There are many options to travel the world – while not having money at all. Although, not many people think about the tons of options you have – traveling without many can be one of the most luxury and deliberated ones. One of those options is to work as a chalet host – where you are the host in a little (or big) cabin / chalet. Mostly a chalet is located in a certain area because you can practice there something – which is at the same time the type of people you will receive (which can make a big difference in the vibe). Mostly it serves the goal for sports, think about biking – surfing – yoga – golf and certainly one of my favorites and most popular one; a chalet for snowboarding (or skiing).
If you’re looking for a job on the slopes then there are several options besides working as a chalet. You can work in a restaurant – a bar – as a nanny – fixing ski repairs – a job in a hotel or as a ski/snowboard instructor. But with those options, you will definitely have less time on the slopes itself than working as a chalet host.
This season I’ve worked as a chalet host for the second year and I really love it. You have to be a little lucky with the chalet you get – the conditions of snow (or waves for example) – the people and the amount bookings. Are you thinking about working and living abroad for a while – or do you want to travel the world without spending any money? Then working in a chalet might be something for you. Read these ten reasons below why you should (or maybe shouldn’t) work in a chalet and how to get started.
1 You can travel even when you’re broke
Like I said before, you don’t have to have money at all for working as a chalet host – you can even have some depths. Most organizations cover everything for you, which means: flights – accommodation – food – ski rentals – insurance – ski pass and lessons and a minimum pay which will cover your monthly payments. I do need to tell you that the accommodation is mostly very scarce , but you can also be lucky and have your own little chalet with a rainshower like I have now.
2 And then you get to save a lot of money
Although the payment is mostly very low – think more about a voluntary payment – you don’t have to spend money at all.
It does depend quite much on the tips you get which mostly variates from 50 to 300 euro per week. Other words: you do need to do a good job for saving some money. At the end of a full season, you will have saved much enough for a new venture.
In general, you will earn (without your tips) 150 euro’s per week and that’s it. Which would be enough for a drink / some lunch and your payment. Unless you are a big fan of apres ski – shopping or whatsoever, you definitely need to safe some money before you’re going and you will go home broke. At least – you had a great time then.
3 You will meet (a lot of) new people
Every week you receive new guest from all over the world – this can be from Scandinavia – Germany – U.K. – the States – Africa – Belgium – Netherlands and so on.
It’s a great way to meet new and interesting people from all places and most of them are really friendly as well. Must be, because you know that you chose for a catered chalet and that you will be living with the hosts. If you don’t like that sort of socialization – than most people choose to stay in a resort / hotel or have their own chalet. Sometimes you become friends with your guests – have a drink or a bite and go out snowboarding.
But unfortunately, there are also people who don’t seem to get that you are a HOST, but instead treat you like you are cinderella. They just don’t understand life.
4 You will get to board or ski every they and become a pro
Last year I’ve done my first season as a chalet host and it was also my first time ever in the mountains. I had never snowboard before – let even say that I had ever seen mountains covered in snow. It was a big gamble if I would like it – but like I expected it turned out great. Working as a chalet host gives you the opportunity to become really good in snowboarding or skiing – as you get free lessons – a free board – a free ski pass and loads of time. Most people go every year one week on a wintersports holiday. It means that if you go out every day – that after a full season (4 months) – you had 16 years of snowboard experience in just one year. Great right?
5 You will get to live and work abroad
If you would like to live somewhere abroad, then working as a chalet host is a great way to achieve that. Most of the times you will also live in an extraordinary place in beautiful nature. .You will work in a different country with (probably) a different language – different food – different people. It’s a great way to live in a place and immediately feel like a local. You know everybody around you – always goes to the same butcher – supermarket and start to have these little chitchats.
Read: a taste of my mountain life to get a better impression of what a day looks like.
6 You will have free holidays (if karma is on your side)
I was really lucky in my first season when I had 2 weeks off because it wasn’t booked. Sometimes you will be transferred to other chalets to help them out, but I just had 2 weeks of holiday (of course with no payment). But this year the chalet was completely fully booked and I arrived with the first guests and will leave with the last guests – so no day extra off or a free holiday. You need to be lucky.
7 You can work with your (best) friend or your lover
If you apply as a chalet host couple you can apply with your (best) friend or partner which is great fun (and also a little challenging). Most organizations do have a preference for couples who have spent much time together and know how to be a team.
The best combinations will be if one is a good cook and the other know how to be a host / serving dinner and to keep the administration in good order.
Or you can also apply solo and be part of a team and work with new people who might become new friends.
8 You will gather new experiences and skills (Resume material)
Working in a chalet is also a great way to improve your resume, travel and have fun at the same time.
It depends on what the organization or small entrepreneurs are offering – but mostly the main task stays the same; preparing breakfast – serving – cleaning – administration – guest contact – making dinner – serving – socializing and so on. That said – you do need to love hospitality (and mostly you need a lot of experience as well ) – you need to love working with people (because not all of them are easy) and you might even need to be a great cook.
In the chalets where you need to cook – you mostly need to cook a three dinner course at your application as well, because you need to be able to cook for 24 people just on your own. A positive side effect of that – you just need to have a partner who can cook (for example – I can’t cook at all) – which means you need to apply as a chalet host couple.
And of course, you have a big passion for the sports or the area – like mountains and snowboarding or the sea and surfing.
Also, the frequency with new guests can be different – sometimes this can be every day – every few days or every week. The biggest difference can be if you work as a chalet host as a part of a bigger team or you work as a chalet host on your own, where you are your own boss with your own chalet.
I’m talking about the last one where you run your own chalet for a full season – where you get every week for a full week new guests (with exceptions shorter stays) – with the category: snowboarding.
In conclusion, with all the task you will improve or learn lots of new skills and experiences.
9 You will never be too old
That’s another great thing by working as a chalet host – because you will never be too old. Although the minimum age is mostly 21 – there is no maximum age. Most organizations actually prefer older people and also they also give workless – older people a better shot in their application. So if you are in your 50’s and would like to switch to a different life – then this might be your chance.
10 You will work with – and for more chilled-out people
Everybody is on a holiday and most people are quite chilled out. They appreciate things more – are less irritated and less demanding.
Once you know your structure – working as a chalet host can almost be the same as being on a holiday where you are the one who does the cooking – cleaning and shopping for them.
But don’t get me wrong – working as a chalet host IS hardworking. You work 6 days a week and even on your day off you mostly work.
Your working times begin early and end late – but you have some spare hours in between. Working hours are approximately from 7am to 10.30am and 4.30pm to 10.30pm, so if you’d like a drink – you can go out on the town too. The spare hours in between is up to you how you divide them – you can go snowboarding – sleeping – chilling – city trip of writing this article for example.
You will need to make 6 days a week a luxury breakfast – a three-course dinner and the vacuum- cleaner is your best friend.
On Saturday’s – better known as exchange days – you won’t have a break at all. You get up at 5 in the morning – prepare breakfast – take care of the early leaving guests – start cleaning the entire chalet (and it needs to be brand-new again) – bake a cake – pick up the new guests – prepare dinner – serve – explain (again..) the general information and maybe wait for the late arriving guests somewhere midnight. Other words: you don’t want to live on the Saturday’s.. but after that – its time to enjoy a simply relaxed working life again.
Would you like to work as a chalet host / chef in the season of ’16/’17? Then check these links out:
It is not easy to find a job as a chalet host where you can work a full season with nice condition. To help you out a little, here a list of organizations you can approach. Keep in mind that you need to apply almost 6 months before the season actually starts.
– The amazing organization I currently work for is a Dutch organization and is only available for Dutch speaking people to apply. Have a look on the site of Wens Chalet for more.
– Work a season is a specialist in ski companies with a large offer of vacancies. Apply here.
– Do you wish to work as a chalet host couple? Best ski jobs have a big review of vacancies to apply.
– Vip Chalets has their chalets in the Alps and are always looking for some enthusiast chalet host couples.
A small business who are looking for motivated individual chalet hosts – the boutique chalet.
And there are many more. Just type in the search machine of Google – working as a chalet host / work away / chalet host couple or catered chalet. Best to search a company from your own country and apply (because of terms of employment).
Would you work in a chalet or have you done it?
Did this list help you on your way?
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Photography & content:
Live the travel / Silke Peulen