Catered Chalets, Ski Holidays, Working a Season

Chalet Hosting 101

by Fiona Bell | 29th May 2020

Thinking of Working a Ski Season?   Wondering if Chalet Hosting is the right position for you?

Our FAQ’s below should give you the low-down on the role, and a genuine overview of the highs and lows of being a chalet host!

What are the main responsibilities of a chalet host?
The chalet host job role will vary depending on the type of company that to which you are applying. For many, including ourselves at The Alpine Generation, the chalet host has the responsibility of ensuring that our guests have the holiday of a lifetime from the moment they arrive into resort and receive a warm welcome into their chalet, to when they are waved goodbye the following weekend. Our chalet hosts are responsible for all areas of chalet life, providing guests with a relaxing home-from-home experience. This includes catering and providing delicious meals, a clean well-kept chalet, and an abundance of information. The catering comprises cooked breakfasts, freshly baked afternoon tea cakes, and a three-course evening meal.  Example menus can be found on our Food & drink page.

What will the typical working hours be like?
Typically the first day of the week is always the longest and toughest. Changeover day may start with an early departure. A complete chalet clean is required and the chalet is to be set up perfectly once again for the new incoming guests. The new arrivals will then be greeted and welcomed into the chalet, given all the need to know resort and chalet information (usually sat around the fire with a glass of wine, or in our Signature Chalets their aperitif and canapés!) and then served a delicious welcome dinner. From the following morning, chalet hosts then fall into the weekly routine of serving breakfast, making the afternoon tea cake, and completing food preparation ready for the evening meal. After a daily light clean of the chalet and bedrooms, from late morning the rest of the day is your own to enjoy the resort and all the mountain has to offer. Work starts again late afternoon or early evening for dinner service; the times will very much depend on the dinner that night and the preparation completed in the morning, and whether there are children in the chalet requiring high tea.

The important thing to remember is that chalet hosting is the best job in a ski resort for maximising your time on the mountain. Every day except changeover day (and sometimes shopping day at the start of the season) chalet hosts have the flexibility to get out skiing or boarding, meaning you can be out on the mountain up to 6 days a week, a bonus which many other roles do not offer.

What are the main skills that I will require?
One of the key components of the chalet hosting role is catering, and therefore an underlying knowledge of food and cooking is essential, along with good catering ability. We do not specifically require any professional catering experience, but for those without we would request extensive experience of catering for large dinner parties, or attendance on a chalet-focused cookery course for those with less experience.

Chalet hosts have the power to really influence a guests’ holiday, making it a key role within our business, and the reason why personality is just as important to us as work experience and catering ability. Good interpersonal skills mean that our hosts have the ability to communicate effectively with our guests, and most importantly be liked. This will really add value to the guest experience and can make the difference between an average chalet host and an outstanding one, and it may well enhance your tips!

Other attributes which are vital to the role are attention to detail, time management, and the ability to manage difficult situations.

Do I have to attend a chalet host cookery course?
For some companies this may be essential; for us at The Alpine Generation it very much depends on your experience. For those with less experience, job offers may be made on the condition of completing a chalet cookery course. Attending a course shows commitment that can only be a benefit to potential employers.

Some chalet host courses, including the TAG Host course run by the team behind The Alpine Generation, are based in a real chalet environment. They specifically focus on chalet catering (for example, cooking at altitude) and also cover other aspects of being a chalet host, including housekeeping, time management and budgeting, so are extremely beneficial to anyone without the relevant experience. We would highly recommend courses based in chalets like the TAG Host course, as they also give participants the benefit of experiencing chalet working hours, and getting used to what working in a chalet kitchen is like.

Will I enjoy working a season as a chalet host?
That’s the aim! Of course, there will be times when it is tough, but the same can be said for any job. You will get out of it as much as you put in, so managing your time effectively, approaching everything with a positive attitude and really giving it your all will mean you can reap the benefits. You will be living in a beautiful mountain environment with the opportunity to experience a lot of new things and ski/snowboard a lot! You will meet a lot of new people from different backgrounds and our hosts usually make new friends for life.

Where will I live?
The Alpine Generation offer the option of staff accommodation to all chalet hosts, so you do not need to worry about sourcing your own place to live.  If you do have your own place, that’s also no problem!  If you choose accommodation provided by The Alpine Generation, some chalet hosts will live in their chalet and in other cases you would live out; accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis shared with one of your colleagues.

How long will the season be?
You will travel to resort early December for company specific training and resort orientation, prior to the arrival of the first guests. The season generally finishes towards the end of April; this may vary by resort.

Do I need to be physically fit?
Yes. You will be spending a lot of time on your feet, both in the chalet and out on the mountain. Couple this with some snow clearing, carrying shopping crates and physical exertion whilst you are out skiing or boarding, a good level of physical fitness is essential.

Am I too old/young (delete as appropriate!) to do a season?
We do generally ask that all applicants are over the age of 21, due to the experience required. We will however under exceptional circumstances employ hosts between the ages of 18 and 21 where outstanding experience is evident, alongside a mature attitude and excellent inter-personal skills.

We place no upper age limit on our recruitment and are more than happy to consider more mature applicants. You’ll see from reading more about our team here, that many of us actually came into the business as career breakers ourselves, and are therefore always open to others looking to do the same!

I have never skied/boarded before, is this a good role for me?
This is a risk. Some people try skiing and boarding and unfortunately don’t take to it, and a ski resort is no place to spend five months if you are not spending any of your time skiing or boarding. We would request that all applicants have at least tried skiing or boarding previously and have genuinely enjoyed learning. If you’re considering applying but haven’t been on a ski holiday before, we would recommend getting yourself to an indoor slope like Xscape or Chill Factore for a beginner taster session first. Some of our resorts are excellent for beginner skiers, and therefore successful candidates who are still relatively new to the sport would be placed accordingly.

Should I ask questions in the interview?
Definitely. An interview is as much your chance to make sure the role is right for you, as it is the interviewer’s opportunity to find out more about you. Asking relevant questions also shows enthusiasm and genuine interest.

So if you think you’ve got what it takes and the role is right for you, visit our Work with us page, and apply today!

Fiona Bell

Sales & Guest Services

There’s not much that Fiona doesn’t know about ski holidays. A catered chalet guest since the tender age of 3, she’s also done just about every job in resort. A mine of useful information, you can count on Fiona for recommendations, top tips and straightforward, no-nonsense advice.

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