Life with Ski-Val

Ever wondered what it's really like for Chalet staff? We've asked some of our staff and here's what they had to say...

Jo Rankin

Before returning from my first season in Courchevel, I already knew that I wanted to do another. I decided to work for ski-val in St. Anton as I used to ski in that area a lot and loved it. My sister had previously worked for ski-val in Val d’Isere and had such a great time with them.

After training week we were given the keys to our chalets, I ran a ten man chalet which was brand new at the beginning of the season, which was very exciting/ nerve racking as I had run a 6 man chalet on my previous season. After a couple of weeks I got into a good routine and got into the swing of things, which meant longer on the slopes!

I absolutely loved working for ski-val, so much that I have signed up for another season this coming winter and cannot wait to get back out there. I had a fantastic time in St.Anton and have made some life-long friends.

Jo Rankin Chalet Host, St. Anton

After doing two seasons in Canada I decided it was time to see how the Alps compared and was offered a position with Ski Val in Val d’Isere. Ski Val only operate in a few of the best resorts and having a small number of staff within each (around 25 in Val d’Isere) meaning everyone knows each other and hangs out together.

I worked on the chalet bar each evening and did the maintenance for all properties in resort which was as and when needed. The start of the season was pretty hectic and work seem to take up a lot of time but as the first few weeks of guest pass things soon settle down and there plenty of time to enjoy the hill or the bars, notice the word or as not many people can handle both for long given the early mornings.

Doing a season isn't all skiing and partying the work does come first but I found the work-life balance perfect unlike most jobs in England where work and commuting takes up most of the day. Been able to live and work right next to the pistes means you can jump from uniform into skis within minutes and hit the slopes. The resort was huge and had plenty of terrain to keep even the best skiers and boarders entertained all season.

Overall I had a great season with Ski Val and would recommend it to anyone who’s looking to do a season. Met some great people and got to board up to 6 days a week in some of the best snow and terrain in Europe, not many jobs can offer these perks!

Jamie Val d'Isere Bar/Maintenance

Having decided to spend a winter season working as a chalet host, I chose to work for Ski Val in Val d'Isere as they are a good-sized, family-run company, and Val d'Isere has long been one of my favourite resorts with hundreds of km of piste and lively apres/nightlife. As a friendly and relaxed company, Ski Val helped us all to settle into what otherwise might have been a highly stressful job, allowing us to run our chalets efficiently and keep our guests happy. 

With around 25 employees in resort, Ski Val was the perfect sized company, as we all got to know each other really well and formed a close-knit group, whilst there was also plenty of us that there was always someone around to ski/have fun with. Moreover, Ski Val hired people who all shared similar interests and who were at a similar stage in life, thus we all had a lot in common, and it was easy for us to all make friends. 

Overall, I had an excellent season and Ski Val were the perfect company to work for!

Nikki Val d'Isere Chalet Host

I spent my first season running a ten-man chalet in Val d’Isere with a friend. SkiVal seemed the perfect combination of a small, family run business with years of experience and having returned home I could not recommend working for them more.

I don’t think you can go into a season thinking it will be early work; juggling a gluten free/child friendly Christmas dinner with all the trimmings in a small kitchen on week 2 was definitely a learning curve!! However, despite the hectic start to the season our daily routine in the chalet began to get easier as we got more organised and efficient. We would usually be out on the slopes by 11 and could ski until 4.30, returning to the chalet at 5.30/6ish depending on whether we had children staying or not.

While other chalet companies have strict rules on how they operate we were given more responsibility and freedom to run our chalet which for me was a massive plus. Equally, with a team of 20 in resort we got to know each other really well which made the job so much more fun. Once you’ve done it you’ll never ever forget the magic of waking up in the mountains. To know your guests are having a great holiday and to be able to ski every day are just two things that make chalet hosting one of the most rewarding jobs around.

Charlotte Val d'Isere Chalet Host

Having just returned from our first season out in St Anton, we already want to go back!

My boyfriend Dan and I decided to leave our careers in the UK behind and fulfil our dream to do a winter season. I completed a weeks Chalet Hosting course in the summer before we left which prepared us for what to expect, although not essential, it was really worth doing and was great fun!

We chose Ski Val as the idea of a small family run business, we felt we would be valued team members and not just a number, Ski Val definitely lived up to this. Our resort managers were so friendly and were always on hand if we needed them.

We flew out to resort at the beginning of December where we completed our training with all the other hosts. It was great fun meeting everyone we would be working alongside and also sampling the menu we would be cooking for the rest of the season.

It was very exciting moving to our chalet after our training – as we lived in chalet, it would also be our home for the next 4 months. When you are running your own chalet, you really do feel a sense of pride towards it.

We hosted in a 12-person chalet, which to begin with was quite daunting but after a couple of weeks our confidence grew and we quickly develop a routine. Once we found our feet, we got a lot more free time out on the slopes. We were generally out of the chalet by 11am and would return back around 5pm for a quick power nap before evening service following this heading out into town for some fun!

We made some lifelong friendships and memories and can’t wait to return to St Anton in the future. With the new lift opening this winter, making it easier to access more of the Alberg skiing area, making St Anton an even more amazing place (if this is possible!) If we weren’t going travelling this winter, we would have already signed up for another season with Ski Val.

Lizzie St Anton Chalet Manager

Working with Ski-Val for two seasons, first as a Chalet Host in St Anton and then as a Chalet Manager in Val d'Isere was one of the best decisions I ever made. After working in London for almost six years, I decided to pursue my love for skiing and applied for a Chalet Host position with Ski-Val. The size of the company was an important factor for me with 20-30 people in each resort. They really do try to look after their staff and you don't feel like a small cog in a huge machine! You get to know your peers really well and within a few hours of meeting you have bonded over your love of blue-bird powder days and fancy dress!

The importance of customer care and the standards that are expected are one of the main reasons so many guests return year after year and these standards are also reflected within the company itself which is why so many staff also return, even as guests!

So if you want to have an amazing season where your presence really matters in the company, then choose Ski-Val. Just be prepared to work hard….and get used to Jaeger!

Lauren Chalet Host, then Chalet Manager

My second ski season was spent in St Anton, Austria with Ski-Val. I chose St Anton because of its reputation for apres, nightlife and advanced skiing. I chose Ski-Val because it is a small, independently run company and is the perfect size in resort. With a team of 26, it was easy to get to know everybody really well and become a big family. 

I ran a 12 man chalet with my girlfriend Leah and we lived next door to it in a fantastic room in a lovely elderly Austrian couple's guest house. 

Cooking a 4 course meal for 12 people 6 nights a week, cleaning the chalet every day and baking a cake whilst doing a fry up every morning is definitely not a doss which is what a lot of people think a ski season is! After a stressful, all work and no ski start to the season - things picked up. The people working for Ski-Val in St Anton were all brilliant, I have made some life long friends and they made my season ridiculously good fun. By the end of the season, we finished at around half 10am, were back in around 5/6pm and finished in the evening around half 9/10pm. 

My second season was unbelievably class - quality people, tasty food, a mixture of guests which kept it entertaining and your only care in the world is - what is the weather going to be like tomorrow? If I don't get a job in London soon then I'll be on the first flight out to Val D’isere for another season with Ski-Val!

Rob Chalet Host

Ski-Val is a great company to work for. As a family run company you're a valuable member of the team from day one and not just a number.

The manager's training was in Devon where we got to meet all of the friendly team at Head Office including Mike and Jackie (the owners) who invited my parents in for a cup of tea when they dropped me off! Alongside the training we got to sample the delicious winter menu, as prepared by the executive chef. The weekend really set us up for the season and ensured we knew the high standard Ski-Val expects.

As a chalet manager the job is a challenging and varied role managing staff and looking after guests, ensuring their holidays run smoothly from start to finish. It's great working in such a close-knit team and working together to give guests unforgettable holidays. It is a very rewarding job and hearing the lovely feedback from the guests really makes your day! The life skills you learn from doing a ski season are invaluable from practical problem solving to gaining confidence dealing with customers.

Living in the mountains and being able to ski in your free time is just one of the perks to doing a ski season and working for Ski-Val was a lovely unforgettable experience.

Keira Chalet Manager

Ski-Val entrusted me with responsibility and a leader's role from day one in resort, while I was always safe in the knowledge that if help was needed, Head Office was only a phone call away.

My main duty was to run the company's accounts in resort. This involved managing chalet budgets, processing payments and reconciling purchase ledger accounts. Interaction with guests was limited, as I spent most of my time dealing with staff and local suppliers.

Though work was intense throughout the season, our young team made the most of any time off  with the excellent social scene St. Anton had to offer.

Marco Resort Administrator
Fiona Reid

I chose to spend my second season in the Alps working with Ski-Val due to the appeal of a small, family run business set up by passionate skiers. Having completed my season, I genuinely felt like a valued member of the team.

Chalet Hosting is hard graft but is pretty unique in giving you the majority of the day on the mountain 6 days a week. You can be on the hill by 11, ski up until last lifts and even have time for après. Our typical day working in Julies Haus would be getting up at 7 with breakfast on the table by 8, cleared down by 9.30 and cleaning rooms until around 10.30. The day is yours until about 6 when you return to the chalet to prepare for dinner service which could be served and washed up by 9.30 allowing you to enjoy the night life St Anton has to offer.

Being a smaller company allows Ski-Val to be more flexible and accommodating to your needs as a host, giving you responsibility and independence to run your chalet whilst maintaining a great support network. If you are looking to do a season, I would highly recommend working for Ski-Val; you will meet some amazing people, find enjoyment in the work (even early mornings and change-over days) and have an unforgettable winter in the mountains.

Fiona Reid Chalet Host 2014/15
Hannah Perez

After completing our fifth winter season together, my boyfriend Gary and I have a definitely caught the ski (and snowboard) season bug! We both started out as chalet hosts and I have now worked my way up to becoming the Recruitment Director for Ski-Val. Gary is the Head Chef in the Alpaka Lodge in Tignes and we absolutely love our jobs!

Our first season with Ski-Val (third overall) was in St Anton where I worked as a Chalet Manager and Gary as a Chalet Chef in Julies Haus. Working for a smaller and family run company, we found the difference instantly noticeable- from our floods of pre-season questions being responded to promptly, to being flown out to resort rather than taking a coach, to help always being on hand, if needed. There is a list of reasons I can recommend working for Ski-Val (and not just because I am now in charge of recruitment)! Our second season with Ski-Val was spent working in Tignes. I started my role in recruitment in September ‘14 which I continued throughout the season, alongside managing the Alpaka Lodge. Gary ran things in the kitchen with help from Dan, the Sous Chef, cooking up some delicious dinners, which we were often lucky enough to have at staff mealtimes.

Other than working hard, most of our time was spent on the amazing slopes of the Espace Killy, alongside our friends- with over 300km of mountain to explore, Val d’Isere just over the hill and some incredible views, we rarely had time to be bored or get the elusive January “mid-season blues.”

If you are looking to have an amazing season in the snow, meet new friends, improve/learn to ski or snowboard and are prepared to get up early and work hard then drop me an email with your CV and a covering letter to:

Hannah Perez 2014/15

Working with Ski Val gave me a great chance to have more responsibility. Working as a chalet manager was a big step up from being a host but I really appreciated the support I received from the company. Being a small family run company made it much more personable, everyone knows who everyone is, when you call head office chances are you'll speak to Mike or Jackie the owners!

Doing a season is not as glamorous as everyone thinks but ski val made it as smooth and fun as possible. In my manager role my aim was to give guests the best experience possible by organising all aspects of their holiday whilst ensuring all my staff were working to ski val's standards. It was really satisfying dropping guests off at the airport at the end of the week and them already talking about coming back before the end of the season!

I would definitely recommend ski val in the future, you just have to be prepared to work hard, play hard!

Abbie Val d'Isere Chalet Manager