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Working at Australian Ski Resorts

Australian ski resorts.

Let’s be realistic, Australia doesn’t have world class mountains but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredibly fun season down under next southern hemisphere winter.

The resorts are all located in the SE corner of the country in between Sydney and Melbourne. The party scene is top shelf, and while you may not find deep fluffy powder, slushy bumps is still a good day on the slopes. 

The Australian ski season is short. It kicks off on June 10 usually with a massive party and early season conditions, and runs until early October. School holidays are busy and resorts put on plenty of events like pool skims, 80s day and rail jam competitions to keep visitors entertained if the snow is patchy.

Resort life for workers is exhausting, in a good way. It’s work hard, play hard, and live tight for 3-4 months. Typical on-mountain employee housing is in lodges which have dorm style rooms, large commercial kitchens and a very social lounge area. Pre season ski training involves lots of leg work and making sure your liver is match-fit for the season!

If you can’t find a job with employee housing, finding a place to live on the private rental market is crazy expensive. One month before the lifts are opening, small rooms at Mt Buller are being advertised for $10,000 for a 16 week season. You need to work a hell of a lot of hours to cover that rent.

The major resorts are as follows. 

Thredbo (NSW) is the highest resort in Australia with the biggest vertical drop of 672m. It has a seperate learners area called Friday Flat which makes things very easy for instructors. Thredbo has fantastic mountain bike trails with lift access. It has music festivals, brewing events, a golf course, and a range of summer activities. Year round employment is possible in Thredbo. 

Like all resorts, employee accommodation is tight. There are rooms in the town but many workers stay in Jindabyne 35km down the valley. The accommodation situation in Jindabyne is no better and we have seen nothing to indicate 2023 will be any better than the 2022 shit show.  

There’s no public transport between Jindabyne and Thredbo so you’ll need a car or need to car pool. If you are getting a lift from another seasonal worker, it’s traditional to sling him or her a few bucks to cover petrol and car maintenance. 

 

Perisher (NSW) is Australia biggest resort with 47 lifts and 7 peaks. It was four seperate resorts that eventually all merged. Vertical drop is 449m and there’s night skiing. 

There’s very limited employee housing on the mountain so Jindabyne is where most employees live. Getting to Perisher is via the Skitube which is a rail line with a terminal below the snow line or by car. Please note, the 2022 season saw significant traffic and parking problems at Perisher. This meant extremely early starts to ensure employees could get to the resort before parking lots became full and the road got closed. 

Update: Perisher have just announced a new bus service between their mountain and Jindabyne. It’s $21 return and it will run every hour during non peak times and every 30 mins during weekends and school holidays. Hopefully enough people will use it so there won’t be chronic traffic and parking problems like the 22 Winter. 

Mt Buller (Victoria) is the closest resort to Melbourne with a vibrant party scene and good spring skiing. The 80s ski day is legendary. Buller has north and south facing slopes allowing skiers to follow the sun to find the best conditions. The south facing slopes have good bump runs and there’s also an extensive mountain bike network. 

On mountain accommodation is always tight but there’s options at the base of the mountain in Merrijig and further down the valley in Mansfield.

Mt Hotham (Victoria) is known as the powder capital of Australia. There’s a vertical drop of 395m, night skiing and 13 lifts. Accommodation is at Mt Hotham or nearby Dinner Plain and there’s a free bus connecting the two villages. Hotham has the steepest runs in Australia. 

Another option for Mt Hotham skiers is Bright, an all seasons town 58km away. Many skiers and bikers stay in Bright, but be warned, the road to Hotham is difficult to drive. If you plan on staying for more than a winter, Bright is a good option. 

Update: Mid June. Please note that affordable accommodation in Hotham is now extremely tight. We’ve seen two successful local businesses announce they will not be opening for the 2023 winter season because they can’t secure affordable housing for their staff. We do not recommend taking jobs in Hotham unless they come with employee housing. 

Falls Creek (Victoria) kicks off the season with an icy swim in Rocky Valley Lake and things stay crazy for the entire season. Falls offers a range of winter activities including night skiing, cross country and back country skiing. Like all ski resorts in Australia, when the lifts close the building season starts. From October, there’s very good money to be made “on the tools” and there’s no problems finding accommodation until the lifts re-open.

Update 7/11/2023 The Grollo Group (big building company) have signed a sublease for the Bogong Village site approximately 10km from Falls Creek. There is an estimated 200 new employee beds coming online for the 2024 season. The Grollo Group are investing heavily in short term employee housing at ski resorts and this is the first project. It is a for-profit venture and rents are yet to be announced. Stay tuned folks. 

If you are coming to Australia, the government is reimbursing Visa fees and throwing out the welcome mat to young visitors on working holidays. Australia has “Award Wages” set by the Fair Work Ombudsman. If you are working in an Alpine Resort Download the Award Wage Guide to see if you will qualify for re-imbursed airfares, Sunday penalty rates and overtime bonuses. If a resort wants you to work on your day off you may get a 50% pay rise for that day.

After the ski season, there’s some great opportunities in beach resorts all over the country. Go from being a ski instructing to a surfing instructor as summer kicks in. 

If you’re interested in working a ski season in Australia, login and update your profile and we will let employers in the Australian ski resorts know you are keen. You can also send your profiles directly to hiring managers who have placed ads on our jobs board. 

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