Behind the Scenes at a Work & Travel USA Ski Resort
By Matt Wallace
4 minute read
What’s it like to work at a ski resort on a Work & Travel USA program? Being amongst some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain scenery excites the senses! Read on to find out what makes life behind the scenes at a ski resort so interesting!
You’ll learn about ski culture
A ski resort is like a little town. You feel a sense of community wandering around a resort, as people walk from their individual cabins to a communal lodge. After a cup of hot chocolate, you’ll strap on skis or a snowboard, head to the slopes on a ski lift, and finally return to the lodge to celebrate the day’s accomplishments.
The best part? This community is set against the backdrop of some of the USA’s most beautiful natural landscapes in the Rocky Mountains of the West, or the mountain peaks of the Northeast. Work & Travel USA participants wake up each morning, look out their windows, and see snowy mountains towering over the horizon and tall ski lifts ferrying excited families in snowgear to their first slope of the day.
Everyone’s in a good mood at a ski resort. Anny, from Bolivia, worked at Mountain Green Resort in Vermont. “Everything is amazing,” she said. “I loved my experience here, I’m coming back next season!”
Leslie, from Peru, enjoyed the community atmosphere as well. At Utah’s Park City Mountain, she noted that “my coworkers always wanted me to feel like I’m part of the crew. Whenever I asked them for help, they were always willing to do it!” And it’s not just the staff who were helpful: “Everyone I met from the USA was always kind,” she said. “Americans rock!”
You’ll learn about U.S. culture, community, and practice English
Working at a ski resort is a great way to practice your English in an immersive environment. You’ll be surrounded by people from all over the world who are also trying to improve their English skills, so it’s a perfect opportunity to make friends and learn common phrases and share your language.
“Meeting so many people helped me improve my English,” said Johana, a 2021 Work & Travel USA participant from Argentina. “Since my career is based on international relationships, I was also able to create connections!”
Similarly, Camila from Paraguay explained: “My future career goal is to apply to a Master or a PhD program in the U.S. or in Europe. The Work and Travel USA program will help me get the experience universities normally look for and also improve my level of English which is important no matter what field I decide to get into.”
You can practice skiing and snowboarding
In addition to English, Camila also practiced snowboarding! “‘It doesn’t snow where I’m from,’ she said.
In fact, many participants take the opportunity at a ski resort to develop their skills: “I skied with my friends a lot,” says Leslie.
Leslie, like many other Work & Travel USA participants, enjoyed trying out “courses,” or routes down a mountain, of different difficulty levels. Most ski resorts have many such courses to help people find a challenge they’re comfortable with. And while you’ll make many friends during your program that are beginners, you’ll also be surrounded by experienced skiers and snowboarders who can help you develop your skills. Finally, if you really want to get better, you can also hire a coach for personalized instruction. Imagine returning home after your program with an entirely new skill! The best part? Some ski resort host employers offer their workers discounted fees to use the slopes!
Not a fan of skis or snowboards? Or looking for something a little more relaxed? That’s okay; in your free time you can hop on a sled, like Anny:
One thing these enthusiastic participants have in common? Being from places where neither snow nor winter sports are part of the culture. What made skiing, snowboarding, and sledding so fun for them? Besides the novelty, participants find enjoyment in learning something new. Along with learning comes the adrenaline rush. Even the less intense courses will pump those endorphins through your system. And don’t forget to take in the scenery! Starting off at the top of a slope, peering downhill, and seeing a birds-eye view of a mountain range is enough to take your breath away. (And impress your Instagram followers!)
You’ll be close to the USA’s best locations for your post-program travel
You will experience this all during the “working” part of Work & Travel USA! After your program ends, you’ll want to make the most of your 30 day travel opportunities! Whether your host employer is on the west or east coast of the USA, you’ll have the chance to make the most of what the United States has to offer.
Kamila, from Paraguay, stayed in the area around Utah, and visited several national parks, including the Grand Canyon!
But you can go even farther! Leslie, for example, is planning on traveling across the country, from Utah to New York City.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro from Bariloche or you’ve never seen snow in your life, the chance to work at an American ski resort will be an unforgettable adventure.
Are you ready to spend your summer at one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the USA, meet ski enthusiasts from all over the world, and learn about U.S. culture? Find more information about Work & Travel USA programs here!
Matt Wallace is the Community & Digital Content Manager for the InterExchange Marketing team. He received a Master of Science in Global Affairs from New York University, and worked with the State Department and two New York organizations with missions to introduce young people to multiculturalism and international relations. He is excited to leverage this experience with InterExchange!
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