Hiring Seasons for a Ski & Summer Working Holiday in Canada

April 22, 2020
Posted in How To Guide, Working Holiday


Are you planning a gap year or working holiday in Canada? Canada is the perfect year-round destination if you wish to experience a ski season then spend the summer exploring national parks. It’s a great place to enjoy the endless outdoor adventure activities, improve your English skills, and meet people from all over the world!

Whether you want to come to Canada for the winter ski season, summer season, or both, you should be aware of the different hiring seasons in Canada. This will help you plan your working holiday in Canada and increase your chances of getting a job.

Since 2010, Stepwest has been helping working holiday travelers find jobs with our partner employers. As a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada, we have worked with over a thousand working holiday participants to ensure they have the best experience possible in Canada. Through this expertise, we are able to offer our best advice on landing a job in Canada.

Before we go any further, a very common question we get asked is: Is it absolutely necessary to come to Canada with a working holiday agency or job placement provider? The answer is no, but is it worth it? YES! Don’t take it from us, you can see for yourself from the testaments of our clients.

Our Working Holiday Resort Job Program guarantees you a resort or hotel job with accommodation before you arrive in Canada. Our team assists you with your work permit and getting set up to live and work in Canada. We make the entire process less overwhelming, and reduce the stress and uncertainty of not getting a job.

Before Getting Your Job in Canada

Before coming to Canada on a ski or summer working holiday, you must obtain your working holiday permit (or visa) through International Experience Canada (IEC). Some countries will have better chances of securing their work permits than others due to the demand per country. In any case, if you are lucky enough to get your invitation to apply for your IEC working holiday permit, do not miss it.

Resorts and hotels in resort towns will only interview you if you have your working holiday permit secured (unless you are from countries like Australia that have unlimited working holiday visas available). There are some resorts or hotels that will still be interested in interviewing you without your visa. It is still your responsibility, however, to secure your work permit before they can employ you.

We have created a specific guide on how to apply for your working holiday permit for Canada. We cover each step from the moment you create your IEC profile, to receiving your invitation, work permit application submission, and biometrics. Additionally, we have information on everything you need to know about the Police Certificates you need for your IEC work permit application.

Hiring Seasons for Resorts in Canada

As previously mentioned, there are two main hiring seasons in Canada, winter and summer. Each season lasts around 6 months, but the length can depend on the weather conditions for that year. For both the ski and summer hiring seasons, the closer you get to the season’s start date, the lower your chance will be to get the job you want. That’s why it is important to start planning nice and early.

On Stepwest’s Working Holiday Resort Job Program, you can work both the ski and summer seasons together with the same employer.

We typically make the recommendation to our participants not to quit their jobs back home or book flights before having secured a job in Canada. This will make it easier to plan your trip according to your job’s start date. Keep in mind that you do not choose your job’s start date. The resort or hotel employer will arrange your start date, including when you move into their staff housing. If you had booked your flight before receiving your staff accommodation move-in date, you have to pay for your own accommodation while you wait. Therefore, when you book your flight after receiving a moving date, you will save money. Also, not having a flight booked will allow you to be flexible for different roles that have different start date requirements.

There is indeed a so-called “shoulder season” where there is not that much work. This is because tourism slows down for a period between the busy ski and summer seasons. This is typically the time of the year our participants use to travel around Canada or even to the United States, as the rest of the year they are busy working!

Get ready for an epic ski season in Canada with the help of Stepwest!

Ski Season: November to Late-April

If you want to ski or snowboard in Canada, then the winter season is for you. The hiring season for ski working holiday jobs begins as early as August and as late as early October. Depending on the snowfall at the beginning of the season, the ski resorts will open between mid-November and mid-December. You will be required to be in Canada before the opening of the ski resort to attend your training.

An important point to note is that no matter if you go to Whistler, Banff, Jasper, or Lake Louise, these are the hiring dates that you need to save in your calendar. They do not change based on the ski resort.

In addition to working at ski resorts, you can also work in winter mountain resorts or ski towns that host tourists for the ski season. They have hotels, cafes, restaurants, retail and tourist shops where you can work. The most popular ski resorts are Whistler Village and Banff. Other ski resort towns are Revelstoke, Vernon, Kelowna, Nelson, Rossland and Jasper to name a few. All of these destinations host a wide variety of winter activities.

During your consultation, we learn about your preferences for where in Canada you would like to work. Even if you don’t have a specific preference, we will break down the pros and cons of each ski resort location in Canada that we work with to give you a better idea! Before we notify you of an upcoming interview with a resort or hotel in Canada, we send you a complete guide containing everything you need to know about the employer. This is to ensure you are fully prepared to succeed in your interview.

Stepwest can help you secure your ski season job as early as July or August. By securing your job early in the hiring season, we can prepare the other aspects of your ski working holiday in Canada before the snow starts falling!

Do I need to know how to ski or snowboard to work a winter ski season in Canada?

Not at all! We host a lot of participants from countries where winter sports are not that popular. In fact, many participants have never tried either sport! Working a winter season in Canada is a great opportunity to learn how to ski or snowboard. We have worked with participants like Oscar from Spain who is a backcountry skier with plenty of experience skiing and snowboarding in the Pyrenees in Europe. We have also helped participants like Gabriel, a chef from Costa Rica, who had never experienced a winter like a Canadian one before!

Stepwest Working Holiday participant Oscar from Spain enjoying the ski slopes at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in Western Canada.
Gabriel from Costa Rica learning how to snowshoe during his Working Holiday in Canada.

Summer Season: Late May until October

Many people think that Canada only hires working holiday travelers during the ski season. We also have a fantastic summer season! The summer season is very popular in Canada because the weather is hot and tourists come to enjoy the beautiful wilderness. Can you imagine jumping in one of those turquoise lakes you see in pictures of Canada? It’s possible! Summer is an awesome season for you to start your working holiday adventure in Canada. There are many hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking opportunities. Better still, you can do many of these outdoor activities before or after your shift. That’s the benefit of working at a resort or hotel in Canada!

Summer in Canada is a beautiful time to enjoy nature and go on outdoor adventures!

Resort employers will start doing interviews for their summer working holiday season as early as April and as late as June each year. You can begin working as early as April in some places, but most often you will start working between June or early July.

It is important to note, the longer you want to stay in Canada, the better chances you have for finding work. This is because resorts and hotels prefer to hire staff for the longest term possible. They invest a lot in your training on the resort’s operations and service standards. If you are planning to stay for both the summer and ski season, we make sure that you are going to work for an employer that will be open all year.

Our participants that start working during the summer season continue working through the winter ski season with their same employer.

We know how important it is for you to make the most of your time in Canada. We make sure you do not have to waste time searching for another job after your first season is finished.

Oscar experience in The Rockies, Canada - Stepwest Stories
Your working holiday of a lifetime in Canada is waiting – let us help you make the most of it!

Working Holiday Resort Locations in Canada

There are a number of resort destinations in Canada, but we will focus on the areas we work with across British Columbia (BC) and Alberta. Canada has some of the best ski destinations in the world with well-known resorts like Whistler Blackcomb, Lake Louise, Revelstoke, and Sun Peaks to name a few. While many of these winter ski resort destinations are open in the summer as well, there are also places like Tofino, a beautiful oceanside retreat, which are only busy in the summer season.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between working at the actual ski resort and working in the resort town. For example, you could work at the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort or you could work at a hotel in the town of Whistler. Both would be considered working at Whistler Ski Resort. The good news is that both options will give you an amazing experience in Canada. If you are planning to work in a chalet or ski lodge during your working holiday in Canada, these ski resort towns are a great option. They allow you the option to work on the ski hill, or in a hotel or restaurant near the ski hill. Plus, being in a town will allow you to meet lots of people!

The Rocky Mountains divide the two Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and make them equally worth exploring on your working holiday in Canada.

British Columbia – Whistler, Sun Peaks, Powder Highway

The province of British Columbia is a great destination for your working holiday experience. Here, you can experience nature’s finest first hand: the ocean, mountains, pristine lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, Olympic ski hills, and big cities too. There is a wide range of resorts that hire during both the summer and winter seasons. Across British Columbia, the most famous resort destinations are Whistler Blackcomb, Sun Peaks, Mount Washington, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Big White, Apex, Red Mountain, Whitewater, Silverstar, Fernie, and Kimberley.

Once you start to research BC, you might read about The Powder Highway. This is a route through BC’s Kootenay Rockies that passes by eight ski resorts! Check out this amazing video of one of our favourite resorts, Sun Peaks by the Matador Network.

Alberta – Canadian Rockies

A working holiday experience in the province of Alberta will place you in the heart of the Candian Rockies. It is home to some of Canada’s most famous sights, including Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and Waterton National Parks. The most popular ski resorts are Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay, Marmot Basin, Nakiska, and Castle Mountain.

The most famous resort destination in Alberta for hundreds of working holiday participants is the town of Banff. Banff is a ski and mountain resort town, located close to Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Kananaskis! Several of BC’s popular ski resorts are not far from Alberta and can also be explored while you are based in Banff.

Watch the video below from Travel Alberta for a look at some of the awe-inspiring sights Alberta has to offer.

Accommodation & Benefits at a Resort in Canada

Staff accommodation is by far the greatest advantage of working at a ski or summer resort. You will live close to your job, removing the need for a car, and you will save money because of the lower rent prices.

When you travel to Canada with Stepwest’s Working Holiday Resort Program, staff accommodation is guaranteed! You will travel to Canada with a job offer in hand, accommodation pre-arranged, and the tranquility of having our assistance if you have any problems.

It is important to note, not all resort employers offer the same benefits to their staff. This makes it difficult for companies like us to confirm the benefits that you will be eligible for when working for a resort in Canada. Among the most common advantages you will have as a resort worker, you will find:

  • Discounted staff housing where you live with other staff – the best way to make friends upon arrival to Canada!
  • Discount on restaurants, cafes, shops and any business connected to your host employer.
  • Discount on other hotels or resorts part of the same group. For example, our participants working for the Fairmont Whistler receive a discount to stay at other Fairmont hotels! This is nice to have for your trips around Canada during your gap year.
  • Staff parties or celebrations. Resorts and hotels are full of people from all around the world looking to have the best time, so it will be easy to enjoy these parties and make new friends!
  • Plus, each employer will have their own specific perks.

Secure Your Ski & Summer Working Holiday Job at a Resort in Canada

Arrive in Canada with the confidence that you are one step ahead of every other traveler beginning their working holiday journey. With the hard work of getting your job and accommodation already sorted, you can relax into your first few days in Canada. See the epic sights and meet new friends before starting your job. Our local Canadian team will support you throughout the entire journey.

Can you really guarantee my job in Canada?

YES, we can! We take the time to work with you and make sure you will be a great fit for the employer. Employers like working with us, as we make their recruitment easy. We know what they look for in candidates and we do our best to prepare our participants for them. If you want to work for a specific ski resort or hotel, we will advise you on how to succeed in your interview with that employer.

It is important to note that although we will get you the interview, you are still responsible for the result. Our team will help you get there, but you are the one that will succeed in receiving a job offer!

We want to be realistic. We will never promise you a job that we don’t think we can find for you. That’s why we do a free consultation before you pay our program fee. We want to make sure we can help you before you join our program. If you put in the energy and the effort, you will get the job at the resort location you are dreaming of!

Secure Your Working Holiday Job Before Coming to Canada

Our Working Holiday Program is designed so you can focus on the excitement of your trip to Canada. You will have more time to enjoy your first few days in Canada while we make sure all your essentials are covered.

Our Working Holiday Resort Program guarantees:

  • A trip coordinator to support you throughout your entire stay. We answer all your questions and make sure you are ready for your working holiday adventure in Canada!
  • Pre-arranged job at a hotel or resort before your arrival in Canada or your money back!
  • Resume revision and preparation for your interviews with Canadian employers.
  • Assistance with your work permit. application: Documents, biometrics, and each step after you receive your invitation (if needed).
  • Staff housing guarantee before departure.
  • Pre-departure orientation to get ready for your arrival to Canada and receive your IEC work permit.
  • First hostel night in downtown Vancouver. Meet travelers from all over the world while recovering from jet lag!
  • Welcome to Canada Orientation. Open your free bank account, get your SIN Number, and phone plan so you are ready to start working.
  • Support from our team during your work experience in Canada. If something comes up, we will be here to help you with unlimited support from our Vancouver office.
  • Plus many other benefits to help you settle into your Canadian work adventure!

When you work in Canada you become more than just a tourist. Spend more of your time seeing the breathtaking landscapes on road trips with your mates instead of sweating the logistical stuff. We’re here to save you time, money, stress and even the risk of returning home early. You can only get a Canadian Working Holiday Visa once. Make your time in Canada count and do the experience the right way.

Book a FREE consultation with our team. Learn how we can help you make the most of your working holiday in Canada: