The season here in South Korea is almost at its end for me. Time to start thinking about the next. I plan to go back to New Zealand in March, working the orchards until the winter season starts in the Southern Hemisphere. Applying for a job at a NZ ski field can be tricky. Competition is high and jobs available are very limited. You need to plan it well in advance too, since the main ski fields open up their applications beginning of February.
The first time I ever applied for a New Zealand ski field was back in 2015. I was in Belgium at that time, planning out my Working Holiday Year from my dad’s living room. My aim was to get a job in a big ski field because of two reasons. The first was that since competition for ski jobs is so high in New Zealand, my strategy was to apply to the biggest ski fields. Big ski fields have more employees, so more jobs available. The other reason was that I did a season, 1,5 years before in Kimberley, Canada. The job offer was so good I couldn’t resist. I loved it even though Kimberley was small compared to Whistler or Sunshine village. The down side was that I had ambition to become an instructor and the level 1 CASI exam got cancelled. There weren’t enough people registered for the course.
For this winter in New Zealand, I really wanted to get trained and a bigger resort gives you better opportunities.
After some research I found 2 on the South Island which would be my main focus: Coronet Peak near Queenstown and Treble Cone, Wanaka.
Coronet Peak is the biggest and one of the busiest resorts of the South Island. It is the busiest because it is so close to the NZ capital of the outdoors, Queenstown. Locals call it Concrete Peak, you might guess why. The crowds bring out the ice, but anyway ice is pretty prevalent in NZ so it wasn’t a turn off for me. The second one, Treble Cone, is the South Island’s largest ski field, with some of most amazing black diamond runs in New Zealand.
I finished my applications well before I had even set foot in New Zealand. Even though competition was hard, my CV and Cover letter were strong and I was confident I would get an invitation. And I did, for Coronet Peak. All of the candidates were invited to a job selection in Queenstown. In the end I didn’t get it since there were 4 candidates and just one position. It was a tough experience. I was scared, finding myself in a hostel in Wanaka together with 20 other unemployed ski bums all desperately trying to find a way so we could ride all winter. I did in the end secure a job through sheer persistence. It was my luck at that time. There were others who weren’t so lucky though and had to leave without even spending one day on snow.
I learned from that first season and my strategy to find a ski job in New Zealand has now changed. Thanks to my dual certification, ski and snowboard instructor, doors have opened. I have less trouble finding jobs.
My applications for this winter have been sent. Main focus for this season was to work for a resort that has training for instructors, a terrain park, has a low impact policy and good working conditions. I’ll be waiting for answers next month and then start work again this June.
For now, I can enjoy my last week here at Phoenix Park, Korea before I head over to the Philippines to defrost and then back to NZ!