The 10 Best Jobs in Snowboarding
Want to head to the slopes for a season or maybe forever? These 10 jobs can help you decide what to do.
So as you sit in your office struggling to stay awake through the 9-5 grind here's something to make you jealous. While most of us only get to venture out to the mountains once a year these guys get to be involved in the sport we love all year round.
We've got together the ten most enviable jobs in snowboarding that'll make you want to jack it all in and and seriously rethink your career. We've got some tips for how you can escape the rat race and get paid for some of the best jobs going, let alone in snowboarding.
9 Reasons to Do a Winter Season Video:
[part title="Lodge Staff"]
Those remote mountain lodges are more than just shacks in the woods and need an army of staff, be it cooks, cleaners, techs and massagers to make it run smoothly.
And while peeling spuds or cleaning out toilets doesn’t rate high on the vocational must do's, there’s few other jobs that sometimes involve a call over the radio saying there is an empty seat in the helicopter. Mops and buckets can be swapped for boots and bindings, and empty powder is the pay off for all your hard work in the lodge.
[part title="Social Media Resort Manager"]
A relatively recent job description and one that has the added advantage in that no one really knows exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing.
A typical day may entail a website update, riding session (to check the conditions, of course), check ad campaign, more riding, post a blog, lunch with visiting press, update Facebook, meet with photographers, ride, head to après ski, check Twitter.
Beats laying bricks, huh? You’ll just need background in marketing, knowledge of web design, and some online marketing experience. Oh and love of snowboarding and a wifi enabled phone.
[part title="Brand Marketing"]
Doing marketing for a company that makes sanitary towels may be dull. Doing marketing for cool snowboard brands, does however have a certain allure. You’ll be doing everything from public relations with media, managing athletes, writing the catalogue and press releases, updating websites, organising events and photo shoots, and of course making tea, lots of it.
Many of the brands are located near the snow and (hopefully) you will be working with a bunch of young go-getters who all share your passion for snowboarding.
Industry socials (boozy sessions) are also fairly legendary and there will be a flow of free gear. You’ll need experience in marketing or PR, strong communication and writing skills. Or just know the boss.
The piste-basher, vampire of the snowboarding world, operates at night (usually around 1am to 6am), alone smoothing the pistes for the masses of punters each and every day. It’s dark, (sometimes) dangerous and lonely work, but there is a sense of achievement in handling such massive machinery and getting the job done.
The upsides are you have the whole day to ride and no one knows a resort better than a piste-basher. The downside is the nightshifts affect your social life somewhat and the isolation can be hard to take.
A basic piste-basher training takes three days, and you’ll need a season to master it. The pre-lift freshies though, will keep you coming back.
[part title="Shop Employee"]
A mainstay of seasonnaires worldwide, working in a snowboard shop has its perks. Free tuning, endless piles of free gear, testing the new boards, and - hopefully - powder-day clauses. On the downside you’ll be asked a lot of very dumb questions and be dealing with customers’ smelly feet for a large proportion of your mornings.
Also, the pay won’t set you up to buy a chalet, but it will be enough to just get you through the season with an incredible amount of riding. You don’t need much experience, but you do need to turn up, on time, no matter how bad the raging hangover.[part title="Product Designer"]
Someone has to make all the cool gear we ride with, so why can’t it be you? You can feed the passion for your sport, get creative with design, and contribute to snowboarding, be it in board design, fashion, safety, boots or those funny beanies that you see on the hill.
Oh, and there is no one better to test the products then the designer, and so part of your job should entail hitting the slopes regularly, all on the company’s payroll.
A background in design, or degree is best, and an internship is, again, the best way to get your foot in the design door.
[part title="Heli-Boarding Guide"]
Sure there’s serious risk, and you literally have other people’s lives in your hands every day, but there is no other job in snowboarding that guarantees this much powder and this much vertical.
It sure beats being an accountant. Of course it’s a vocation that takes time. Certainly, your CV has to have more than a season on the drink in Meribel.
You’ll need to start as a ski-patroller or mountain guide, and have all the necessary wilderness first-responder courses, avalanche safety courses and guiding qualifications under your belt. Oh, and a head for heights helps.
[part title="Snowboard Photographer"]
Fancy traveling the world, shooting with the world’s best pros and getting paid for it? Of course you bloody do.
Like most good things in life however, it’s not that easy. Getting a single usable action photograph of snowboarding takes lots more effort than most people realise.
There’s a lot of hiking, a lot of waiting and lot of downtime. There’s also the part where you have to watch snowboarding, rather than actually ride. However, if you nail the killer shot, and see the work in a magazine, it is incredibly rewarding.
You won’t be rich, but you’ll have plenty of memories and a shed load of hard drives.
[part title="Snowboard Journalist"]
There are some great perks for the published snowboard journalist. With travel journalism solely based on the press trip junket, you get free gear, great travel, and more expensive steaks and bottles of wine than is good for you.
Of course, the pay is in indirect proportion to the perks, and we’ve yet to meet a rich snowboard writer. Still, if you have a love of snowboarding and a love of the written word, opportunities exist to make some very small amounts of money doing the two things you love.
A degree in journalism is helpful, but not essential. As with most creative gigs, an internship is the best place to start.
[part title="Pro Snowboarder"]
The problem with the goal of being a pro rider is that unlike most occupations in life it really doesn’t come down to ambition or work ethic, but to sheer athletic talent. And that’s something you just can’t fake.
If however, you are one of the lucky ones that was struck with such talent, then through hard work, no small amount of application, you can have the best job in snowboarding.
If you add the groupies, the powder, the travel and the Facebook friends, as far as occupations go, it’s right up there with being an actuary.