Gap Year ski season

(20 Posts)
grumiosmum Sat 16-Feb-19 13:01:35

Anyone's DC done this? DS is keen to be a "chalet boy" (pre-Uni), and thinking of doing a special cookery course. It would be useful to know what qualifications the tour operators look for - do they offer training themselves or are they expected to pay themselves?

Would also be good to hear others' experiences, good and bad.


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Cazziebo Sat 16-Feb-19 13:06:50

DD2 did this for a few seasons (not so much a gap year as several gap years!) . She loved it. If it had been better paid she would probably still be doing it. Think it was hard work for a few hours per day but she got to ski every day and always seemed to work with a nice crowd of people. She did Austria and France with Crystal.

FadedRed Sat 16-Feb-19 13:07:05

We had a gap year chalet hostess a couple of years ago. She was a good cook, the meals weren’t Cordon Bleu, but well cooked hearty food IYKWIM. Also excellent cake baker.

grumiosmum Sat 16-Feb-19 13:09:02

Cazziebo did your DD do a cookery course first?

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Needmoresleep Sat 16-Feb-19 13:11:40

The research we did at the time suggested that the posh firms wanted 21 year olds who could drive and who had catering experience. Cheaper firms, Crystal, Workaseason (Total, Ski Esprit, etc) would take 18 year olds without experience and train them. It’s catering packs and set menus, so the training is as much about cleaning and keeping guests happy.

More or less slave labour, but with a great group and skiing. The first thing DD said when she got off the coach, exhausted, was that she wanted to go back.

Things will have changed as firms are now expected to pay minimum wage, and who knows what impact Brexit will have. DD actually did a private cookery course and did well so the owner said that if she did not already have a job she could place her somewhere a bit more up market. But a course on its own would probably give no guarantees.

TalkinPeece Sat 16-Feb-19 13:12:17

If Brexit happens, none of the Chalet staff will be able to be British
as currently they all work under the posted worker scheme
but if the UK is no longer in the EU they would need full work visas etc etc

Do not spend any money till you know the prognosis

Cazziebo Sat 16-Feb-19 13:12:52

No - don't think she ever cooked. She was more cleaning, making beds and serving meals.

I think the cooks do get an enhanced rate so might be worth doing - although probably more stressful.


Needmoresleep Sat 16-Feb-19 13:17:55

“Chalet hotels” with the cheaper firms did have catering staff, seemingly recruited from catering colleges, not from chalet hosting courses.

Who knows about Brexit. The rural French have a bit of a track record for only implementing laws when it suits them - the failure to implement minimum wage for saisonaires for so long may be one example. Losing the British market would not suit them.

grumiosmum Sat 16-Feb-19 13:39:04

Gosh, i hadn't even factored in Brexit!

DS will want to go to a German speaking country - so Austria or switzerland.

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Nettleskeins Sat 16-Feb-19 14:45:55

someone I know sent her son to the Orchard Cookery School in Wandsworth. I think their course is a specific chalet training course which includes housekeeping stuff, and there is a certificate. They seem to have direct links with the ski companies recruiting for chalet staff. Anyway it is on the website. They arrange accommodation too if you are not in London.

There is another cookery school - residential- if you google, but cannot remember it now...not in London. Which also does chalet host preparation.

I think you have to spend a fair whack getting the training, but then it shortcuts you to the jobs on offer. Makes sense.

Nettleskeins Sat 16-Feb-19 14:47:44

not Orchard, but THE AVENUE COOKERY school. sorry.

Stopyourhavering64 Sun 17-Feb-19 05:24:29

Check out BUNAC...they offer ski seasons in Canada, NZ and Japan

grumiosmum Sun 17-Feb-19 09:40:13

I suspect those are eye-waveringly expensive Havering so I'm not even going to click on the link!

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Xenia Sun 17-Feb-19 16:44:35

My daughter did it in Canada (but after her degere and 2 years of law school with a job to come back to) so 5 years older than those doing it between school and university. She worked in a bar and did loads of skiing out there (she's very good and did a skiing teaching qualification). It was a lovely season. We went over there for Christmas for a ski holiday and met her there. i can't remember how she arranged it. I think she wasn't that sure she had the job when she wen tout there but found it at the last minute. She had also considered manning a ski lift kind of job too. I think she changed restaurants part way through but it was all fine.

ItmustbeGlove Wed 20-Feb-19 18:34:11

One of mine did it after A'levels with a deferred place.
We paid for her to do the 2 week chalet cooking course, essentially buying her a job. The chalet companies interview the students at the cookery school, they mostly chose smaller independent firms and I think they have 100% success rate.
She had a blast, it was very hard work for not much salary but she didn't regret it for a moment.
It was her year of Growing Up and she started uni raring to go.

BubblesBuddy Wed 20-Feb-19 18:47:00

DD has Leiths Certificate which was always the classic chalet catering qualification. We know boys who have gone who don’t cook but do everything else. The second option is cheaper!

grumiosmum Thu 21-Feb-19 18:28:54

ItmustbeGlove which cookery school did she do the course at?

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ItmustbeGlove Thu 21-Feb-19 19:10:07

The Orchard.

grumiosmum Fri 22-Feb-19 09:29:42

Thank you.

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MariaNovella Fri 01-Mar-19 17:30:08

Brexit has already had an impact on employment rates of British staff in the French Alps. The long-standing economic model of the British ski operators is going to be severely compromised by Brexit but, tbh, it has been under threat for ages.

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