
SAM: OK. Do you have any recommendations?
Staff: It doesn't pay very much. It's not like a super lucrative industry. Um, and the way that a lot of people get themselves in is they kind of start at the bottom and just work their way up. If you are a person who can stay once you start, I mean obviously you don't have to commit like right at the beginning, but if you are a person who can stay, there tends to be opportunities to move up more quickly because we need people who can live here full time.
SAM: That's really good to know. Thank you.
Staff: Yeah.
SAM: I will check out the website. Thank you so much for your help.
Staff: Yeah, no problem. Have a great day.
SAM: You, too.
Staff: Bye, bye.

Score: 7
Comment: Very friendly and open to chatting about working in the industry and at the resort, but does everybody need to start at the bottom? Her comment about Canada being the best went a long way with me, though. Good to have local pride.

Mountain 6, MT

Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general inquiries.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: (pause) OK. Uh, let me put you in contact with our human resources department.
SAM: That'd be great. Thank you.
Transferred to HR. Select HR generalist.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, so have you looked online at any of our job openings?
SAM: I haven't yet. I'm really just reaching out to get some ideas of the best approach for a career change into the ski industry.
Staff: OK. Um, what kind of career change are you going through? Out of curiosity.
SAM: I'm looking to work with an industry that I'm passionate about. Maybe spending a little bit more time outside and I am up to relocate, so I'm kind of wide open.
Staff: OK. Yeah, I mean we've got plenty of opportunities across the board. Um, there's anything from housekeeping, hotel management type of thing to food and beverage services, um, to more outdoor related job like landscaping or guiding, ski instructors, that kind of thing. Um, so it's really honestly what you're interested in. Um, the jobs will be posted for the upcoming winter season as of August and then we begin hiring in September.
Staff: We also have employee housing through the resort.
SAM: That's really good to know. Great. Well, thank you. I will check out some of the opportunities online.
Staff: Perfect. Alright. Have a good one.
SAM: You, too. Bye.

Score: 8
Comment: We dealt with a few phone issues during the call, but she stuck with me, asking genuine questions and giving good information and tips, including key points such as employee housing.

Mountain 7, CT

Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hold on just one moment.
SAM: OK. Thank you.
Voicemail: Hi. You've reached the voicemail of (inaudible name). I am currently out of the office with no access to voicemail. I will be returning on (two days before the call).

thumbs downScore: 1
Comment: Summertime, and the livin’s easy at this place. One point, because there was a human there, but that human didn’t tell me where I was being transferred and the outdated outgoing message gave no hints either.

Mountain 8, AK

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, OK. Um, I could transfer you to our human resources department.
SAM: That'd be great. Thank you.
Staff: OK, hold on just a minute.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh, nice! (seems super excited) Have you been able to get on our website and look at what jobs are available currently?
SAM: I haven't. I actually started with phone calls.
Staff: Oh, OK. Yeah, I encourage you to look online. Um, you know, and at the bottom of our homepage you'll find a jobs tab and you can click on that and you can review all the jobs that we're currently hiring for and if you see one that interests you, you can apply right online.
SAM: Great.
Staff: But I will also transfer you to our recruiter and you can leave him a voicemail and introduce yourself. He's not at his desk right now, so you can just leave a message and let them know who you are and what you're looking for.
SAM: That's great. Thank you so much.
Staff: You're welcome. (transfers me to recruiter)

thumbs upScore: 10
Comment: A recruiter? Winning! Also, the woman in HR was so excited that I wanted to get into the industry, she kinda squealed in delight. Genuinely happy to talk to me.
Identity Revealed: Alyeska Resort