For the majority of skiers and snowboarders, the thought of doing a winter season is the ultimate dream and the chance to live high up a mountain and have skiing and snowboarding on your doorstep through the entire winter is indeed a tempting prospect. Below is a guide for how to do a ski season plus some extra winter seasonaire tips by iRide.
Advice for how to do a ski season
However, knowing where to get started with spending four months abroad can be tricky at the best of times without throwing in the complications of living halfway up a mountain. Presening some seasonaire tips (saisonnaire) by iRide ski and snowboard. Check at the end of the article for advice regarding COVID.
Winter seasonaire tips
With six seasons under my belt, I’ve probably spent enough time in the mountains to be able to offer at least small insight into to how to make things easier doing a season. Plus, the last few years I’ve been asked this same question by so many people that it seemed a no-brainer to finally put this stuff down. While these tips for doing a winter season are by no means exhaustive, hopefully you’ll find a few useful tips to help make doing a ski or snowboard season easier.
Video guide to doing a winter ski season
Because I’m aware not everyone is that keen on a ‘long read’, there are two versions of this – a video or the text below. The text has a lot of stuff I forgot to add into the video version, but it’s your call – whichever one you prefer. While not comprehensive, there are still some nuggets of info in here that will make your life easier.
The iRide ski and snowboard YouTube channel
If you’ve got any feedback or questions, please link out to the YouTube channel and put them there – it’s easier to answer things there. Also, if you found this in any way useful, please subscribe to the YT channel – http://tiny.cc/6skxgz. Thanks :D.
Video guide for how to do a ski season
1. Finding work – winter seasonaire tips
How to find work for a winter ski season – a saisonnaire’s guide
Once you’ve decided you’re doing this – you’re doing a season – you’ll likely be desperate to get going and get it all sorted as quickly as possible. Your first priority will be finding work and, hopefully, somewhere to stay. In all likelihood, you’ll probably make this decision over summer – but things in the mountains don’t work quite like that.
The off-season in most ski resorts
In the main, when the resorts close in April, most of the business owners (ie the people you want to employ you), take a well-earned summer break. Some re-open through July and August but, even then, nobody is particularly thinking about winter yet. In reality, most vacancies don’t come up until September / October – and even that’s early for some places.
The advantages of working with ski holiday companies for doing a ski season
The exception to this rule is the ski holiday companies. In the main, the majority of holiday company jobs are assigned over the summer months – with the obligatory training days taking place through late autumn. There are numerous advantages to working for the tour companies – mostly the fact that you’ll be fed, housed and be given a lift pass for free (check this first as company policies differ – though most give the full package). The pay is, in the main, pretty dire – but then again, this is money in your back pocket as everything else is covered.
Ski season accommodation with travel companies
A word of warning though – you’ll need to comfortable with the idea of living with strangers as almost all staff accommodation is shared, typically with bunk beds in pretty compact and bijou rooms. Still, it’s a great way to do a season on the cheap – and you pretty much have everything done for you, including getting out to resort which is normally taken care of for you.
Useful resources for finding ski season work – seasonnaire guide
To apply for tour operator work, either go direct to the companies through their websites – or you can also browse jobs on dedicated ski season sites such as http://jobs.natives.co.uk, https://www.workaseason.com, https://www.seasonworkers.com/skijobs or https://www.ski-jobs.co.uk. Google ‘ski season jobs’ for other options.
2. Finding winter ski season work / accommodation
How to find work and accommodation for a winter ski season
Almost without exception, your best bet for finding work or accommodation is to sign up to Facebook saisonnaire pages. Yep, in the modern, connected world this is where you’ll normally find things are posted first.
Accommodation in the Alps is a nightmare these days (well, at least it is in France – but I can’t think it can be that different other places either). The incessant rise of sites like Airbnb have made it much too tempting for property owners to put their digs online – and win big as a result. End of the day, most owners know they will make considerably more money renting weekly than they’ll ever be able to charge the typical saisonnaire.
Tips to find ski season work and accommodation
There is one specialist site you could try – livetheseason – though their prices are inflated compared to finding accommodation on your own. The best bet for finding a place to stay remains signing up to the saisonnaire pages. Check out iRide’s Pinterest board for more ideas on how to do a winter ski season.
3. Winter season tip – Go as a group
Should you do a ski season on your own?
This is a tricky one. It’s fairly unlikely you’ll find yourself in a group of friends that all want to do a season exactly when you want to – or perhaps where you want to – but, if you can, try and get a few of you together. Everything works out much cheaper when you’re in a group i.e. single occupancy rooms in hotels are always more expensive.
It’s also handy having other, trusted people around you – particularly if this is your first season or extended time away. Plus, it’ll mean guaranteed group riding – which is always better than riding alone.
Doing a winter season alone vs going with friends
All this said, there is one definite advantage to travelling alone – and that is you are far more likely to meet and speak to new people. People are always more approachable when they’re alone – plus you’ll likely find you will make more of an effort to talk to strangers. So, there are two sides to this one. Travelling alone definitely isn’t all bad.
4. Top tip for how to do a ski season – try to find a job with accommodation
Tips to find a job with accommodation while doing a winter ski season
If possible, try and find a job that comes with accommodation included. Sure, you may well end up staying with the very same people you work with each day – but it’s a much cheaper way of doing things than going it alone.
Many bar jobs come with some kind of accommodation included – to the point many bar owners also own apartments, specifically for their staff.
5. Speak to people to learn how to do a ski season
Who we know is as important as what we know – winter seasonnaire tips
This might sound obvious – but it’s surprising how many people don’t think of it. Chances are, wherever you’re planning to do a season, you’ll have been there on holiday before. After all, we tend to go places we know. If you’re on holiday in that same resort before your season, try and get speaking to people.
As with most things in life, it’s often who we know – not what we know – that counts.
6. Get fit before you do a winter season
Get fit before doing a winter ski or snowboard season
I really can’t stress this one enough. Skiing and snowboarding are both physical sports that exercise muscles you simply don’t use in everyday life. There are few things worse than getting leg burn within the first few hours of being out on the hill. Yes, you could argue you’ll build muscles the more you go up but really – why bother wasting that time when you could easily get yourself in reasonable shape before you leave.
Stretching is equally as important as building strength for a ski season
BTW, ‘getting fit’ doesn’t only apply to building muscle – you really want to be doing stretching exercises too to get yourself limber for riding. A vast number of injuries are caused by seemingly innocuous falls and, more often than not, involve pulls and sprains. You can avoid both by doing stretches and exercises before you’re anywhere near the mountains.
Workout video for winter ski season fitness
Also, while many will mock, it’s actually a good idea to spend 5-10 minutes each morning doing stretches before you head out. UK Olympian snowboarder Aimee Fuller has a great 20-minute workout on the YT feed below.
7. Getting your winter season pass
Save money on your ski lift pass with saisonnaire rates
Resorts don’t really like to talk about this but a season pass is massively cheaper than the typical punter rate – you can be looking at as much as 75% cheaper. The figures are easy – we’re talking about 400€ compared to the full price 1200€+ in some stations. That’s a lot of Génépi ;).
Tips to get your winter ski season lift pass
To get a saisonnaire season pass, pretty much all resorts will ask to see a valid work contract from your employer (if you’re super lucky, some employers will give you a pass as part of the job) and very often proof of accommodation (ie a rental agreement). Bottom line though, you will need a work contract to get the reduced price, regardless of anything else.
As a freelance journalist, I still have issues getting a reduced pass, year on year. It’s much better if you have a bona fide employer in resort. Another thing worth considering – many resorts are now upwards of 50€ for a day pass – so, even if you only have one or two days off per week, you’ll still save money if you go riding eight days or less.
Buying a ski season lift pass vs buying day passes
It might seem like a big outlay at the start but those single days up the hill soon add up. It should be pretty easy to work out if a saisonnaire pass makes sense for you.
8. Saisonnaire discounts – how to do a ski season
Save money on food and drinks while doing a winter season
Again, this is something most bars/restaurants don’t like to advertise – though almost all do it. If you’re a saisonnaire, you’ll normally qualify for a discount on drinks. Discounts are less common on food for some reason – but most bars will give you cheaper drinks.
Tips to get saisonnaire prices while doing ski season
The first week you arrive in resort (which is normally much earlier than everyone else – often before the resort has even opened), get your face known. It pays dividends to do nights out early in the season. Plus, you’ll get to meet more people – friends that will most likely last the entire trip.
9. Don’t break yourself
Take it easy at the start of your winter ski season
Another one that should be obvious – but so, so often isn’t. Don’t break yourself. Every season I’ve done, I’ve known people that ended up going home early through hucking it too big, too fast through the first few days.
Doing a ski season isn’t like being on holiday
Remember – unlike the normal holidaymakers, you’re here for the duration. In most resorts, this amounts to around four and a half months. Even if it snows like the dawn of Armageddon when you first arrive, there will be many more epic powder days before the season is out.
This isn’t like a holiday where you just have limited days on the hill. Think ahead. And anyway, you’ll always find your riding is way better at the end of the season than the start. Leave those epic park days for later in the year.
10. Speak the language – tips for how to do a ski season
Why you should try to learn some of the local language when doing a ski season
Here’s a truth – and, really, it applies the world over, summer or winter – people appreciate if you at least try to speak their language. I’m not necessarily meaning speaking fluently – though it is a huge advantage if you can – but I’ve never been anywhere where the locals don’t appreciate a trier.
Locals will appreciate your effort if you learn the language on your winter ski season
If you’re taking a job in resort, it’s almost always a pre-requisite that you can speak that country’s language. Sure, some jobs like plongeurs (dishwashers) or general cleaners don’t really involve much interaction with the public – but you’ll still likely be surrounded by people from that country (ie it’s good if you’re able to speak the language to at least some degree).
Knowing a little of the local language goes a long way – and that even applies to just every day things like shopping, asking directions or ordering food and drink.
11. You don’t need much stuff when you’re doing a winter season
Advice for packing for a winter ski season
Seriously, you really don’t need as much as you think you do. Contrary to what you might be thinking as you consider the idea of spending 5 months in a different country, you honestly do not need to take a lot with you. You can quite easily get by on a week’s underwear, a few t-shirts, a couple of pairs of trousers and possibly – at most – two pairs of shoes. You’re not on holiday – you’re here to work and ride. The holidaymakers can wear a different outfit every night. We are not the same.
What to pack for a winter ski season
The things you’ll likely wear most will be your ski/snowboard gear – jacket, salopettes, fleece, hoodie, gloves, etc. This changes a little if you’re working as many places will give you a uniform. The rest of your stuff should be snowboard or ski-related. It’s what you’ll wear the most.
The ultimate ski season packing list – packing list for ski or snowboard holidays
This might seem alien at first – but trust me – lugging 90kgs around at the start and end of the season is more pain than it’s worth just to apparently “look cool”. I’ve put together a comprehensive list of things we’d recommend for a ski/snowboard holiday – and I really do mean ‘comprehensive’. You likely won’t need even half this stuff.
The list is meant more as a guide for people that haven’t been on a winter trip before and have zero experience of what they should take. One thing you definitely need – a four-way extension lead. There are *never* enough sockets in any accommodation, anywhere. And if you’re sharing, this situation only gets worse as you vie for the last spare power source in the room.
12. Shop in the valleys to save money doing a winter season
How to save money while doing a winter season
Ski resorts are expensive. This is just an unavoidable fact of life. The reasons are numerous but one simple truth is the bar/restaurant/shop owners know their customers are isolated – most times at the top of a mighty big hill, with no option for buying anywhere else.
Shopping in the valleys will save you money doing a winter season
Yes, their rates are high – yes, it’s more expensive for them to get goods up the hill – and yes, the owners only make money 5 months of the year, etc – but it’s also an undeniable truth that you, the punter, will have no option but to pay these inflated prices when you’re in resort. However, if you’re doing a season, you have other options – and the biggest, best and cheapest of those is to shop down in the valleys (or even further away from the resort). The savings can be massive.
Do one big shop at the start of your winter ski season
My advice – do one big shop at the start of the season that will see you through to the end. This should involve getting the staple items that are ridiculously expensive in ski resorts: toilet rolls, cleaning liquids/cloths, etc, tinned/frozen food (remember and check how big your freezer is), pasta, jars of sauces, etc.
Do a shop at the start of the year and you’ll normally find you’re only going to the shop for perishables (ie fruit/veg/milk/bread etc). You can save a fortune.
13. Know someone with a car – or take your own
Linked to the previous statement, having access to private transport opens up a world of opportunities – not least of which is being able to shop in the valleys. But it’s more than that. At some point, you may need to go home – or will maybe want to take a trip to a neighbouring resort – whatever.
Being stuck up a hill normally means getting down is expensive. Having mates with a car (or having your own) is a huge advantage. Plus it’s way easier getting that start-of-season shop back up the hill in a car than on public buses.
14. Be realistic about what doing a ski season means
How to know if a winter ski season is right for you
As I write this in late December, we’ve already seen the first dropouts of the winter with people returning home. These numbers always increase just after the New Year as the festivities end and normal life resumes. For many, doing a winter season will be their first extended time away from home, away from friends and family.
What is doing a winter ski season like?
The first few weeks of the season are almost always a frenzied blur as you settle into new digs, get used to new responsibilities in your job and just generally find your feet. Then Christmas arrives – a baptism of fire before you’re even sure what you’re supposed to be doing – often with difficult clients at one of the busiest times of the year. Couple this with a general feeling of missing the security and familiarity of home and many people find themselves getting disillusioned.
Tips for winter ski season seasonnaires
I’ve said many times, doing a season is just a microcosm in the mountains and you will – 100% for sure – have good days and bad days. The key is to try and stay realistic with yourself, recognise the down moments are temporary and stay focused on the idea things will improve. I don’t know a single saisonnaire that hasn’t, at some point, considered chucking it all in and heading back home.
15. Picking up work late – winter seasonaire tips
Finding saisonnaire jobs later in the winter season
Linked to the above, if you weren’t fortunate enough to find work or accommodation in the ‘first-round’ (ie before the season started), you will pretty much always find opportunities pick up again at the start of January.
January jobs in winter ski resorts
Year on year, there are always people that decide a season isn’t for them and head home after Christmas and New Year. It might be from feeling homesick – it might be that they had a wholly unrealistic vision of what a season is really like – but, whatever the reason, vacancies always crop up at the start of January. Again, keep an eye on the saisonnaire Facebook pages – or check the season employment sites listed above.
16. Ski season tip – never travel without duct tape – ever
Things you need to pack when doing a winter season
This actually applies to any ski or snowboard trip, anywhere – at any time. Duct tape is the bona fide fixer of all things. Never, ever travel without it. And while we’re on the subject of fixing things, snowboarders should also always ride with at least one spare binding strap – plus a mini-driver.
Ski kit tends to be a lot more robust – plus there are normally screwdrivers that will fit most ski set-ups at the bottom or top stations of ski lifts.
Other tips for winter saisonnaires
String and drawing pins are also handy – for any number of reasons – as is Araldite. You also won’t go wrong with earplugs – particularly if you’re sharing an apartment. A lot goes on in shared seasonal accommodation – most of which you probably don’t want to hear.
17. Become an expert – doing a ski season tips
The importance of learning about mountain life when doing a winter season
And by this, I don’t mean like one of those know-it-all-but-knows-sh*te-all experts. Rather, I mean learn the useful stuff and read up on things you need to know to be safe in the mountains. Becoming an expert in the weather is pretty much obligatory (you’ll talk a lot about the weather doing a season) – but also learn about avalanche theory, safe zones to ride, the best places to go when the holiday crowds arrive, etc.
Finding the secret stashes from other seasonnaires
Also, ask around existing saissonaires so you can learn where to find the secret stashes only the locals hit. Not only will you end up having a better, more rewarding season – you’ll also be able to help others (though, please, don’t go telling everyone where those secret zones are).
Build your knowledge when doing a winter season
Having this kind of overall mountain knowledge means, should the worst happen and you find yourself in a ‘situation’, you’ll be much better equipped to get yourself and those around you out safely.
18. Insurance for doing a winter ski or snowboard season
Ski season insurance – why you need it
Even if you’re just on a winter holiday – never mind doing a season – we all hope the worst won’t happen and we’ll ride without injury. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case when you’re pushing yourself at sports like skiing and snowboarding – and particularly if you’re out on the hill as often as you will be during a season.
The best insurers for doing a ski or snowboard season
Insurance is a necessary evil. Of course, it’s annoying when you don’t use it but, should the unthinkable happen, you’ll be very glad you had cover. The fees for uninsured rescue soon mount up. For example, an average helicopter rescue costs 1700€ – an on-hill rescue is 370€ upwards – even just an ambulance or taxi to the closest medical centre can cost upwards of 200€. The figures get mind-boggling when you also include treatment.
Why you need insurance doing a ski or snowboard season
Don’t leave your health to chance. You definitely need some form of insurance. The type and length of cover will be down to what you intend doing but season-long insurance is (obviously) more expensive than regular holiday insurance. Still, it’s actually quite competitive when you consider what you’re doing. Companies I’d recommend (and have tried and tested in the past) include:
Types of ski season insurance
- TrueTraveller: The best and most flexible insurance company I’ve found. They’ll even cover you if you’re already outside the UK – almost all other companies stipulate you must be in the UK when you purchase your policy. And most also insist you were resident in the UK for at least six months. This simply isn’t practical for most travelers. TrueTraveller is a specialist in long-term, backpacker insurance company but also covers you for everything you need to do a full ski season eg personal liability, accidental damage, lost luggage and belongings, personal injury, repatriation, extreme sports, gadget cover, etc. The full shooting match at an unbeatable price without time limitations.
- Carre Neige: Carre Neige is an affiliation of brokers, insurers, assistance organisers and ski stations offering unrivalled mountain insurance in the Savoie region of France. Unlike many ‘official’ insurers, Carre Neige offers complete on and off-piste cover. Even if you already have insurance, it’s still worth considering this as a back-up. Carre Neige can be purchased when you buy your lift pass in the station for a small additional premium. Full-season cover is also available (and highly recommended). They’ll even reimburse a percentage of your season pass in the event the worst happens. If you’re in other resorts, ask locally what type of cover is available.
- Other insurers: There are obviously other insurers available however pretty much all run 90-day cover (meaning you will need to return to the UK to reactivate your policy every 90 days). This can be as simple as arriving at a UK airport then flying out again – but it’s still a massive hassle.
19. If you need them, get lessons
The best-priced ski or snowboard lessons for seasonnaires
Yes, it’s true that lessons can seem expensive compared to the typical saisonnaire’s income but, if you’re just starting out, you really need to just bit the bullet. Obviously, it’s an advantage if you know good skiers or snowboarders and you will learn things from them for sure. However, if you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before, there’s really no substitute for a few hours with a qualified instructor.
Practice, practice, practice
The majority of learning to ride is repetition anyway so taking a half-day with a pro at the start will set you up right so you can go out and practise the skills you’ve learned on your own. Don’t do like the guy above (Sergio from Portugal) and try to learn from YouTube videos alone. They’re a good back-up but there’s no substitute for learning the right technique from the start.
Saisonnaire money-savings on ski/snowboard lessons
We’ve teamed up with industry-leaders SkiBro who offer an exclusive SnowGuru / iRide discount of 20€/CHF when you use the link below (note this is even cheaper than you’ll get on their website). Use code GURU20 when booking to qualify.
20. Ski season tips – Dress in layers
The logic of dressing in layers while in the mountains
When you’re out riding, always think about layering your clothing. Clothes don’t actually keep you warm – it’s the gaps of air between that give you warmth – so always dress in multiple layers. This also gives you the flexibility to add or remove layers if you find yourself too cold or hot. The image above from Cool Antarctica gives a good idea of successful layering.
21. Money and cards when doing a winter ski season
Money-saving tips for winter seasonaires
You’re abroad. This means you’re not using Sterling anymore and will be at the mercy of exchange rates and, worse yet, whatever your bank deems fit to charge for withdrawing money or using your card abroad. In some cases, this can end up a horrendous drain – particularly if you’re one of those people that likes to take out “only what they need” from a cash machine. Check what your bank’s rates are and, if need be, change account or – better yet – just get a second card.
Save money with internet-only bank accounts
There are loads of internet-only banks these days that do a grand job of transferring money at preferential rates compared to the randomness of traditional banks. My preferred option is the Revolut card (direct link below). Like most modern card services, Revolut comes with an app that alerts you each time you spend money – and can even keep track of how you’re spending. This can be viewed as a good or a bad thing – particularly after a heavy night out.
22. Label your stuff – winter seasonaire tips
Yep, we’re talking one step away from having the gloves your Mum used to make you wear at primary school – the ones linked with string that you passed through the sleeves of your jacket so you didn’t lose them. However, this advice is sound and simple – you’re in a ski resort, you’re probably going to get drunk some of the time and you are definitely going to lose or forget things at some point.
Holidaymakers vs seasonnaires
While holidaymakers might not be that generous in terms of trying to get things back, saisonnaires almost always are. And you’ll make their job considerably easier if you label your stuff. Facebook is really good for things like this (again, sign up to the saisonnaire pages) – however the task of getting things back is much easier if your stuff already has a name on it.
Looking after your phone while doing a winter season
As for phones, either carry a business card in the phone cover or get some kind of sticker with your email address. And always install phone tracking software (most modern phones have this installed already). Anyone stealing a phone these days is daft anyway as you can always lock it using the IMEI number – but getting it back will be much more likely if you have some kind of contact details. This also applies to keys, cameras, wallets, etc.
23. Get a gimbal / selfie stick / stabilised cam
The importance of using a stabilised camera
You obviously don’t need all of these but if you’re using an old-style GoPro, seriously, invest in a gimbal. YouTube was once awash with headache-inducing, super sketchy helmet cam footage – the kind of stuff that, really, was only interesting to the person that filmed it. More importantly, however, this might end up the only season you do – you deserve to be left with life-long memories from it.
Most modern cameras now have in-built self-stabilising mechanisms but, if not, get a gimbal. Also, consider getting a selfie stick. You’ll find this a much better and involving way of filming rather than just standard helmet or chest-cam straps.
The Garmin VIRB vs GoPro Max
Personally, the set-up I use is the Garmin VIRB 360 coupled with a stick. The Garmin is the best camera I’ve ever used and has unrivaled capabilities including filming in Full HD 360, timelapse recording, Hyperlapse sequencing, etc. As an added bonus, it’s also waterproof and even records your tracks (including altitude, distance, speed, location and G-Force). Click here for a full review.
UPDATE: I’ve since found Garmin has discontinued the VIRB 360 so have invested in a the new GoPro Max 360 camera. It’s been delivered to an address in France while I’m still in Turkey at the moment. However, expect a review soon when I get my hands on it finally.
The best video editing software for your ski season video
In terms of editing software, I use the VIRB’s proprietary editor combined with Adobe After Effects/Premiere and, recently, the excellent DaVinci Resolve – the core version of which is free and available to download here for both Windows and Mac OS – https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve
24. Tracking apps when doing a winter ski season
The best ski/snowboard tracking apps for your winter season
There are too many to mention but a tracking app is a great way to look back on your days and see where you’ve been. Even Googlemaps does an ok job of showing your tracks these days but, for the really interesting stuff, you’ll want to download one of the more specialised apps which include altitude and speed data.
If you want to get a video of your tracks, install Relive (https://relive.cc/). This app tracks your run, speed, distance, etc then makes it into a Tour de France type animation when you’re done. Pretty awesome tech. Note, Relive can be used as a standalone or with other trackers like Strava etc.
25. Mobile phone deals – guide to doing a ski season
When you’re doing a ski season, get a local sim card
Here’s a truth – UK mobile companies are a rip-off. And I can say this with complete conviction having spent a good amount of time in Italy, Spain, France and Turkey over the last few years.
The UK has some of the highest mobile rates in Europe. If you want a better deal, buy a local SIM card and run it alongside your UK SIM. Ideally, you’ll have a dual-SIM phone but, if not, it’s not that big a deal to buy a cheap mobile and swap your UK card out into that and instead use the local SIM in your main phone. You’ll be amazed at the savings.
Money-saving mobile phone tips for doing a winter season
For me personally, I have a Free mobile 4G SIM with 100Gb data included (25Gb if outside France), unlimited calls, unlimited calls and SMS and free voice messaging. The total cost? 19.99€ per month. And that’s PAYG ie no contract. I don’t even use my UK SIM anymore.
26. Keep your lift pass in your salopettes
Don’t take chances with your winter ski season lift pass
Most modern salopettes have a dedicated lift pass pocket on the side designed specifically for this purpose. Use it. You’re very unlikely to leave your salopettes somewhere but you are quite likely to misplace a jacket. Moreover, these pockets are pretty much the ideal height for the scanners at most ski lifts.
Securely store the paper receipt of your winter ski season pass
On the subject of list passes, despite us being very much in a computerised age, guard the paper receipt of your season pass with your life. Ski resorts tend to be a little weird with season passes and will often want all sorts of proof of purchase should you lose yours.
Also – super important – don’t go lending your pass to other people. Resorts got wise to this a long time ago and you (plus the person using it) will more than likely get caught, fined, banned or worse.
27. Hire skis, boards, helmets etc
If this is your first winter season, there’s a chance you’ll also be new to skiing, snowboarding or both. Perhaps you’re already a skier and fancy trying snowboarding or vice versa.
Money-saving deals for ski or snowboard rental for winter seasonaires
Whatever your circumstances, we’ve partnered with the most popular and most extensive ski/snowboard hire company in the Alps, SkiSet who are also offering exclusive discounts to our SnowGuru / iRide clients. Just click the link below to book and start saving money.
28. Family and friends – winter ski season tips
Without doubt, when family and friends back home get wind of the fact you’re doing a season, they’re going to have ideas of coming to visit. After all, what could be better than having their own personal guide who knows a resort inside and out?
Money-saving accommodation deals for saisonnaire family and friends
Unless you’re truly fortunate and have landed accommodation with space to spare, you’re probably not going to want them crashing with you. And even if you do have space, it’s never that great an idea to show people the squalid conditions you’ve become used to living in! Better to put them into nearby accommodation instead.
Find the best deals on ski/snowboard accommodation
Note: if you’re in one of the bigger resorts, you’re probably better helping visitors book where to stay as many resorts (Tignes, Val d’Isère, La Plagne, Les Arcs, etc) have multiple satellite towns. These are often at the other end of the area meaning you’ll only see your friends during the day. So we’ve partnered with the holiday specialists, Booking.com, to help you find the best accommodation at the best price.
29. Roll your clothes when packing for a ski season
When you’re packing, don’t fold your clothes – roll them. Lay them out on the floor (or another flat surface) and layer them one above the other. So, for example, layer your t-shirts on top of each other – clothes of a similar shape work best. Once you’re done, roll them from the bottom to top so they make a tube. Rolled clothes take up *way* less space than when they’re folded.
30. Enjoy doing a winter ski or snowboard season
Spending a winter season skiing or snowboarding could be the time of your life
If you do it right, doing a winter season has the potential to be one of the very best things you ever do in your life. Indeed (like so many of us), it might end up becoming a pattern for life before you even realise it.
One thing’s for sure – if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And remember, even if doesn’t end up being for you, door-to-door, getting from France back home (or most European countries) takes around 12 hours. Not exactly a stress if you decide you want to go home.
Seasonnaire’s video of the 2019/20 season in La Plagne, Paradiski, France
Although the winter of 2019/20 wasn’t the best due to Coronavirus, here’s a taster of the kind of thing you can expect from a winter season in the Alps.
Check and book flights
Flightradar is one of the best online flight search engines, checking all the major airlines and sites (including Skyscanner). Search and book flights below.
Coronavirus and doing a winter ski season
UPDATED APRIL 2021: After a saison blanche across Europe which pretty much saw resorts closed for the entire winter (at least to foreigners), all eyes are on winter 21/22. At present, most tour operators and holiday companies are confidently taking bookings for next year.
Smaller ski nations and Coronavirus
Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia (i.e. the smaller ski nations) all had resorts open through this year – which is a good sign they’ll open again next year, no matter what. The same cannot be said for the more established ski nations like France, Austria, Switzerland, etc. Only time will tell what will happen with these nations but there’s no harm planning ahead. this article should help.
COVID and the 2021/22 ski season
No matter what happens this year, you should be aware the Corona situation is fast-moving and there may be disruptions through the coming season, wherever you go. Also, whether you agree with these lockdowns or not, they will be legally binding – and that applies everywhere else too.
Specialist ski season insurance including COVID cover
Just personal opinion but try not to let Covid put you off doing a season (although this is clearly a decision you’ll have to make on your own). It’s already listed below but this perhaps more than any other year, you need to make sure you have proper saisonnaire insurance, including Coronavirus cover.