What working a season is really like…

Working abroad for the first time can be a unique experience. In a new series former seasonal workers reveal their favourite moments and the challenges they faced from their first season. Prepare to read the good, the bad and the very unglamorous…

“I was ready to move away from the UK and have an adventure. That’s exactly what I found.”

Zoe Holland, blogger at Juggling on Roller Skates.

3x ski seasons in France. 2x ski seasons in New Zealand.

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There were moments when I would stand on top of a mountain with just my friends and feel like the luckiest person on Earth. It’s an incredible, indescribable sensation. I often had to pinch myself because life just felt too good to be true: working in some of the most beautiful places in the world, being surrounded by blue skies while at looking over the edge of a glistening mountain top every day.

My first taste of season life was while I was studying at university. My friend and I would stay in shared chalets when we went snowboarding abroad and always found ourselves partying more with the chalet staff than the other guests. Season life looked incredible: the workers were up in the mountains every day and still managed to party every night. I was hooked on the idea of doing a season and spending more time in the snow.

My first role was as an ‘extra pair of hands’, a pretty demoralising job title really considering how much I actually did. The first week of your first job can be especially hard: the ski lifts are closed and you may find yourself training and cleaning non-stop with a hangover every day. It can be exceptionally full on, especially when coupled with the amount of new people you’re meeting while you’re getting to grips with your new surroundings.

You’ve got to be prepared to get your hands dirty, especially on handover days between clients. I’m talking cleaning toilets, pulling hair out of plugs and waking up to work very early mornings, sometimes starting as early as 4am and then having to spend the whole day cleaning. The perks far outweigh the negatives, however.

I found day to day the average chalet routine was more than manageable. Even when you’re working you’re constantly surrounded by positive and fun people, even the guests are on holiday so they are generally sociable too.

Working a season can open your mind to a world of opportunities. The people I met on my first season are still some of my dearest friends now, many of whom I’ve either since travelled with or visited all over the planet. More importantly though, I learnt how to look after myself and to work independently.

If I had to describe the experience of my first job in three words it would be crazy, hedonistic freedom. I honestly can’t recommend doing a season enough.

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