FAQ’s About Working Holiday Jobs in Canada at Summer or Ski Resorts

April 29, 2020
Posted in Working Holiday


Are you planning a Working Holiday in Canada? After some research, you may be thinking about working at a ski resort or hotel. If that’s the case, you’ve found the right place. Every year we place working holiday travelers from around the world in summer and ski resort jobs in Canada. These travelers come from any one of the countries included in International Experience Canada‘s Youth Mobility Agreement.

Through our Working Holiday Resort Job Program, we provide assistance with securing a guaranteed resort or hotel job in Canada before your arrival to Canada. Since 2010, through our expertise and relationships with employers in Western Canada, we have helped over a thousand working holiday participants successfully begin their experience in Canada.

We have put together the top questions we get asked by people planning a working holiday in Canada. If you are considering having Stepwest help you secure a working holiday job and accommodation, this post should help you decide if our program is right for you!

When do I need to start my job search to work at a resort in Canada?

It depends on the season you would like to work. Generally, for working holiday travelers, there are two main seasons that offer the most opportunity. These are the winter season and summer seasons. Hiring for these two seasons takes place months in advance. Therefore, you need to be ready to apply early so you’re not stuck trying to get a job when all the positions are taken.

The summer season in Canada runs May to September. Hiring typically begins as early as March. The winter season runs November to April. Hiring begins as early as July.

Generally, there is always hiring going on, but the longer you wait until the start of the season, the fewer options there will be. For more information on the timeline of applying for either winter or summer season working holiday jobs, refer to this post for an in-depth guide on the details you need to keep in mind before applying.

What if I want to work both seasons at a resort in Canada? Will Stepwest only find me a job for one season?

All of our partner resorts and hotels are open all year long. This means you can come for the summer season and stay for the winter season, or vice versa. This is so popular among our participants that we’ve written a detailed post about how our team can assist you in planning a working holiday for both the summer and winter seasons in Canada.

You may have heard about the “shoulder season” in resort towns in Canada. This term refers to the months when there are fewer visitors in Canada. In other words, the months between the popular summer and winter seasons. Many of our participants use this time to travel and get to know Canada. You could take a trip to Toronto, Vancouver, the Yukon, or even go on a road trip to the United States. Need more ideas? We have many!

Witness the magic of the Northern Lights across the sky of the Canadian Arctic on your working holiday like Gabriel did!

What do employers look for when hiring working holiday participants at resorts in Canada?

It will always depend on the position you are applying for. Overall, the job you land will fully depend on the strength of your resume and skillset. In general, employers look at the following:

  • Previous work experience: Any previous work experience in the hospitality industry will be a plus. Is it mandatory to have experience in this field? Absolutely not!
  • Availability to work in Canada: How long will you be available to work for? The longer the better in most cases!
  • English level: For our non-native English speaking clients, the better your communication skills are, the higher your chance will be to get a job. But don’t worry, you are not required to have a super high level of English to secure a job. That’s why we offer a FREE assessment before you register for our Working Holiday programs!
  • Personality and communication skills: This is something we really focus on with our clients. We have helped so many amazing job seekers with zero hospitality experience and low levels of English land a job. The way you present yourself is key! That’s why we coach our participants to rock their interviews with our employers.

What are the jobs that Stepwest can help me secure in Canada?

Our partner employers have many jobs available for working holiday travelers in Canada. Here are just a few examples:

  • Guest Services: Front Desk Agent, Night Audit, Bell staff, Spa Attendant, Driver, and Valet.
  • Retail: Ski, Snowboard and Mountain Bike Equipment Fitter, Rentals, and Cashier.
  • Food & Beverage Department: Fine Dining Server, Server, Server Assistant, Coffee Shop Attendant, Barista, Busser, Banquet Server, and Hostess.
  • Gastronomy & Kitchen: Sous Chef, Chef de Partie, Commis Chef, Pastry Chef, Line Cook, Kitchen Helper, and Dishwasher.
  • Room Division: Room Service Attendant, Housekeeping, and Laundry Attendant.
  • General Maintenance: Ground Staff, and Houseman.

Can I choose my start date to begin working at a resort in Canada?

When you organize a free consultation with us, we ask you for your start date preferences. We will always make sure to inform each employer about your desired start date. This includes the extra time you will need to get settled in Canada before moving to the resort. Normally we recommend our participants set aside at least one business day to get their bank account, SIN number, cell phone, and a few more items sorted out with our team.

When hotels and resorts interview our participants, we will have previously notified them of your start date availability. Therefore, they can offer you with a pre-determined start date. These pre-determined start dates are great because you will be starting at the same time as other workers for an orientation. This means you won’t be the only new staff member on the team!

Stepwest participant Oscar from Spain enjoying his days off from work at the ski hill.
Javier experience in The Rockies, Canada - Stepwest Stories
Enjoy the snow like Javier from Chile when you have Stepwest help you land a working holiday job at a ski resort in Canada.

Can I choose the hotel or the job position that I want in Canada?

When arranging your interviews, we take your preferences regarding areas in Canada, specific resorts, employers, and positions into consideration. We have been working with our partner employers for over 10 years. From this experience, we will guide you in the right direction to improve your chances of being hired by that specific employer.

With that said, it is important to note that you still need to get hired by the employer. You will need to try your best in the interview to convince the employer you are the best candidate for the position. Even though we will provide you with our expert tips and insight for succeeding in the interview with the specific employer, it’s still a job interview! You still need to prepare for the interview and try your best to sell yourself. If the employer decides you are not the best candidate, we will work with you to arrange your next best option. Our team will work with you until you succeed!

What are the hotels or resorts that I will be placed in during my Working Holiday in Canada?

We work with many hotels and resorts in Alberta and British Columbia. Depending on your preferences we will do our best to find the perfect employer for you. We take pride in helping our participants find jobs that will give them an unforgettable experience in Canada. We do not work with hotels that are not well known, are not in nice locations, or are too small. All hotels that we work with are 3, 4 or 5-star hotels.

When you are provided with the hotel’s details in preparation for your interview, you can read the company’s reviews on various travel websites. Take some time to check their own website as well to learn more about them. The most important thing to remember is that each hotel or employer will have different requirements, no matter if you are applying for the same type of position.

How much money will I make working at a ski resort or hotel in Canada?

Each province in Canada has its own minimum wage rates. Depending on the job you get, the salary might differ. Depending on your level of previous work experience, there is the potential to earn more than the minimum wage. You can be sure that you will be making more than enough money to pay your expenses and enjoy your experience in Canada, as you will be working full time hours.

Remember that your staff housing will be subsidized by your employer, that’s why it will be quite cheap compared to the rental rates in the area. To give you an idea of the minimum wage rates in Western Canada:

  • Alberta: $15 CAD per hour (After June 1st, 2020 it will be $15.20 CAD)
  • British Columbia: $13.85 CAD per hour (After June 1st, 2020 it will be $14.60 CAD)

Me and my friend got our Working Holiday permits. Can Stepwest find us jobs at the same ski resort or hotel in Canada?

The great news is yes! We have placed many groups of friends and couples at the same resort. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must both be open to a few different resort locations, but we can indeed guarantee placements together in resorts.

Come to Canada with your friend on a Working Holiday. Stepwest can guarantee both of you jobs at the same resort in Canada. Photo credit: Stepwest Working Holiday participant, Karolina.
Adventures in Canada are best shared with friends – whether you met them in Canada or traveled here together. Photo credit: Stepwest Working Holiday participant, Karolina.

How cold does it get in Canada?

Canadian winters, either in Alberta or British Columbia are cold. That’s why they are so beautiful! Temperates can fluctuate between -5°C early in the season to even -40°C in Alberta. So yes, you need to make sure to travel to Canada with your winter gear. Remember that all the accommodation and hotels are prepared for these temperatures with good heating systems. If your job requires you to work outside, the hotel or resort will provide you with a uniform to be prepared for the cold.

During the summer season, temperatures range from 20 to 30°C and sometimes even reach 40°C depending on where you go. Generally, the coastal areas have more moderate climates while the interior regions like Osoyoos, and the Okanagan Valley in central British Columbia can get really hot in the summer. That’s when it is awesome to enjoy the amazing lakes to cool off for a swim!

How far are hotels and resorts from the cities in Canada?

Depending on where you are located, the closest town or city can be as near as 30 minutes (Whistler to Squamish), 90 minutes (Banff to Calgary), or two hours (Lake Louise to Calgary). The one resort destination that is the farthest from a city is Jasper. It is located four hours from Edmonton and five hours from Calgary. However, Jasper is a resort town well equipped with everything you need.

How do I get from the airport to the resort when I land in Canada?

When you come to Canada with our Working Holiday Resort Job Program, we will assist you with securing your transport from either Calgary or Vancouver to the resort. We help you with the booking before you leave your home country so when you land in Canada everything is already organized.

Will I get my accommodation guaranteed or does it depend on the resort or hotel?

On our program, your accommodation will be ALWAYS guaranteed! We will not offer you a position or job in Canada if the employer is not committed to secure your accommodation at a discounted price.

Can I get a single room if I work at a hotel or resort in Canada?

All staff accommodation is designed to be shared. This will be the best way to meet friends when you arrive! The great news is that 95% of our participants travel on their own, as are the people already working at your resort. This means everyone is open to making new friends as soon as you arrive.

Even though a single room option is not possible, we have never received bad feedback about our accommodation. The resorts we work with know how important it is for their staff to be happy with their housing, as otherwise, they will want to leave their jobs. Therefore we always make sure the accommodation is on point.

What is staff accommodation like when travelling with a Working Holiday Resort Program to Canada?

Every hotel will offer different types of housing. Prices will also differ depending on the accommodation type and location. The most common situation is where your employer will have on-site housing and off-site housing, normally houses where the staff share rooms shared. In both situations, you will share a kitchen and bathroom. All staff housing will be connected to the hotel or resort so you will be able to connect with your workplace either by transport or walking. Don’t worry, you do not need a car to work at a resort in Canada!

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

If you are already planning your working holiday experience in Canada, we can take care of securing your job with any of our resort and hotel partners in Canada. Stepwest is a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada. We proudly offer the guarantee of providing everything you need to start your working holiday in Canada giving you peace of mind when you arrive. Our Working Holiday Resort Program guarantees:

  • A pre-arranged job in the Canadian Rockies before you land 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.
  • Online job interviews directly from home.
  • Staff housing guaranteed before departure.
  • Pre-departure orientation to prepare for your arrival to Canada and receiving your IEC work permit.
  • Welcome to Canada orientation once you arrive in Canada to assist with opening your free bank account, SIN number, phone plan, and more.
  • Support from our Canada team throughout your work experience.
  • Plus many other benefits to help you settle into your Canadian work adventure!
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