Working At Snow Farm NZ
Snow Farm NZ is nestled high atop the Pisa Range, approximately 40 minutes from Wanaka and 1.5 hours from Queenstown via car. We are the home of cross-country skiing in New Zealand and arguably boast the best view of the Southern Alps of any mountain in the region.
We are a place where Kiwis and international visitors come for a snow experience different to what any other mountain in New Zealand offers. We are the only place in the country to come and experience cross-country skiing, but we also offer snowshoeing, tubing and snow play experiences. For many of our visitors, building a snowman is a novel experience! We also operate and maintain three backcountry huts – Meadow, Bob Lee and Daisy Lee. People ski and snowshoe out to these huts for overnight experiences throughout the winter.
The working experience with us is unlike any other, we are a small team of around 20 employees and it’s like being part of a family. The main roles we have on our team are ski instructors and guest services, but the whole team is expected to help out in all departments and chip in. It’s a close-knit team and the experience in three months can provide friendships that will last a lifetime.
We operate alongside the Snow Farm Lodge, which is run separately and provides onsite accommodation, a restaurant and a cafe. We also host the Underdog Sled Dog operation which runs daily tours and weekly tours out to the Meadow hut.
Applications for 2020 winter jobs will open from Feb.
The process is an online application form.
Positions We Hire For
For the winter we hire Ski Instructors, Guest Services Assistants, two Groomer Drivers and one Ski Patroller. We see it as a strong advantage to hiring staff with first aid qualifications so if you have any first aid training or experience, make sure you make that known on your application
Ski Instructors take daily lessons to introduce new visitors to the sport of Cross COuntry skiing and instructors need to be good cross-country skiers and it is preferable to have a teaching qualification. Instructors can expect to work in the rentals area, greeting and fitting their lesson participants with equipment. Instructors will also be taking snowshoe tours and occasionally be expected to assist in other departments.
*If you have a Snow Board or Alpine Skiing Instructors qualification, this is helpful but you do need to be a proficient cross-country skier to be eligible for employment as an instructor, so please ensure you include evidence of this in your cover letter and/or your resume or CV.
Guest Services Assistants will be greeting our guests when they first arrive and helping them decide what is the best activity for them. A high level of trustworthiness is required as they will be handling cash and are the first point of contact for our guests. Guest Services Assistants will be expected to help out in rentals, car parking and supervising the Snow Play Zone, training will be provided during staff training for this.
Groomer Drivers need to have experience grooming Cross Country Ski trails and at least 3 years of time doing so. Recent references will be required. New Zealander’s with less experience may apply and on the job training will be provided. You must be a proficient Cross Country Skier or be willing to learn as part of your training. You need to be able to ski the terrain you groom to test the product.
We also hire one Snow Safety Officer, similar to a Ski Patroller but won’t always be actively patrolling the trails. The Snow Safety officer ensures our health safety procedures are being adhered to and they will act as a first responder in the event of an emergency. There is a lot of activity in the main base area with people new to snow and they will need good communication skills and a sharp eye to spot any potential hazards or problems developing with our customers.
The key is we all work together towards a common goal of providing the most enjoyable possible experience for our guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I GET TO & FROM WORK?
Staff transport for general staff leaves Wanaka at 7:10 am. Transport leaves Snow Farm at 4:30 pm, except for two days a week when we have an all staff meeting from 4:30 pm -5:00 pm.
Snow Farm does not have any on-mountain accommodation for our staff. We provide free transport from Wanaka to get you to work and back on days that you are rostered on. The trip up takes about 30- 45 minutes each way, depending on the road conditions.
We are also happy for our staff to get a ride up on their days off if there is space. We also have a couple of seats in our early truck which leaves town at 5:30 am for the early birds who want to get first tracks and capture the most incredible sunrise you will ever see!
WHAT ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS ARE THERE?
Accommodation can be very tight in the winter; we strongly recommend that you try to arrange accommodation before you get here unless you are planning to arrive in early to mid-May. You should have enough funds to keep yourself either in a backpackers, or camp ground while looking unless you have pre-arranged accommodation.
You will be asked to pay a bond when you are renting and most likely sign a rental agreement. In most instances, references are required. Although Snow Farm does not arrange or provide accommodation for staff, if you are having difficulty finding accommodation before commencing work, let us know, and we may be able to help.
Wanaka is a resort town, and the cost of living may well be more than what you are used to. You should have enough money to set yourself up in accommodation including bond, electricity connections etc. and to support yourself for at least a couple of weeks after your start of employment date until you receive your first pay, and some extra to cover any unexpected costs throughout the season. You should also be prepared for the fact that you may have to share a room to manage your costs.
There are several options when looking for housing; most Snow Farm staff choose to live in the nearby town of Wanaka, where the staff transport leaves every morning. Wanaka offers plenty to do; bars, restaurants, cinemas, shopping, etc., a great atmosphere and killer views across the majestic Lake Wanaka and dramatic Southern Alps.
Most of Wanaka is accessible by foot. It could take up to half an hour or 40mins to walk to the outreaches of town. (Beacon Point, Aubrey Rd, Sargood Drive)
Albert Town is a 5-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). It takes a good 45mins to 1hr to walk home from Wanaka.
Luggate is a 15-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). You will probably need to have access to a vehicle if you live here.
Hawea Is a 20-minute drive (from Wanaka Township). You will probably need to have access to a vehicle if you live here.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ACCOMMODATION HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS TO TRY.
Some of the local real estate agents run property management sections and are worth a go. The following have some listings online.
Wanaka Live, Lake Wanaka Accommodation, The Messenger, Upper Clutha Trading Post (facebook page), Wanaka Winter season accommodation (facebook page), Wanaka Accommodation, Harcourts, First National
It would be highly recommended to review the guidelines and advice available on the Tenants Protection Association website if you wish to engage in renting a property in New Zealand. They will be able to provide advice on how to rent a property and also let you know your rights and obligations when signing a new lease.
Visit them at http://www.tpa.org.nz/
BANK & IRD NUMBERS
Snow Farm will pay your wages direct into a bank account. We do not pay into overseas accounts, or credit cards so you will need to open an NZ bank account. There are several banks in Wanaka who can help. Plan on arriving in Wanaka before your first day of work so that you have time to visit the banks. They are only open Mon-Fri during normal work hours
You will need to open a New Zealand bank account first in order to apply for an IRD (tax) number.
All working people in New Zealand pay tax. To do this, you will need an IRD (tax) number. You will need this number before commencing work to be paid. You must be in the country to do this as you need to apply in person at the appropriate location (most likely the Post Office). You may need to supply a letter of employment to the IRD as a form of identification. If you have been offered a position with us, you will receive a job offer letter and employment agreement. IRD number application forms (IR595) can be downloaded from Inland Revenue website. You will need to show your Individual Employment Agreement and passport with the completed IR595 form to an NZ Post or IRD office, and it will take at least 14 days to process.
REMEMBER, YOU WILL NEED A NZ BANK ACCOUNT TO APPLY FOR AN IRD NUMBER. TO COMPLETE THE IRD NUMBER APPLICATION FORM YOU WILL NEED YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS.
I AM NOT A NEW ZEALAND OR AUSTRALIAN RESIDENT, HOW CAN I GET A WORK VISA?
New Zealand offers a working holiday visa program which allows you to work for up to one year in New Zealand, click the link below to find out more from the official Immigration New Zealand Website:
We occasionally recruit for positions that we cannot find a New Zeland Resident to fill, in these instances we will support the applicant in applying for a work visa. This visa differs from the Working Holiday Visa as it will only allow the applicant to work for Snow Farm for the duration of their contract and they cannot work for any other NEw Zeland Business with that visa. This has been in past for Groomer Drivers and Ski Instructors.
WHAT KIND OF MONEY CAN I EARN? HOW OFTEN AM I PAID?
First-year mountain wages start from $18.90 per hour. For jobs that require more qualifications, skills and experience the rates may be higher. Our wages and benefits are comparative with other ski areas in New Zealand. We require you to fill out and submit a weekly time sheet for your supervisor to check. We pay you weekly on a Wednesday night. You must have an IRD number and an NZ bank account before commencing work as you cannot be paid until you have both of these.
WILL I NEED INSURANCE? WHAT IS ACC?
In New Zealand, there is the Accident Compensation Corporation, commonly referred to as ACC. They assist anyone who has an accident or injury in NZ. The amount of assistance varies and can be from medical bills to loss of earnings ACC covers a portion of any treatment bills necessary and will also pay a percentage of your lost wages if you are unable to resume your duties straight away.
If you have an accident while carrying out the duties of your job, or if on a ride break or day off you will be covered by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). You will need to be treated by the Medical Centre Staff in Wanaka and if necessary referred elsewhere, ACC will pay a portion of any doctor’s bill and will also pay a portion of your wages should you be unable to resume your duties straight away. ACC assess the loss of earning based on your previous earnings, so in the first four weeks of your employment, you will generally get very limited assistance help with the loss of earnings.
Snow Farm provides a “Return to Work Scheme” to enable you to work in an area that is more convenient where possible.
We strongly recommend that you come with your own travel insurance specifically covering ski and snowboard related incidents, as ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) does not cover any treatment expenses out of the country.
INDUCTION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
We will provide you with training, education, ongoing seasonal support and personal development for you to perform successfully in your role and if you wish, to build a platform for you to progress within the Industry.
Our training takes place over the week before you start. It includes two days of general training and team building with the entire team, and then we break up into training in individual departments.
The training incorporates aspects of your induction including health and safety; customer service, job-specific training, mid-season assessment and exit interview. The qualification achieved is a national certificate with value across multiple industries and helpful for returning visa applicants.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MOUNTAIN DOESN’T OPEN?
If we have a delayed opening due to lack of snow, then we go into a stand-down period. All staff are put on hold until the mountain can operate. We make every effort to open as scheduled, but we do need help form Mother Nature, the best part about Snow Farm is we require less snow than other resorts to open.
It is best to arrive in Wanaka with some reserve funds to cover your rent and food just in case.
We would encourage you to have at least NZD$2,000 available to you when you arrive. This will help set you up initially and help you survive until you start work. In our business, the opening date can be delayed if there is no snow and no snow = no work.
Once we are operating, we may have the odd day that we have to close due to safety concerns, or adverse weather conditions.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I WILL BE WORKING? WILL I GET FIXED HOURS A WEEK?
Just like all other ski resorts the start and end of the season seem to be quieter so you can expect there will be fewer hours to work then. Our peak season usually runs from mid-July to end of August so there will generally be plenty of hours at this time. We advise everyone to take the hours when they are available and save up to help get you through the quieter periods.
Generally, you can’t take holidays during the season. In New Zealand, you only become entitled to take a holiday once you have worked for the company for a year. If we can give you time off, we will, as we want you to have a great experience too. The option to swap a shift is available to most staff but must be done with the approval of your Manager. Please don’t ask for time off during our peak period (July and August), as we won’t be able to give it to you.
DO I GET A SKIING BREAK?
You will mainly work a 4-6 day roster, which will be given to you seven days in advance. The only guaranteed skiing time is on your days off. You can ski at Snow Farm for free on your days off or visit other mountains at a heavily discounted rate (you will need to take your staff pass and a letter of introduction from us to receive these discounts).
Some positions require you to ski/ride for your job, i.e. Snow Sports School Instructor but there are restrictions on where and when this is required are specific to each job. Every department is different, and it will depend on your supervisor, but yes, we try wherever possible to get you out on ski breaks as it’s a great way to stay enthusiastic and up to date on the conditions. Plus its lots of fun!
Yes, we provide staff uniforms (a uniform charge may apply). They are warm and contemporary uniforms designed to suit the needs of the job. Outdoor Uniforms are loaned to you for the time you are employed with us and need to be returned in good condition. If you return them damaged or lose them, then you can expect to be charged for the cost of fixing/replacing them.
We also provide high visibility gear for car parking and snowmobile operations to keep you warm and visible!
We have a Uniform and Appearance Policy that all staff must follow.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AT SNOW FARM?
Snow Farm tries to improve its’ benefits each year based on our staff feedback. This year we offer discounts on the mountain, and there are many discounts made available to you by local Wanaka businesses. We also form a social committee at the start of the season, and they are responsible for organising regular social activities and overnight trips to our huts
SHOULD I BUY A SEASON PASS AT THE EARLY-BIRD RATE?
Yes. If you get a job with us, we will refund the full price of your pass. The best idea is to talk to your manager.
CAN I GET A SECOND JOB ELSEWHERE WHILE I AM WORKING FOR YOU?
Yes. Just make sure you talk to your manager beforehand to ensure that it will fit around your job with us. It’s always better to clarify in advance so we can support you wherever possible.
WHAT GEAR DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
It depends which department you work for. Generally, outside departments will need thermals, socks, a hat, gloves and boots capable of keeping you warm and dry. You will most certainly need some kind of eye protection. We will supply you with an outer layer that you will be expected to look after and return at the end of the season.
Inside departments may need thermals, sturdy footwear and in some cases a hat.
We have a great range of gear and great prices-Mons Royale base layer thermals, ski socks
If you don’t have your own gear – no problem. We have ex-rental gear at great prices for staff, and we do allow you to use our rental gear when available for free