The Best Mountains To Work A Ski Season In The USA And Canada

How many times have you wanted to make sense of the many, many white-Christmas references that pepper popular culture during December? It’s an experience that Australians have been deprived of since the genesis of Christmas carols. If your curiosity is gnawing away at you, perhaps spending some time in the Northern Hemisphere during winter is something worth exploring. And because you’ll need to sustain your lifestyle while abroad, how about earning some cash while you’re at it?

It’s not uncommon for Aussies to make the trek to North America to work a ski season. It’s a phenomenal way to fill the winter months of a gap year, meet fantastic new people and to explore other career options. It’s also an experience with options aplenty: from being a ski instructor, to bartender, to admin and operations – the vocational options are expansive.

If you do want to work a ski season, the United States and Canada are home to many awe-inspiring mountains that are in need of seasonal staff year after year. Complete with countless employee perks – including a pass to the mountains, transportation, discounted accommodation, food and drinks – what more could you ask for? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular snow season destinations … all that’s left to do is for you to pick one.

#1 Aspen, Colorado


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Aspen, Colorado, is a household name when it comes to snow. Don’t let its ritzy reputation fool you though – this skiing capital attracts people from all walks of life, all over the world. Home to Snowmass, Mountain, Highlands and Buttermilk – the key skiing areas in Aspen – you’ll have over 2000 hectares of terrain to explore.

#2 Whistler, British Columbia


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Having a reputation as the most popular resort in Canada, Whistler is an obvious choice to work a season. With some of the best slopes imaginable, both local and international staff year-round, and a non-stop energy in the village throughout the season – there’s never a dull moment.

#3 Vail, Colorado


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The slopes in Vail attract an steady mix of authenticity and glamour. Although it’s true that some regulars at Vail have a lot of cash to burn, seasonal workers in this stunning part of the world will also be met with a laid-back mountain vibe, friendly locals, and many options for cheap eats and local drinking haunts. That, along with the famous snow and sun Colorado has to offer, makes Vail a top choice.

#4 Big Sky, Montana


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In addition to holding the title of being the biggest ski resort in the United States, Big Sky has a yearly average of 10 meters of snow. If huge terrain and sparse crowds is an appealing concept – it might be worth looking into this Montana mountain.

#5 Jackson Hole, Wyoming 


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Jackson Hole is known for drawing the world’s most adventurous riders to tackle its terrain. The nearby town of Jackson is charming place to visit (think: Westworld) which acts as the gateway to a large number of tourist spots, including world famous Yellowstone National Park.

#6 Banff, Alberta


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Banff is a base for three key ski locations in the area – Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Banff Norquay. While Norquay is a smaller resort, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village have a world-class reputation, with expansive mountain terrain and rocky runs to keep you challenged the entire season. And with its never ending nightlife – you’ll be hard-pressed to have a bad time.

#7 Fernie, British Columbia


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For one of Canada’s lesser-known ski stops, the snow at Fernie has a reputation of being among the best in the country. If you’d prefer your experience to go at a slower pace, the slopes at Fernie throughout the week generally have fewer people on them, due to its allure as a holiday hotspot, not a day-trip location.

#8 Mammoth, California


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California isn’t traditionally known for its freezing conditions but exceptions can be made with Mammoth. The snow at this Sierra Nevada’s mountain  is consistently great and terrain parks are among the top the world, with many pros calling Mammoth home.

#9 Snowbird, Utah


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Boasting the longest season in the United States, the wildest terrain, and arguably the driest snow in Utah, Snowbird is stellar choice as a place to work a season. Its close proximity Salt Lake City also means access to the perks (and supplies) of a big city.

#10 Mt Baker, Washington


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Nestled in the very top corner of the USA, Mt Baker is known best for its average snowfall; the resort averages a whopping  17 metres of snow per season, making for plentiful powder days throughout the season and jobs for seasonal workers in abundance.

Check out Qantas flights to North America to begin your snow-season adventure.

(Image: Unsplash / Holly Mandarich)